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What do fiber bedding and beach towels have in common?

Jeramy Sanford for Progressive Dairyman Published on 15 June 2017

When it comes to beach towels, long fibers are ideal for comfort and moisture absorption. The same goes for fiber bedding. Long fibers help absorb moisture and reduce bacteria growth.


Fiber bedding captures the undigested lignin components in plants in a reusable form. This fiber is extracted from manure and recycled into bedding. Manure fibers are removed by processing fresh manure through a mechanical separation system. The type of separation system used is an important factor in maintaining fiber length during the separation process.



Manure fibers are relatively short to begin with because most herds feed TMRs and not long-stemmed hay. A roller press separator preserves fiber length more effectively because there is no cutting action during separation. With a screw press separator, fibers are shredded during the separation process, resulting in shorter fiber lengths.

fiber bedding is like a beach towel infographic

Surface area

When fibers are cut or broken during the separation process, the surface area of the fibers increase. This increased surface area means more available space for bacteria to live, eat, grow and multiply. Maintaining larger fibers creates less surface area in the bedding and results in less opportunity for bacteria to grow and spread.


Longer fibers, like those found in your softest, most absorbent beach towel, are also more effective at absorbing moisture in the stalls. Short fibers become more compact in the stall and can’t effectively absorb and hold moisture. As moisture seeps in from the outside, fibers are so tightly packed there is no way for moisture to travel into the small fibers in the middle of the bedding. Long fibers have less compaction, allowing moisture to travel throughout the bedding and resulting in cleaner, drier stalls.

Maintaining long fiber length is key to absorbing moisture and reducing bacteria growth when working with fiber bedding. Work with your local manure equipment specialist to learn more about fiber bedding and the importance of fiber length.  end mark


Jeramy Sanford
  • Jeramy Sanford

  • Nutrient and Separation Specialist
  • GEA
  • Email Jeramy Sanford

PHOTO: Infographic courtesy of GEA.