Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Managing Cow Poop

The average dairy cow produces 100 pounds of poop, or manure, each day. The majority of which is water. Managing manure is an important part of our dairy operation. 

Cows poop and pee in the barn’s where they live, in the alley’s where they walk and in the milking parlor. Manure is collected, via washing or scraping, into storage ponds commonly referred to as manure lagoons. 

Agitating the manure lagoon in preparation of hauling manure
Manure is pumped into the tank spreader
Manure is applied to a field where corn was recently harvested
We have two manure lagoons. Both were designed by an engineer and built by construction professionals. There are strict guidelines regarding the design and construction of manure lagoons to insure groundwater and water wells are safe from contamination. One of our lagoons is lined with concrete and the other is lined with clay.

Manure is stored in our lagoons until it’s time to apply it on the fields. The majority of manure is land applied in the spring, before planting crops, and fall, after the crops are harvested. If you live in a rural area, the term “spring is in the air” takes on a whole new meaning!

When it’s time to apply manure, the lagoon is agitated and the liquid manure is pumped into our 7,300 gallon tank spreader. Then it’s transported to the field where it is land applied.

Manure provides valuable micronutrients and organic matter to improve the soil. It also increases infiltration of water and enhances retention of nutrients, reduces wind and water erosion, and promotes growth of beneficial organisms. Because cow manure contains several essential plant nutrients, it’s a valuable source of fertilizer which enables us to use little or no commercial fertilizer to grow our crops.

The Hastings Dairy YouTube channel features a Hauling Manure video of my husband, Lad, and our son, Jack applying manure.

Check out this great YouTube video featuring Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy in Alabama singing about “Water and Poo.

1 comment:

  1. We're spreading right now and you're right.....such a lovely time of year! This is also the time of year the flies are out and about and flying really slow....can't wait for that first frost:) Have a great day Brenda!

    ReplyDelete

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