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Chopped Newspapers Make Cheap Livestock Bedding
A nationwide glut of newsprint due to a limited recycling market is prompting more farmers to take a look at chopping up news-papers for livestock bedding. Most farmers say that the conventional bale choppers they use to chop straw work great with newspapers, too.
Lee Shaffer, Selinsgrove, Penn., and employee Nathan Hackenburg, have bedded their 170-cow freestall barn with 1 to 4-in. of shredded newspapers for more than 9 years. One Saturday a month, local Boy Scouts borrow Shaffer's truck to gather bundled and boxed paper. They unload the bundles of newspapers inside a shed next to the free-stall barn. Shaffer pays them $20 a ton. Friends and acquaintances also bring in newspapers. Every morning, after scraping out his freestall barn, Shaffer and Hackenburg heave 300 to 400 lbs. of newspaper bundles into a pto-powered Kidd round bale chopper. The 3-pt. mounted chopper, powered by a 70 hp Deere 3020 tractor, blows shredded newspaper out both sides. It takes about 1 min. to go from one end of the barn to the other.
"Cows really like to lay in the new bed-ding and they can't drag it out of stalls as fast as they can drag out straw. It's much drier and six times more absorbent than straw, and it's not nearly as dusty," says Shaffer. "It dissolves in the freestall scrapings so it's no problem for my above-ground liquid manure storage tank. However, we make sure we remove all twine which might catch in the chopper knives or get caught in the impeller of the liquid manure pump.
"No one believes how much bedding is produced by a few bundles of newspaper. I use 3 to 4 lbs. of newspaper per day per cow. Blowing chopped up newspaper into stalls does raise some dust, but not as much as straw. Best of all, it costs much less than straw - $20 a ton compared to about $100 per ton for straw."
Shaffer added extra knives to his chopper to create a finer cut. He also added a speeded-up gear box so the chopper operates at 1,000 rpms but notes that the chopper would have worked fine for newspaper even without modification. When he first started using newspaper bedding, he hand-fed a small, belt-driven, single-bale chopper. "It worked fine but it took us an hour to bed the 170 stalls and we had some maintenance problems with belts because we put it to hard use. With our round bale chopper the job takes only 15 minutes."
Shaffer says the Kidd bale chopper's shredding knives are easy to sharpen or replace. Expeller chutes, controlled from the tractor cab, discharge shredded material to either side or both sides at once. Deflector flaps can be adjusted to direct shredded material upward or downward. Two models are available. The 4-5 model chops up to 5 standard size square bales or a single 4-ft. dia. round bale. The 6-10 model can handle up to 10 square bales or a single 6-ft. dia. round bale. The 4-5 model sells for about $5,000 and the 6-10 model sells for about $6,450.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lee A. Shaffer, RD 2, Box 184, Selinsgrove, Penn. 17870 (ph 717 743-8269). For more information on the Kidd bale chopper, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Cummings & Bricker, Inc., 111 Cedar St., Batavia, N.Y. (ph 716 343-5411), or FARM SHOW Followup, Edney Distributing Corp., Inc., 906 Airport Road, Bismarck, N.D. 58501 (ph 701 223-1886).
Jim Berry, Lebanon, Penn., uses a Wic single bale chopper to shred newspapers for both his freestall and stanchion barns. He bought the gas engine-powered chopper for about $1,500. After loading bundles of newspaper into it, he pushes the chopper down an alley and blows the dry fluffy newspaper bedding into the stalls. "Straw looks nicer but it doesn't absorb like news-paper and costs much more, selling for $110 per ton in our area. I get most of my news-papers free from neighbors and acquaintances. It's hard to believe how much bed-ding is produced by a small bundle of newspapers. Chopped-up newsprint is re-ally absorbent and keeps cows drier than straw. I like to blow in the newspaper and then blow in straw on top of it. When the cows walk on it they mix it up which helps to keep the fluffy n

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1989 - Volume #13, Issue #5