Manure Manager

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In the news: March-April 2011


March 24, 2011
By Manure Manager

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Manitoba pig producers provided manure management funding
Manitoba pig producers provided manure management funding
Manitoba pig producers will soon have access to more than $26 million to help them improve manure management and to reduce the risk of water contamination.

The goal of the Manure Management Financial Assistance Program (MMFAP) – announced Feb. 24 – is to help pig producers build and repair manure storage structures that eliminate the need for winter application. Also, by encouraging the adoption of manure treatment systems, producers are in a better position to reduce soil phosphorus on their land. This program will help reduce the risk of water contamination.

The program is supported by a three-year investment by the federal and provincial governments (cost-shared 60-40). The Government of Canada will make almost $16 million available through the Agricultural Flexibility fund to finance the acquisition of manure treatment systems. The Province of Manitoba will provide more than $10 million for the building and repair of manure storage structures.

“This funding will assist producers with the cost of building or repairing manure storage structures and adopting manure treatment systems that will help them protect our water,” said Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers. “We recognize that we all share responsibility for protecting our water and we also recognize the challenges this industry has faced with the rising dollar and unstable prices.”


Slurry sanitation using heat as simple, low-energy method
Livestock effluents have always been used as fertilizer on crop fields. But there is concern untreated manure can transmit diseases to humans and animals. To deal with this issue, scientists with Cemagref, a French research firm, are investigating the use of heat exchangers for thermal treatment of the slurry, a well-known technique that they are trying to make more energy efficient.

The higher the temperature, the more effectively the micro-organisms are destroyed, so an easy solution would be to set up sterilization programs, e.g., treatment at more than 120 C for at least 30 minutes. But the cost of such treatments would be much too high for most farmers. The initial goal of the research is therefore to create treatments that are less costly, but sufficient to meet sanitation targets. The slurry is heated to temperatures between 55 C and 96 C and maintained at a high temperature before cooling and storage. To determine treatment effectiveness, the researchers selected a set of seven bacterial and viral indicators, representing various levels of thermoresistance.

The results showed that heating to 60 C for 10 minutes is sufficient to make the slurry acceptable for spreading purposes. But none of the treatments up to 55 C for three days or 70 C for one hour (protocols based on those required for composting) were sufficient to destroy the most resistant pathogens. Heating to 96 C for 10 minutes is required to destroy some of them and temperatures over 100 C would appear necessary to completely remove pathogens from the slurry.

These results prompted the researchers to look for less costly solutions, including the use of a second heat exchanger to recycle the calories from the hot slurry as it cools. This technique recovers between 55 and 70 percent of the energy used to heat the slurry.

Researchers also plan to investigate ways of eliminating progressive clogging of the system, which reduces heat exchange, ultimately increasing the cost of the process. It will be necessary to determine the best treatment strategies for the future development of the process and the best cleaning techniques, whether mechanical or chemical. They are also investigating ways to couple the process with a methanization system to produce biogas as an energy source.


WUD backs voluntary water monitoring program
The Western United Dairymen board of directors recently voted to endorse a program to significantly reduce regulatory costs for member dairies by administering a representative groundwater monitoring program.

A dairy’s membership in good standing in Central Valley Dairy Representative Monitoring Program (CVDRMP) can substitute as a lower-cost alternative for the current regulatory requirement for each dairy to install monitoring wells.

WUD director Tom Barcellos serves as CVDRMP chairman. In a recent Ag Alert article, Barcellos explained that in 2007 the state adopted comprehensive new water quality regulations for Central Valley dairies requiring the installation of wells exclusively for monitoring first-encountered groundwater. It was estimated that the costs of the regulation could be $40,000 per dairy to drill the wells, plus the ongoing costs to cover sampling and reporting.

“Our coalition offers a better alternative,” said Barcellos. “A scientifically guided program will locate wells strategically on a representative set of dairies, instead of all dairies. Our program will be smaller, smarter and more efficient. It will generate the results to meet the regulatory compliance needs of our monitoring coalition members, but it will cost significantly less because fewer dairies will need to be monitored and because we will pool resources and pass the savings along to coalition members.”

More information on the coalition is available at www.dairycares.com/CVDRMP/ .


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