A BETTER working environment when using bedding machines was highlighted recently at a demonstration of new bedding machines in Leicestershire.

An innovative adaptation for reducing dust created by mechanical bedding machines was amongst an array of equipment at the event organised jointly by Kuhn and agricultural and amenity machinery dealership, Farol.

The Cleanstraw system, developed by Kuhn and shown fitted to the company’s Primor 3570 M bedding machine, targets a fine mist of water to straw as it leaves the directional chute, significantly reducing airborne particles.

At the event, near Saxelbye, Melton Mowbray, Kuhn’s product manager, Katie Calcutt, said it was important not to underestimate the impact that a dusty environment can have on both livestock and anyone working in sheds when bedding is in progress.

“Poor air quality is known to be a factor that can exacerbate respiratory problems in cattle, and it can also affect farm workers,” she said. “The dust from straw is likely to contain pollen, moulds, bacteria and tiny fragments of plant residue, so minimising the risk of inhalation is an important consideration.”

The system has a 64-litre water tank and three misting nozzles at the exit of the straw blowing chute and these are fed by a 12v/15-amp pump which provides water at a rate of 1.8l/min – enough to treat 12-18 bales of straw with 1 litre of water per 100kg of straw.

This rate preserves the straw’s absorbency potential but eliminates excessive levels of airborne dust by reducing the amount of time that these particles remain suspended in the air. Trials have shown that the air in a typical livestock building will be dust-free within 30 seconds after straw-bedding with it, compared to several minutes under normal conditions.

The system is available on the Primor straw bedders that operate with the Polydrive hydraulically disengageable belt system that drives the feed rotor, and on the Profile Plus range of mixer wagons that have a bedding capability. It is automatically activated when the Polydrive is engaged, though it can also be armed or disabled via an in-cab switch.