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Dung Sieving: A guide to understanding your cows.

For those looking to produce more milk, you must understand what your cows are getting from their diet.

We all know the importance of having a healthy rumen when it comes to higher yields. There are several methods you can use to determine the rumen health, but one of the easier and faster options is dung sieving.

We recommend a three-tiered dung sieve (see picture), giving you the most accurate result. Typically, we recommend getting approximately 10% of the herd number in dung samples, allowing for all bases to be covered, for larger herds, a total of 50 samples will suffice.

So, now you know what it does. Here’s how to do it & what you’ll need;

We recommend the Nasco Digester, along with a set of accurate digital weigh scales, notebook, smartphone for photos, gloves, scoop and access to a hose pipe. If you require this service, please get in touch with your rep and they will arrange to visit and carry out the assessment.

To begin, weigh out each component of your sieve, along with the scoop. Collect your fresh faeces samples in a large bucket and mix, fill the white scoop provided then slowly empty into the sieve whilst using the hose pipe to help it flow through (don’t blast or force it through), continuing until all the dug has been added to the sieves. Take care not to add too much at any one time to prevent blocking the sieve, once the sample is completely washed through, weigh the total, each section of the sieve and take photographs.

  1. Weigh total digester/sieves + retained samples = amount of manure retained.
  2. Dismantle sieve and weight individual parts + retained samples.
  3. This will give values for top sieve + sample, middle sieve + sample and bottom sieve + sample.

After completing your test NWF can provide calculations to work out percentages of dung retained in each sieve, we would hope that within the top sieve, you’ll have less than 10% of the total, less than 20% in the middle and more than 50% in the bottom sieve.

For more information on Dung Sieving or if you wish for your local rep to carry out a test, please get in touch with our technical team on 0800 756 2787, or email us at nbteam@nwfagriculture.co.uk

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