Bedding Management

Dairy freestalls that are bedded with clean, dry and comfortable material have proven to increase milk production, cow health and cow happiness. Regardless of the type of bedding in the stall — be it organic, like dried manure solids, or inorganic, like sand, the bedding should be clean, dry and filled to an adequate depth so that the cow doesn’t come into contact with anything but the bedding. McLanahan offers a wide range of solutions to help dairy producers with bedding management, including equipment for dewatering, stall maintenance, manure separation and drying.


McLanahan dewatering equipment helps dairy producers remove excess water from their sand bedding. Not only does removing the moisture from sand bedding reduce the need for sand conditioning and stacking, it frees up that stacking space. McLanahan dewatering equipment also allows dairy producers to purchase less sand and keep less and inventory. 

Dewatering Screen

Stall Maintenance

McLanahan offers stall maintenance equipment that allows dairy producers to fill and maintain full, evenly distributed beds of sand that are critical for cow comfort.


McLanahan's drying solutions remove moisture in recycled sand and manure solids bedding, making it immediately available for reuse in freestalls. The drying process heats the bedding to high temperatures, removing moisture and killing mastitis-causing pathogens that can be detrimental to cow health and milk quality. The overall result of dry bedding is healthier cows, increased milk production and lower somatic cell count.

Importance of Dry Bedding

Clean, dry bedding hinders the growth of the mastitis-causing pathogens that are harmful to a cow’s heath and can increase somatic cell count. Since bacteria need food, heat and moisture to survive, dry bedding reduces the ability for it to foster bacteria growth and extends the life of the bedding material. It also keeps the cow clean. Stalls that are bedded with an adequate depth of sand encourage the cow to lie down and rest, reduce the cow’s chances of injuring her knees as she lies down, decrease the compaction of the material, and lessen the chance the cow’s teats will become chapped or come into contact with bacteria. This is especially important since cows should lie down for up to 14 hours per day for maximum milk production.

Bedding and bedding management directly relate to overall cow comfort, health and milk production, and regular freestalls maintenance will help to keep the cows clean and comfortable. Many well-maintained dairies have controlled the mastitis cases in their cows just by keeping their stall environments clean, dry and well-bedded. 

Regular stall maintenance is an important part of bedding to increase cow comfort and reduce mastitis cases. Stalls should be groomed several times a day, and the manure and soiled bedding should be removed and replaced with clean, dry bedding. All bedding should be replaced once a week, though organic bedding materials should be replaced more frequently. 

Alleys, too, should be cleaned at least twice a day so the cow doesn’t drag soiled sand and manure back into the stall.

Keeping the bedding free of manure and moisture reduces the opportunity for the cow’s teats and udders to become exposed to bacteria while they are lying in their stalls. 

Besides creating cleaner, healthier cows, employing a good bedding management strategy can yield higher quality milk with lower somatic cell counts, which leads to increased profitability for the dairy producer.

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