OPICON is a subdivision of Stjernholm A/S, which delivers environmental engineering solutions for cleaning sandy manure at dairy farms in Denmark as well as the rest of Europe.
OPICON has developed a sand washer process system for reusing the sand for bedding in larger dairy farms, in close cooperation with several experts in the agricultural sector, livestock advisors, veterinarians and livestock farmers. So far, there have been major difficulties handling sandy manure, however, with OPICON’s process system, it can be done without any major problems.
It is recognized by both livestock advisors and veterinarians that dairy cows provide more milk, when the stable is adapted to the cows’ natural behavior and needs. The farmers can increase productivity if they focus on the wellbeing of the cows. Using sand for bedding is one way to raise animal welfare.
There are three OPICON sand washers installed in Denmark at the moment, and two in the Netherlands. The biggest sand washer is located in Holsted, Denmark. It has 2,000 cows and uses daily app. 10 kilos sand per cow, which means there are massive resource- and economic savings related to reusing the sand.
The process in the sand washer system consists of three steps:
- Separation of sand and manure
- Cleaning of separated sand for reuse
- Post processing of sand free manure for storage at the dairy farm, or delivery to biogas plants.
The only difference between the reused sand and new sand is the color.
- At the dairy farm in Holsted they reuse 92.5 per cent of the sand. Even though the sand is coarser, it has no impact on the comfort for bedding and the slip resistance at the concrete floor is optimum.
- Previously, the milk production in Holsted had a challenge with delivering manure to biogas plants. With the sand washer system, the manure is separated from the sand and it is pure enough to be delivered to biogas plants.
- For Holsted the new sand washer system means that it is no longer a “simple operation”. The sand washer must be maintained and there are additional costs for electricity and some additional logistics in relation to the transport of manure to the biogas plants.
- However, Holsted believes that this is what it takes to get the best conditions for their cows and overall they experience considerable gains in terms of both the environment and the economic recovery of the new plant.
Confederation of Danish Industry (DI)