Moola - Pferdepension hat gute Ergebnisse mit neuer Streu

Stable bedding – application in animal husbandry

Biochar can be used as bedding or for faeces/ manure treatment in animal husbandry. The biochar absorbs moisture in the bedding (up to 5 times of their dead weight in water) as well as organic and mineral nitrogen compounds. The absorption of the nitrogen together with the continuing drying of the bedding withdraws microbial pathogens their nutrient basis and reduces toxic ammonia emissions.

By the reduction of the humidity, the vulnerability for bunions and claw diseases decreases. The odour in stables, produced by ammonia emissions, that attacks the mucous membranes and lunges of the animals and weakens their immune system is clearly lowered after a few days. An improvement of the animal’s resistance is the consequence that positively influences their vitality, milk and egg production as well as their final fattening weight.

Moola – horse boarding has got good results with new bedding

Ecological thermal mat as heat insulation

Ever since the beginning of the conversion, the young farmer has seen advantages. Hetzer did his first tests in horse stalls that belong to his sister, who owns a riding school and some horses. The filling level of 20 cm showed up to be the ideal start. In form of a pad, compost and powdered biochar lays in the 3 x 4 metre big hors stalls. Where the concrete floor used to show, because horses would push the bedding to the sides, now lays an ecological thermal mat in the horse stall. “This leads to a soft ground for the horse hooves and it is ideal to act as heat insulation in winter”, Hetzer summarizes. Even the blacksmith reports that the hooves health has improved.

Because the animal faeces only mix with the upper three centimetres, the bedding lasts longer than a year. It’s also a lot easier to muck out. But that’s not how long Hetzer will wait: “We empty and clean out stalls a lot earlier due to hygienic reasons”, he says. 

Conventional bedding by the way should usually completely be renewed after only 10days in winter.

Bedding made of biochar lasts 4 times as long

Side effect: Through the usage of compost-biochar, the material wastage decreases a lot. 40 cubic metres of chips and three round bales of straw lasted Hezter maximally 10 days before the conversion. “Nowadays the same amount of compost and biochar lasts for six weeks.”, the agriculture student (university of Nürtingen) reports.

He especially likes the climate inside of the stalls. “It doesn’t smell like ammonia anymore”, he says. That’s because the biochar, that’s carbonized of barley spelt and green waste, sucks up horse urine and absorbs the nutrients (like for example nitrogen) that are contained. That prevents losses of for example ammonia and the amount of nutrients in the bedding improves. That’s something user Hetzer confirms. He now uses way less, but high quality dung on this 70 hectare grassland and 30 hectare agriculture and says that he can notice a better fertilising effect. That’s very close to a “Terrapreta-Soil Improver”, says Hetzer. Usually horse dung out of straw and barley would only be disposed on the field. While digging up, what’s been but under would only appear again. That would make additional nutrients necessary for implementation processes. Nutrients that cultivated plants don’t have.

Butzenhof changes over to biochar

David Hetzer wanted less dung. The operator of the Butzenhof in Mössingen near Tübingen, that has 65 horses, changed to another horse bedding. He went from straw and sawdust to green compost and biochar. Ever since that he has been saving a lot of material. The young farmer is also very happy about the fact, that cleaning out the stalls works a lot faster now. Instead of 20 minutes per box, Hetzer now only needs about 10.

But the changeover phase has been very test intense. He started asking around two years ago about alternatives for straw and sawdust. He first read about biochar in an agricultural journal. The biochar directly caught his interest. Together with compost of green waste he tests different mixtures. “If humus and biochar are too wispy, the bedding turns to mud once it gets wet”, he notices. If the mixture is to raw, it cant take in the urine which causes the stall to get wet and smell like ammonia, similar to the emissions of the straw bedding.

Technical universities verify the practical test

By using humus and biochar this would look different. Test series done by the technical university of Osnabrück and Hohenheim show a topsoil that clearly has improved regarding its nutrient content after being fed with enriched biochar. The humus content increases.

Good news for the Butzenhof. Especially in areas of the Swabian Alb and the northern black forest, the unprofitable soil is very clayey and hard. That’s why they’re called “minute soils”. Farmers have to find the exact moment to work on them.

The timing on the  Butzenhof was significant as well. Hetzer could already guess, his new bedding could cause doubt between horse owners. That’s why he was silent at first and let the first test stalls speak for themselves. “That caused curiosity” the farmer says, happy about his tactic. Instead of working under pressure and dictate the new bedding to riders, he caused everybody to want this amazing bedding mat for their stalls, Hetzer says while winking.