Off-the-wall idea creates perfect livestock bedding

images (6) LIVESTOCK farmers worried over the rising cost of straw and other materials used for bedding have been presented with a novel solution which fits in with the drive towards recycling.

David Hamilton, of Hamilton Waste, Drem, collects waste building materials, including plasterboard, from all around Scotland. After investing in specialist machinery that removes all contaminants from the used plasterboard, his company is offering the recycled gypsum as bedding for livestock.
"We have a number of farmers who have already tried it and they are delighted with its performance. It is far more absorbent than straw and sawdust."
Robin Young, Waterside, Dunblane, used it last winter in his dairy cow cubicles and found it ideal. "When it is mixed 50/50 with sawdust, it is very absorbent," he said.
James McOuat, also from Dunblane, has started using the gypsum in his bull beef enterprise and although it is early days, he is pleased with how it works when it is mixed with woodchips.
Hamilton added that because gypsum is not acidic, there is no problem with livestock suffering from any irritation or "burns" when they lie on it. It has the advantage of inhibiting the growth of bacteria, which can help in reduce somatic cell counts and cases of mastitis.
Unlike some other materials used for livestock bedding when it is applied to fields it operates as a fertiliser as it contains both sulphur and calcium. Hamilton claimed it also provides excellent skin finish when it is used on fields for growing potatoes.

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