Wash Yard Less Frequently
In some situations the frequency of yard washing can be reduced substantially. Periodic hosing is supplemented by using mechanical scrapers to remove most of the dry solids.
The cows need to have good footing on the concrete (dimpled or cobbled pattern). Careful stock handling and use of backing gate will minimise slips and injuries.
In drier times farmers have reported scraping the yard every 1-3 weeks, only giving it a complete clean when rain can soften the built up manure before a complete hose down.
Tips on Getting the Best Result
Cover drains and scrape most of the drier solids away. Break-up remaining solids, pre-wet yards and then flush remainder with a high flow rate wash.
The manure will be less of a hazard if the water can evaporate or drain away. Having dry weather and a yard slope of 2-3% will help.
Pros and Cons
Low cost option and may save time.
Care is required to preserve drains, pumps and manure distribution pipes. Yards may become very slippery. Stores of semi-solid waste must drain to effluent. Time required to spread waste.
Issues in Making it Happen
Saves time but may increase OH&S risks, may increase time required to clean teats.
May increase mastitis if cows splash udders and risks of slips and falls is increased.
May increase sediment if cows splash udders.
Potentially reduce effluent volume and dilution.