Compost-bedded pack barns in the state of Minas Gerais: architectural and technological characterization
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Compost bedding pack (CBP) barns have been receiving increased attention as an alternative housing system for dairy cattle. Thus, a systematic investigation of the primary management practices of dairy cattle in CBP barns in the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil) has proven to be of environmental and economic relevance. The aim of this research was to summarize the compost bed data, barn dimension data and to determine the major interactive factors in the success of bed composting from qualitative and quantitative methods. Data for this study was collected from 16 CBP barns, distributed throughout the southern state of Minas Gerais (Brazil) between March 2017 and July 2018. These data were used to describe the building layouts and dimensions, to identify barn management practices, and to characterize the compost bedding material concerning moisture content. The majority of these barns had feed alleys and driveways; overshot ridges with frequent orientation from NE to SW; bedding process and aeration using mechanical tillage. The average bedding moisture content was found to be 36.9 ± 5.2% (w.b.). Based on the information found, it is possible to evaluate that there is still no defined construction pattern, with a high variation of size and technologies employed.