Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Animal Science

First Advisor

Dr. Jeffrey M. Bewley


Compost bedded pack (CBP) barn design and pack maintenance procedures vary considerably, making advising and problem-solving challenging. One objective of this research was to characterize herd performance and management practices employed by Kentucky CBP managers (42 farms and 47 CBP facilities). Producer satisfaction, changes in historical bulk-tank somatic cell count, and improvement in herd performance parameters after transitioning to a CBP barn support reported CBP barn system benefits. Daily milk production increased from before moving into the CBP barn to the second year after (29.3 ± 0.3 vs. 30.7 ± 0.3 kg, respectively; P < 0.05) for farms using the CBP barn as the primary housing facility (n = 8). Increasing stirring frequency, stirring depth, and ambient temperatures increased pack temperature. Increased drying rate decreased CBP moisture. Increased 20.3 cm depth CBP temperature and ambient temperatures improved cow hygiene. Mastitis-causing bacteria thrive in conditions similar to optimal composting bacteria conditions, making reduction of these bacteria difficult in an active composting environment. Producers must pay attention to other management areas where preventive measures can be employed. The New Dairy Housing Investment Analysis Dashboard provides users an interactive and flexible decision tool to make more informed facility investment decisions.

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Dairy Science Commons