Alexander Lumber | Champaign, IL

Investments in Animal Waste Storage Often Overlooked

Jeremy Haas, PE | with 0 Comments

Investments in Animal Waste Storage Often Overlooked

Manure storage is one dairy facility investment that’s often overlooked. Proper storage is important to protect the environment as well as to preserve the nutrient value of the manure. Designing the proper storage structure for your facility can be challenging, but a little planning will go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your investment.
Three important considerations when planning your manure storage upgrade include:
  1. Bedding types.  The type of bedding you use can limit your options in terms of storage design.  Although the gold standard for cow comfort, sand bedding is most cost prohibitive. Sand bedding requires mechanical access to the structure to agitate and remove settled solids. Green bedding alternatives can also impact your storage design options.
  2. Future Expansion.  What are your expansion plans? Projecting the total number of animal units for your site can help you forecast storage needs.  Be sure to include bedding volumes, young stock, and parlor wash water in your calculations. It may be more cost-effective to “bite the proverbial bullet” and oversize the storage structure.  Many producers are opting to construct facility storage for 365 days. This allows for expansion for many years, or even decades, to come.
  3. Site restrictions. Several factors can impact the placement of the manure structure. Setbacks from bodies of water, soil type, access to the storage facility, and how you plan to get manure into and out of the structure are just a few to consider.
As with any project, clear communication with the expansion team – which often includes a planner, engineer and builder – is imperative to make sure the final design and constructed facility meet the producer’s expectations. Don’t plan for today, plan for 15 to 20 years from now. Today’s regulations require a 6-month waste storage facility, but the cost of increasing a design’s capacity to 12-month storage is comparatively marginal. Think ahead and be proactive in your facility planning to save time and resources in the future.
Jeremy knows that investing in manure storage is important. He recently upgraded the manure storage on his own dairy farm. For more information on manure management, expansion planning or construction management, contact MSA’s Jeremy Haas.

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