Does your manure storage lagoon seem to fill up faster than it used to? In a recent C.O.R.N. Newsletter produced by Ohio State University Extension, Aaron Wilson, Glen Arnold, and Jason Hartschuh addressed reasons why manure storages reach capacity sooner as they age.
One cause is a trend toward more precipitation in certain areas of the country. In Ohio, for example, annual precipitation has risen 1.35 inches per decade since 1960. That equates to an extra 27,154 gallons of water per acre of surface area entering the lagoon each year.
Another challenge is that lagoons collect more sediments over time. This is especially true for dairy operations using sand as bedding. There are options for completely removing these solids, but this is not a small job to undertake.
Lastly, many farms grow over time and may be housing more animals than they were when the storage structure was initially built. Estimates for how much manure is produced by different species are listed in the table.
If more storage space is needed, the authors provided a few options:
Consider expanding the current lagoon or digging an additional one. Before doing this, review any necessary permits and connect with local soil and water conservation offices for help with engineering and possible funding.
A satellite pond close to some crop land is another way to add storage. This could save travel time when hauling manure and improve efficiencies when weather conditions allow manure application.
Reach out to livestock facilities that are no longer in operation but still have manure storage. Work out an agreement with that farm owner; an example may be that the livestock owner gives the manure away and pays to haul it to the storage structure, while the structure owner pays the field application cost.
This article appeared in the May 2020 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 9.
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