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Gypsum as Bedding

Gypsum as BeddingThere are two sources of gypsum currently available, one comes from recycled drywall, diverted from landfill, and the other is a by-product of phosphorous fertilizer production. Both have multiple benefits when used in the bedding packs for livestock.

Initially the gypsum absorbs moisture and creates a dryer environment in the pack. This dryer environment is less attractive for multiplying fly populations and reduces the spread of bacteria, promoting a healthier environment for the animals. The chemistry between the sulphur in the gypsum and the ammonia in the animal waste reduces the loss of nitrogen into the air increasing the value of the manure as a future fertilizer source and increasing air quality. Methane is a greenhouse gas commonly associated with livestock production. Adding gypsum to manure during composting has been proven to reduce release of methane, odour and fly populations. It will take time to gather scientific data on the use of gypsum in bedding packs and quantify the values of gypsum.

We have used gypsum in the compost since 2006 and in our dairy barns since October 2007. It is effective in keeping the stalls dryer and reducing the amount of wood shavings used. We have started to use the gypsum in our straw packs and will continue to add it to all our bedding packs. Gypsum is a cost effective way to be environmentally friendly.

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