Compost Sheds for Milking Herds
Over the last three years, we have seen dairy producers in various Australian regions invest in compost sheds. These include the regions of Subtropical Dairy and Murray Dairy. It is estimated that 12 compost sheds have been built in the inland, lower rainfall areas of Subtropical Dairy (SD) (Darling Downs Qld) over the last five years.
Major reasons why businesses have built compost sheds relate to mitigating heat stress and driving per cow performance through offering a mixed diet. Data from the US also indicates that in comparison to free stalls, they have lower capital and operating costs. Evidence from the US also indicates improved cow comfort and less health problems when farms have converted from free stalls to compost sheds.
There is a lack of data and information regarding the financial and productivity benefit/cost of integrating compost sheds into Australian dairy systems, particularly as they relate to various economic and biophysical operating environments.
To address this, Subtropical Dairy commissioned the following case studies on how compost sheds are performing under Australian conditions.
Compost Case Study 1 – Clear roofed compost shelter
Compost Case Study 2 – Double sided compost barn
Compost Case Study 3 – Double compost barns with open central feed lane
Compost Case Study 4 – Semi-compost shelters in dry lots
Compost Case Study 5 – Narrow compost shelter with feedpad
Compost Case Study 6 – Compost barn with open outside feed alley and dry lot