Two large pipes jutting out of one end of the barn – the visible piece of a system called mass agitation – allow the farm team to pump 7,000 gallons of water a minute into the pit beneath the barn where the excretions of 5,000 or so pigs collect.
The water, which feeds through the two pipes and into other branches throughout the pit, stirs things up, which should make for better manure to spread on farm fields and also reduce the smell. READ MORE
A team of engineers and scientists, working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, is preparing to move into phase three of an initiative to adapt hydrovac technology to speed up and reduce the cost of washing and disinfecting swine transport trailers.
Dr. Terry Fonstad, a professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, explains swine transportation has been identified as the primary risk for transferring disease-causing pathogens.
Prairie Swine Centre is involved in doing a trailer inventory.
They went out and looked at all the trailers that are being used and then looked into both animal welfare and cleanability aspects of those trailers," Dr. Fonstad says. "PAMI is developing with us a cleaning system based on a concept of using vacuum and pressure washers."
"VIDO is working on the side of pathogen destruction and giving us the engineering parameters that we need to destroy pathogens and verification of that."
"Then, on the engineering side at the University, we're looking at measuring those parameters in the trailers to verify that we're meeting the conditions that'll destroy the pathogens," he says. "I think this is a bit unique for research in that it's industry led, industry driven."
"One thing that we did made sure that we put in is an advisory team that's everywhere from producers to veterinarians to people that actually wash the trucks and we get together every six months and have them actually guide the research," Dr. Fonstad adds. "I think that's been part of the success, is having that advisory team that's made up of that diverse group of people."
Dr Fonstad says a less labour-intensive prototype hydrovac system, which requires less water that cleans the trailers to a level that facilitates effective disinfection and pathogen deactivation using heat has been developed.
He says the next step is to automate or semi-automate the system.
As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists with the University of Saskatchewan, the Prairie Swine Centre, the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute and VIDO-InterVac are working to automate the cleaning of swine transport vehicles to speed up the process and cut the cost.
VIDO-InterVac is responsible for identifying approaches to inactivate the key pathogens responsible for the transmission of disease.
Dr Volker Gerdts, the associate director of research with VIDO-InterVac, said in this project scientists focused on temperatures and the amount of time at those temperatures needed to inactivate 12 pathogens, six bacteria and six viruses, considered important to the swine industry.
"Viruses in general are a little bit more difficult to inactivate because they are inside the cell but we also had a few bacteria, Streptococcus suis for example, which is also relatively resistant to heat," Dr. Gerdts said.
"If you were able to use a very high temperature, like 80 degrees, all of these pathogens will be destroyed within a very short period of time," he said. "Going lower, like at 60 or 65 degrees Celsius, then it would take much longer so it's really a combination of temperature and time.
"I can't really give you all of those but, if you were to go with a high temperature, like 80 degrees for example, that would be sufficient to kill most pathogens within minutes," he added. "If you were going to go with 70 or 65 degrees then you're probably looking more at 15 minutes or something like that."
Dr Gerdts noted the industry is using this approach already.
He said after cleaning, washing and disinfecting, they're baking the trailers but the various units are using slightly different temperatures and slightly different schedules.
Many would say that solids are the most critical component to handle in a digester, but water is a critical factor as well, logistically and financially.
March 29, 2017, Manitowoc, WI – At a recent forum on soil health and custom crops, two custom manure applicators who serve farms in east central Wisconsin described some of the practices designed to limit soil disturbance during the process.
Jesse Dvorachek, based near Forest Junction in Calumet County, reported that each of his two crews, using a total of 10 to 20 trucks, apply about 200 million gallons of liquid manure per year on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) farms. READ MORE
March 23, 2017, Emeryville, CA – New Logic Research recently announced the successful commissioning of a VSEP vibrating membrane system to make clean water from digested cow manure.
The VSEP system, located in the Italian Alps region of Wipptal, takes the effluent from an anaerobic digester and transforms it into clean water which can either be reused or safely discharged to the environment. The project was implemented with the expert assistance of O.B. Impianti, New Logic's distribution partner in Northern Italy.
Although cows have a simple diet, the digestive system of ruminant animals makes for complicated wastewater treatment scenarios. VSEP's vibratory shear mechanism, coupled with a filter pack design means, it can create crystal clear permeate from water heavily laden with biological material like cow manure.
"Digesters are great at making green power and reducing contaminant levels in the waste, but in most cases, further treatment of the liquid effluent is still necessary,” said Greg Johnson, CEO of New Logic. “Many have tried to treat digester effluent with standard spiral-wound reverse osmosis membrane systems only to find that it's incredibly difficult, if not impossible. That's why VSEP is a perfect fit for digester effluent treatment: you get the reverse osmosis separation you desire, but deployed in a robust system designed to tackle the world's toughest applications."
The Wipptal project is a cooperative one, taking cow manure from more than three-dozen local farmers. The liquid manure is transported to the treatment facility where more than 60 percent of it is transformed into clean water, while the remainder is turned into concentrated organic fertilizer. The only pretreatment between the digester and the VSEP is a 100-micron screening device to remove large particles from the feed material.
O.B. Impianti and New Logic are already building on the success of the Wipptal installation – they are currently working on two additional installations on the continent, where EU funding is frequently available for such projects.
Liquid manure application in the Midwest typically happens in spring and fall each year. The majority of liquid manure application takes place using a tank or a dragline applicator, providing additional nutrients to crops.
Tank applicators transport manure from the livestock facility to agricultural fields and apply manure using a tank-mounted tool-bar. For fields that are close-by, manure can be pumped directly to the dragline-mounted tool-bar. In either case, a pre-determined application rate is used to pump manure through a manifold, which distributes manure to the application points across the tool-bar.
“Environmental regulations require producers to make sure manure is being applied to agricultural fields in accordance with their manure management plans,” said Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agricultural engineering specialist with Iowa State University.
Variations in tank capacities, manure densities and the presence of foam can cause the application rate to be different from the target number, as can variations in drive speed. Application rate should be verified, and both tank and dragline applicators need to be calibrated to ensure accurate application.
Both distribution of manure and calibrating the applicators are covered in a pair of new ISU Extension and Outreach publications – “Distribution of Liquid Manure Application” (AE 3600) and “Calibrating Liquid Tank Manure Applicators” (AE 3601A). Both are available through the Extension Store. A “Calibration Worksheet for Liquid Manure Tank Applicators” (AE 3601B) is also available.
Calibration of the application rate, in terms of gallons per acre applied, can be achieved using an area volume method. For applicators without automated controls, the volume of manure applied in a given pass should be determined. Knowing the density of the manure and the area covered in the pass, the application rate can be determined. Instructions for determining density and coverage area are included in publication AE 3601A.
There are manure applicators that use tractor-mounted automated flow controls to achieve accurate application rates. In these cases, flow controllers use a flow meter with an actuator to govern the flow rate and, subsequently the application rate.
“The majority of flow meters are set at the factory for their rated measurements, which can potentially be different when used for manure application,” said Kapil Arora, agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “The flow meters should be verified to ensure they are providing correct flow rate readouts to the flow controls.”
Achieving calibration of the target application rates only provides an average amount applied on a per acre basis. This application rate is delivered to the manifold mounted on the tool-bar, which then distributes the manure to the application points. This distribution of the manure across the tool-bar swath should be uniform so the variability among application points is minimal. This distribution should be verified only after the calibration for the application rate has been completed.
Split manure application, manure application to soybeans, high total nitrogen testing manures, and use of the Maximum Return to Nitrogen Rate Calculator can all cause the manure application rates to be lower than what was previously being used.
“Distribution across the toolbar points can be verified by capturing the discharge from each point for a known time,” Arora said. “Care should be taken to set up the equipment as close to the field conditions as possible. Aim for as low a variation as possible in the captured discharge so that better distribution is achieved across the toolbar swath.”
Kapil Arora is an agricultural and biosystems engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Daniel Andersen is an agricultural and biosystems engineer, also with ISU Extension.
March 15, 2017, Olympia, WA — An engineer told Washington lawmakers March 14 that public funding would spur technology to distill cow manure into dry fertilizer and clean water, making polluted runoff from dairies a problem of the past.
March 13, 2017 – Steve Eickert, of Andover, Iowa, is planning ahead to ensure safety for employees, pumping contractors and himself a few weeks from now when work gets underway to transfer and apply 1.2 million gallons of manure stored in the pit under his cattle confinement building.
Eickert is among several livestock feeders and commercial applicators working together to improve safety and increase awareness of deadly hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas released during manure handling. READ MORE
March 9, 2017 – Dane County Executive Joe Parisi recently announced a new program to help clean up area lakes by assisting small and medium sized farms store manure in the winter.
About $1.1 million will be available this spring for farmers to apply to help build community manure storage which will reduce the application of manure during critical times of the year when runoff is most likely to occur. Dane County and its partners spend more than $8 million a year to support the implementation of conservation practices.
“Our farmers are our best partners when it comes to lakes clean-up efforts,” said Parisi. “The county is working to do our part to ensure we preserve our agriculture heritage while protecting one of our most valuable resources.”
University of Wisconsin scientists estimate that 40 percent of manure containing phosphorus runs off snow or frozen ground between January and March and ends up in the lakes. Funds will be allocated using two methods: traditional cost share agreements and requests for proposals. The traditional Dane County cost share will fund a cost share for community manure storage. The request for proposal will allow producers to submit project proposals describing innovative ideas and strategies for managing manure such as ultrafiltration or composting.
Proposals are due to Dane County early this summer, county staff will work with the top ranked proposals to develop full proposals. Projects that rank the highest will be contacted by Dane County to develop funding agreements for project implementation.
“Our quality of life is one of the main reasons people are moving to Dane County more than anywhere else in Wisconsin,” said Parisi. “We have everything from generational family farms to bustling cities and beautiful lakes. Dane County must work to protect all of our vital resources to continue our economic growth.”
In addition to this effort, Dane County is working to remove phosphorous already in streams that feed into lakes. Research done by Dane County staff led to a 2017 budget proposal to fund an innovative effort to remove phosphorus-laden sediment from the bottoms of 33 miles of streams in the Lake Mendota watershed. In tandem with additional conservation efforts done in cooperation with farmers, it’s projected the $12 million initiative will eliminate 870,000 pounds of algae-growing phosphorus.
The county board’s Land Conservation Committee will need to approve the program and contracts.
February 15, 2017, Rhodesdale, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder recently toured the Murphy family’s Double Trouble Farm – the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that converts poultry litter to energy.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture awarded a $970,000 animal waste technology grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. (BHSL) for the manure-to-energy project and an additional $139,000 to monitor its operation for one year.
“I am proud to recognize the Murphy family for bringing this innovative technology to Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “I commend the Murphy’s and the entire Double Trouble Farm team for leading the way for farmers to improve water quality, increase energy independence, and improve animal waste management to ensure the sustainability of animal agriculture in our state.”
Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides seed funding to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies to manage or repurpose manure resources. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. To date, the program has approved $3.7 million in grants to six projects.
“Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc, with the support of Mountaire, has adapted innovative manure management technology to benefit the poultry industry and the Murphy family’s farm. The system utilizes poultry litter as a feedstock by converting it to energy to heat the farm’s chicken houses and generate electricity,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “A great deal of credit goes to the Murphy family for taking the time and risk involved in being the test case for a promising new way of doing business.”
This project has the following benefits:
- Reduced environmental impact: A reduction in the potential environmental impact of manure resources
- Lower energy costs: A reduction in energy costs through using heat from the manure as a source for heating poultry houses
- Improved animal welfare: Improved animal welfare, with improved health and reduced risk of diseases
- Improved performance: Faster growth – poultry reaching target weight more quickly
- Additional revenue: Potential expansion of revenue streams – earnings from the sale of excess electricity and a fertilizer by-product
“I am excited that a unique piece of technology designed in Ireland is going to transform U.S. poultry production and play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the industry on the Chesapeake Bay,” said Denis Brosnan, chairman of Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. “I hope this pilot project is the start of a broader initiative to turn poultry manure from a potential pollutant into a valuable source of energy.”
Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. will use electricity generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating two of four poultry houses during the demonstration period. The system is projected to generate 526 megawatts of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health. These benefits will enhance potential profit margins, reduce payback period for the technology, and improve the likelihood of transferability to other poultry operations. The Murphys are working with BHSL to explore markets for the high-phosphorus ash by-product including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90 percent of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses.
“Mountaire is excited about the potential that new alternative use technologies for litter bring to the poultry industry,” said Bill Massey, Mountaire director of housing and feed milling. “We will continue to work with the Murphys, MDA and BHSL on this manure to energy project. Our company and our industry continue to look for solutions to be good environmental stewards.”
February 20, 2017, Champaign, IL – A University of Illinois agriculture professor believes technology is changing the way farmers view manure.
Professor Richard Gates not only runs the “Manure Central Program" — sort of an online market for the manure trade — but offers mobile phone applications for farmers to manage their manure inventory, as well. READ MORE
February 8, 2017, Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture is offering cost share grants to help farmers cover the cost of injecting manure and other eligible organic nutrients into cropland, which lowers potential for nutrient runoff and reduces on-farm odors.
Although manure injection is no longer required by Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations, the department is promoting the practice to help farmers improve nutrient efficiencies. Cost share funding is only available for manure injection; manure incorporation is no longer being cost shared.
Cost share assistance is available to hire custom operators, rent or lease equipment, or offset operating costs associated with using equipment needed to inject manure into the soil. Cost share rates for manure injection are $55 per acre. While manure transportation costs are not covered by this program, eligible farms may participate in the department’s Manure Transportation Program.
Grants for manure injection are administered by the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost Share (MACS) Program. Applicants must be in good standing with the program to participate and in compliance with Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations. All work must be completed by July 1, and all claims for payment received by July 30. Other restrictions apply.
Farmers should visit their local soil conservation district office as soon as possible to apply.
Applications will be accepted until all funds are fully committed. For more information, contact the Maryland Department of Agriculture at 410-841-5864.
February 3, 2017 – Kuhn North America, Inc. is looking for customers and dealers to submit high-quality photos of their Kuhn branded equipment to be featured in an upcoming calendar.
Up to 15 entries will be selected as winners at the discretion of the Kuhn North America marketing department. Winning entries will be announced the week of July 3, 2017. Winning contestants will each receive a calendar featuring their winning photo and a $75 gifts and gear promotional gift certificate. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries.
To view the full contest rules, please visit the following website: http://www.kuhnnorthamerica.com/us/news-kuhn-calendar-photo-contest.html.
February 2, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN – Midwestern BioAg, a Wisconsin-based company, recently unveiled a new manufacturing process that transforms dairy manure into a uniform, dry fertilizer granule that can be efficiently stored, transported and spread.
Referred to as TerraNu Nutrient Technology, the process infuses essential crop nutrients into a manure base to give more farms access to the biological benefits of manure. Products made through this process offer precision application – each granule has the same guaranteed analysis, allowing for even in-field distribution.
The fertilizers will deliver a full suite of crop nutrients, including micronutrients. The base material is made primarily of decomposed microbes from the digested manure. This biological matter is food for living soil microbes when the product is used as fertilizer; it draws nutrients into the soil life food chain, helping make them more plant available.
"This helps close a nutrient gap in farming," said Anthony Michaels, CEO of Midwestern BioAg. "A typical farm once had both crops and livestock. Today, with necessary specialization, there is a disconnect. The crops are in one place, the cows in another, and many farms miss out on the benefits of manure. We can fix that."
The new manufacturing facility is located at Indiana-based Fair Oaks Farms, a collection of 12 dairies with herds totaling 36,000 milking cows. Midwestern BioAg committed to the location largely because of the farms' prior investments to maximize nutrient use and reduce environmental impacts.
"This is how it should work," said Mike McCloskey, co-founder of Fair Oaks Farms. "We don't like seeing anything go to waste. Our manure powers parts of the farm, runs a fleet of trucks and feeds many of our own crops. Now, it can provide essential nutrients for other farms. Midwestern BioAg is building on our earlier work."
The technology can help address nutrient loading challenges faced by some dairies. Because it is cumbersome and expensive to transport, cow manure rarely travels more than 10 miles from dairies. This can lead to over-application and associated water quality problems. TerraNu Nutrient Technology facilitates transfer of excess nutrients to distant farms, thereby reducing impacts to local water supplies.
Production is expected to begin in March. Three products will be available this spring: TerraNu MicroPack, TerraNu Calcium and TerraNu Ignite.
January 30, 2017 – An environmental quality engineer at South Dakota State University says a combination of strategies can be used to successfully address the odor emitted from swine operations.
Odor mitigation strategies will be among the topics discussed as part of the 2017 Manitoba Swine Seminar Feb. 2 and 3 in Winnipeg, Man.
Dr. Erin Cortus, an environmental quality engineer at South Dakota State University, says in and around the area in which she works odor has become a predominant issue when it comes to citing new facilities.
“When it comes to reducing odor, one of the first places to look is at the manure,” says Dr. Cortus.
“Are there ways to alter what’s in the manure, whether that’s through maybe changing the diet so that we reduce excess nutrients going into the manure or trying to cover that manure as much as we can. Once there is odor or gasses released, can we block it, can we filter it before it leaves?”
“There are some strategies to do that. One of the strategies that we employ with South Dakota State University on some of our farms is biofilters. The air that’s exhausted from mechanically ventilated barns is passed through a bed of wood chips that supports a microbial biomass.”
“That microbial biomass consumes some of the odors and gasses in the air that’s exhausted from the barns so it's a form of filtration but them also this biological activity reduces odor and gasses,” she adds. “That's one strategy that we've had success with. Then we also can look at how can we enhance the dispersion or the mixing of the air that leaves the farm so that the concentration is decreased down wind of the facility.”
“Anything we can do to enhance that mixing of the air, pushing that air up higher into the atmosphere where it’s faster and more turbulent or some sort of filtration down wind through shelterbelts are a common example of how we can approach that.”
Dr. Cortus says odor has always been an issue but, with some large facilities in particular and with new facilities where there hasn't been as much concentrated livestock, odor has become a hot issue.
January 30, 2017 – Liquid manure applications from livestock operations in Iowa typically happen in spring and fall each year as a method of supplying nutrients to the crop grown subsequently. The majority of liquid manure application takes place using a tank or a dragline applicator.
It is important to ensure that the nutrients for use by the crops are not being applied excessively or scarcely. Variations in tank capacities, manure densities and presence of foam can all cause the application rate to be different from the target number. READ MORE
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Iowa Manure Calibration & Distribution Field DayFri Jun 02, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM
World Pork Expo 2017Wed Jun 07, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Manure Storage & Handling Safety WorkshopMon Jun 12, 2017 @ 6:00PM - 09:00PM
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training CourseTue Jun 13, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
AgSource Laboratories Ice Cream SocialWed Jun 14, 2017 @ 2:00PM - 04:00PM
Iowa Manure Calibration & Distribution Field DayFri Jun 23, 2017 @ 1:00PM - 05:00PM