Cacao bean husk: an applicable bedding material in dairy free-stall barns

  • Yajima, Akira ;
  • Owada, Hisashi ;
  • Kobayashi, Suguru ;
  • Komatsu, Natsumi ;
  • Takehara, Kazuaki ;
  • Ito, Maria ;
  • Matsuda, Kazuhide ;
  • Sato, Kan ;
  • Itabashi, Hisao ;
  • Sugimura, Satoshi ;
  • Kanda, Shuhei
  • Received : 2016.11.14
  • Accepted : 2016.12.08
  • Published : 2017.07.01


Objective: The objectives of the study were to assess the effect of cacao bean husk as bedding material in free-stall barn on the behavior, productivity, and udder health of dairy cattle, and on the ammonia concentrations in the barn. Methods: Four different stall surfaces (no bedding, cacao bean husk, sawdust, and chopped wheat straw) were each continuously tested for a period of 1 week to determine their effects on nine lactating Holstein cows housed in the free-stall barn with rubber matting. The lying time and the milk yield were measured between d 4 and d 7. Blood samples for plasma cortisol concentration and teat swabs for bacterial counts were obtained prior to morning milking on d 7. The time-averaged gas-phase ammonia concentrations in the barn were measured between d 2 and d 7. Results: The cows spent approximately 2 h more per day lying in the stalls when bedding was available than without bedding. The milk yield increased in the experimental periods when cows had access to bedding materials as compared to the period without bedding. The lying time was positively correlated with the milk yield. Bacterial counts on the teat ends recorded for cows housed on cacao bean husk were significantly lower than those recorded for cows housed without bedding. Ammonia concentration under cacao bean husk bedding decreased by 6%, 15%, and 21% as compared to no bedding, sawdust, and chopped wheat straw, respectively. The cortisol concentration was lowest in the period when cacao bean husk bedding was used. We observed a positive correlation between the ammonia concentrations in the barn and the plasma cortisol concentrations. Conclusion: Cacao bean husk is a potential alternative of conventional bedding material, such as sawdust or chopped wheat straw, with beneficial effects on udder health and ammonia concentrations in the barns.


Dairy Cattle;Bedding Material;Cacao Bean Husk


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Supported by : Japan Chocolate Industrial Corporation, Isonuma milk farm