Animal Needs: Miscanthus Bedding + Hay
Of course, the diversity of elephant grass reflects, first of all, in the almost unlimited opportunities of using miscanthus.
Every garden owner knows bark chips. Some love them, others cannot literally stand they smell. In this respect, miscanthus is an advantageous, native, and very attractive substitution for conventional bark chips. This mulch is highly resistant and also requires less distribution, as compared to bark chips. Here, you can find further information on using chopped miscanthus as garden mulch.
Moreover, chopped miscanthus can be used as insulation material or an admixture to construction materials (there are some good examples in Switzerland), and as molding parts in (automotive) industry.
Currently, however, the by far largest part of miscanthus is surely used for heating. Whether loose, as pellets, or in brickets, the elephant grass is considered more and more frequently as a substitution for wood directly from the field. High silicon values and chlorine that previously, along with their slagging propensity, frequently caused many problems to conventional furnaces in the past, are cleared out more and more or they are solved technically very well by furnace builders. As an admixture of 30-50 %, it also worked well in the past, and furnaces for green heating are offered (as per those manufacturers) by the companies, such as Hargassner, Heizomat, Fröhling, ETA, Biokompakt, or Guntamatik.
Another excellent usage opportunity of miscanthus is its use as litter for horses or smaller animals. Miscanthus straw is more absorbent than normal straw and can also be re-distributed pH-neutrally in the field after use, which is probably the largest advantage.
Miscanthus Pellets as Bedding and Heating Material
Miscanthus also perfectly suits for the alternative production of pellets. At the same time, miscanthus provides some advantages, as compared to traditional sawmill residues that are normally used in manufacturing, but it also has its disadvantages. In terms of energy input/output, this ratio is disadvantageous in miscanthus pelletization, as compared to briquetting. For usability reasons, miscanthus pellets seem to be interesting for many consumers or for self-support, in all cases.
Benefits of Miscanthus Pellets:
- Considerably lower storage capacity required, as compared to that necessary for unpressed harvested materials
- Water content of miscanthus harvest in March/April varies mostly between 8 and 15 %, which is perfect for most balers (wood must usually be predried)
- Small machines, including mobile prototypes, for personal needs are relatively cost-effective
- Self-support, if even you don’t own a wood
Disadvantages of Miscanthus Pellets:
- Heating with pellets / chopped materials must accept miscanthus as a combustible (dumping/stairs grate or combustion chamber lining)
- High energy input when pressing
- Material must mostly be pre-milled with a hammer mill, for instance
Along with using miscanthus pellets as heating material, we are currently noticing a strongly increasing interest in using the material as animal bedding. Miscanthus and, more intensively, miscanthus pellets have made a name for themselves especially in horse farming.
Here, you can find more details on miscanthus pellets that are not out of place as animal bedding.
Alternatively, we can also offer you our proven Elephant Grass Litter Loose as bulk material in different package sizes: Large units for horses or horse farms and, of course, for smaller animals in convenient cardboard boxes or in space-saving paper bags.
In the film below, we show you two best practices from Upper Austria, on how to use miscanthus as heating material and as horse bedding:
Claudia S., Lower Saxony, Austria, October 2019
The delivery came quickly and undamaged.
Our sheep accepted the bedding immediately. The surfaces remained permanently dry, and there was no odor nuisance at all during the entire summer. Only in September, upon 6 months, we changed the chopped material and took it out to the compost heap. We are impressed and won’t use any other bedding anymore.
Ursula W., Burgenland, Austria, July 2019
Hello, Mr. Sperr,
Thank you very much – this works perfectly!
Yes, well, I can share my current impressions with you now.
We have a group of 6 horses in the free-stalls. The stalls consist of 3 sectors, 30m² each, that are basically lined with mats. In summer, we have incredibly many insects, such as mosquitos, midges, horse-flies, flies, and other unloved stingers, so the horses stand in the stalls all day, often 14-16 hours, and stale and drop therein, of course. So I arrange a “toilet” area in each stall sector during the summer months.
In their favorite stall, about 9m² have been covered with bedding since the end of May. I started with 13 bags, and some 5 or 6 more ones have been added since then.
In the course of the last 20 years, I tried many things as bedding. I started with conventional long-stalk straw, then tried straw with sawdust, only sawdust, chopped straw, flax straw, spelt, and finally straw pellets. Either it absorbs too little, is substituted and mixed too strongly, gets eaten, stinks, or has an enormous dropping volume.
Miscanthus pellets are really amazing. The first noteworthy damp spot appeared on the surface after around 3 weeks, which we cropped out and dried in the sun, and then added back to the bedding. The faint smell of ammonia faded completely in the air after about 1 h.
As the summer progresses, the horses stay in the stall longer and longer, and so I take out only 1-3 wheelbarrows of damp material once a week, let it dry, and then put it onto the stall floor again. I often add a fresh bag to it, since the horses also carry some on their hooves out of the stall.
The firm, but flexible mattress is formed quickly and can be cleaned of dung perfectly. Even where chickens have pecked up the horseapples, it is still easy to clean the bedding surface again. Since the mattress is so firm, the horses do not manage to intermix their manure deeply into the bedding. The horseapples remain on top and are immediately removed using a manure fork.
Since our horses and we, people, like the miscanthus pellets so much now, the stall climate becomes more and more odor-neutral, and the horses like lying in it, I would like to cover the entire stall sector of 30 m² and leave it like this the whole year (so far, I have done it always during the summer months only, since the horses have been kept up to 85 % outdoors for the rest of the year)
Sorry for this screed, but I’ve tried so many things, and each bedding has a snag. Now we are entirely happy – I must have got rid of this really easily.
Poldi K., Lower Austria, Austria, October 2018
Super bedding products, especially for angora rabbits.
Michaela H., Lower Austria, Austria, 10/19/2018
Diese bedding products are perfectly suitable for angora rabbits.
Alfa S.-T., Lower Austria, Austria, October 2018
Wonderful customer focus and super service. I bought both miscanthus rhizomes and horse bedding. Post-sales service and communication are 1A.
Evelyn W., Lower Austria, Austria, December 2018
We are doing well? Much better than with wood chips!! Thank God, the horses leave the bedding alone? They don’t seem to be so greedy now!
Absorbing capacity and smell are much, much better than with wood chips! We are impressed ?
I hope a real feedback will come soon, I’ve written a very detailed report.
Carmen L., North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, July 2018
I’m very happy with the bedding, thank you so much!
So far, until the dust exposure at disposal, I have not found any disadvantages.
I wish you a very good day and best regards,