Compost barn for dairy cows in the Parmigiano- Reggiano district: an innovative and sustainable housing system and an alternative to cubicles
The objective is to understand how the Compost Barn could be applied successfully in the Parmigiano Reggiano area, and therefore to define the guidelines for the design and the management of this technology in the stables. The project aim to enhance the profitability of the Parmigiano Reggiano dairy farmers through the reorganization and modernization of the stables, supporting the farmers while changing from traditional stabulative solutions to innovative and more sustainable housing systems.
• consultation of local veterinarians;
• definition of design schemes;
• definition of construction costs;
• project design of the renovation of traditional stable or new Compost Barn building;
• impact assessment of the Compost Barn system based on real data obtained in the pilot farms;
• calculation of the actual costs of production due to the adoption of the Compost barn and farm profitability;
• training and dissemination
Unlike its broad diffusion and its undoubtedly advantages over the tied up barns, the cubicle housing systems are under discussion, because of feet trauma and, especially when the equipment layout is not optimal, low cubicle occupation and therefore reduction of cows resting time.
This problem has prompted designers, researchers and farmers to study alternative solutions to increase animal welfare while guaranteeing the environmental and economic sustainability.
The litter barn with aerobic fermentation, better known as the compost barn, can be considered an interesting solution.
This project will provide possible typologies of compost barns, already adopted in other countries, which are compatible with the climate of the Po Valley and with the predominant housing systems in the Parmigiano-Reggiano district. The project will assess the benefits for the dairy farms in terms of defense of their income, due to the relatively low investment costs of compost barn and the reduction of operating costs because of better animal welfareand health. Moreover, the compost barn improves the quality of labour of the dairy farmers and the employees, because they work in a more healthy environment.