25 December 1998

Ventilation can cut straw use

IMPROVING building ventilation may help cut straw use and costs this winter.

Demand for limited straw supplies has been high, with some producers requiring more as stock were housed earlier than expected.

ADASs David Levick says ventilation is the key to cutting straw use. "In a dairy unit with poor ventilation is you will easily use twice as much straw.

"High humidity is caused where the air outlet in the shed is not big enough for the inlet, resulting in less evaporation from animals. This means they urinate more to get rid of extra water in their bodies, so theres also more ammonia."

Spending money on improving ventilation will repay 10 times over by cutting straw use and improving mastitis, fertility and lameness, says Mr Levick.

Improve ventilation quickly either by taking capped ridges off or slotting roofs, says Mr Levick. "This will allow air to escape directly out of the roof." &#42