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Utilization of Multi-Species Livestock Manure for Composting

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  024233,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9178) @2002
Authors:   Trent Strahm, Daniel Frohberg, James P. Murphy, Joseph P. Harner
Keywords:   Sand-laden manure, manure composting, nutrient management

The composting project began as a means to export nutrients from a farm with limited land area. Extended land application of manure is contributing to phosphorus build-up in soils on the farm, which includes approximately 2700 animal units. The composting project utilizes manure from three species - dairy, beef, and swine. Nutrient management is the primary focus, but it is also a feasibility study to determine if individual producers could use common equipment for rapid composting of livestock manure. Each compost row is started with a layer of the carbon source (straw or silage), and then the sandladen dairy manure is spread on top with a rear discharge box spreader. After the surface of the manure has dried, a field chisel on the 3-point hitch of a tractor mixes the manure with carbon sources. Additional manure, straw, or refuse feed is added as needed. When several of these smaller rows are sufficiently dried and contain the desired C:N ratio, they are combined and stacked in a larger windrow. Liquid swine waste is added with a tank wagon when the windrows need additional moisture. Due to the volume of manure and size of windrows, a PTO-powered windrow turner is used to mix and aerate the windrows. Temperature measurements are taken twice weekly in the core of the windrow to monitor composting. Temperatures are consistently between 130 and 145 EF. The finished product is used as a soil amendment in flowerbeds and gardening plots.

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