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Biosecurity increases custom manure app costs


August 15, 2014, St. Adolphe, Man – A Morris, Man., based custom swine manure applicator says the extra time and effort required to clean and disinfect manure application equipment to reduce the risk of spreading PED has dramatically increased the cost of custom manure application.

Biosecurity considerations for commercial applicators was one of the topics discussed recently as part of a Nutrient and Water Management Field Day at the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station.

Merv Kornelsen, owner of BMG Nutrient Management, says measures to reduce the risk of spreading Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus have dramatically increased the cost of applying swine manure.

“The cost is more down time, so a loss of revenue,” said Kornelsen. “Procedures, our company hasn’t changed that much. What we have changed is cleaning a little bit better, making sure we have good soap, making sure we have hot water to wash, taking an extra two to three hours, sometimes four hours, to do a good wash”

“We’re starting to charge for washes and obviously it doesn’t recuperate the loss of revenue but it’s a compensation somewhat,” he added. ”Rough numbers, loss of revenue can be $6,000, very easy, where as a wash, I charge $2,000.”

“Is that the number we’re going to stick at? I doubt it, but at this point we charge $2,000 just for a wash to recuperate a little bit. The other side of it is we have to invest a lot more money in washing equipment.”

“We had a washer, a decent washer – hot water and everything – but because of the down time, we will have to invest a lot more money. We’re looking at pressure washers that (are) upward of $15,000 per washer. A guy probably will have two because of the down time so those are some serious costs that we have to consider adding now.”

Kornelsen acknowledges there has been some resistance to the increased costs but the more progressive producers have recognized the value of the heighted biosecurity.