Farmers urged to stock up on winter bedding amid supply challenges
26th September 2023
Following reports of sawdust shortages across the supply chain, farmers are being urged to secure bedding supplies now to avoid falling short in the winter.
Dairy farmer James Weaver from Rooms Farm, Market Drayton, was told sawdust supplier are tight and delivery could not be guaranteed by his supplier after enquiring about an order he had placed in the summer.
The shortage is thought to be on the back of an increased volume of the product going to biomass plants in Europe, causing supplies to dwindle over the past couple of years.
Mr Weaver, who milks 300 Holsteins and usually stocks up with two artic loads of bedding before the winter, said he rang various other suppliers and was told a similar message.
“Each of the companies said they were struggling to supply sawdust, and on top of that, the price had also increased significantly,” he reported.
To secure supply for his herd, Mr Weaver started considering alternative options, looking at products that could guarantee dryness and consistency for his cows.
“Without a dry bed for cows, bugs can soon spread, and we all know how much mastitis can cost and the knock-on impact it can have within a herd,” he said.
After speaking with friends and researching alternative bedding options, Mr Weaver soon settled on replacing sawdust with a paper bedding product, EnviroBed Premium, from Envirosystems. The premium version combines EnviroBed with high-quality sawdust dried to 95% for high absorbency.
“We are already customers of EnviroSystems and trust their products,” he added. “We use their bedding conditioner Cobiotex instead of lime, which has helped us cut our mastitis from 20 cases per 100 cows to 6.
“We have had one artic load of EnviroBed Premium delivered and are happy we’ve got the security of supply as having no bedding would be a nightmare.”
A high-quality alternative to fill the gap
Liz Russell, managing director of EnviroSystems, said they had received increased calls and enquiries at recent events about EnviroBed on the back of the sawdust shortage.
“We’ve had years like this in the past, and we invented EnviroBed in 2001 because of a shortage of bedding,” she explained. “Over the past two years, the bedding shortage has been building and has now come to a head.
“Every so often, bedding shortages happen, and we’re happy to be able to fill that gap for farmers when this happens.”
She encouraged farmers to start thinking about their bedding supplies and explore alternative options if they are struggling to stock up.
“When looking at alternatives, make sure you know exactly what you are buying and check aspects such as the dry matter and what is actually contained within the product,” Mrs Russell advised.
“We pride ourselves on producing a dry product that has a neutral pH of 7.4, is soft on the skin, reducing the risk of teat irritation that can commonly be observed with strong alkaline bedding, such as lime-based products.
“The neutral pH means it can also be incorporated into slurry storage and AD systems,” she added.
Mrs Russell encouraged farmers interested in EnviroBed to secure supply now to ensure stocks last throughout the winter.
“To be on a winter contract where prices are frozen over the period and to secure supply before charges increase on 1 November, orders must be in by 20 October. We can deliver in artic loads, 56 bags on a pallet or in tall tote bags, so can accommodate a range of farming systems and those where storage or access may be tight,” she said.
For more information on the product, visit www.envirosystems.co.uk or contact the team directly on 01772 860085.