Recommendations for using recycled manure solids as cow bedding

Seven top tips for using recycled manure solids (RMS) as an alternative dairy cow bedding material. 

Back to: Dairy cow bedding materials: Recycled manure solids 

Top tips for using recycled manure solids

  1. Actively monitor cow health and welfare, in particular intramammary health, as well as bulk tank milk quality as part of your veterinary herd health plan.  
    • It is strongly advised that RMS herds have a robust monitoring strategy for MAP. The herd health plan should be regularly reviewed with your vet and the use of RMS should be modified or discontinued if there are signs that it is risking cattle health and welfare, milk quality, or both
  2. Farm personnel should be made aware of the importance of personal hygiene during and following the handling of RMS.
  3. RMS should be prepared and stored under cover to avoid an increase in water content prior to application.
  4. Ensure excellent bedding/cubicle management, including: 
    • Adding RMS to the beds in limited quantities to allow further drying to take place  
    • Managing beds to minimise ‘heating’ and therefore microbial multiplication after application 
    • Designing and managing beds to minimise contamination with urine and fresh faecal material 
    • Frequent removal (at least daily) of freshly soiled material from bedding 
  5. Ventilation and moisture management should beadequate,and overstocking avoided, to ensure further drying of RMS once applied to bedding and to minimise the levels of ammonia in the housed atmosphere. 
  6. Water and/or solutions used in footbath wash should not be disposed of in slurry/manure used as RMS bedding.
  7. Have a contingency plan that can quickly be implemented should the use of RMS need to cease, such as loss of OTF status.

Read more information on the risks and benefits (optimal management and antimicrobial resistance risks of RMS.

Where can I get further guidance?