Manure Management System
Beef cattle manure can be handled as a solid, semi-solid or a liquid. The bedding used in loafing sheds will form a manure pack with the manure incorporated into the bedding material. Common bedding materials include, straw, sand, wood shaving, sawdust, recycled newspaper print, and chopped corn stalks. Generally, the manure pack is removed once or twice a year and spread onto cropland or pastureland for use as a fertilizer resource. Solid manure scraped from open lots is usually applied to cropland after removal, or stockpiled in a solid manure storage facility near the feedlot. Solid manure storage is generally in a structure with a paved floor and walls on three sides to allow the material to be stacked. In humid areas, manure storage may need to be covered to keep the manure drier. Solid manure is surface applied to cropland with a box-type manure spreader or a flail-type manure spreader. Clean up-slope runoff water and roof water should be diverted around the manure storage to minimize the amount of storage needed.
Manure in a liquid or semi-solid form (slurry) is generally stored for at least 180 days before removal and application to cropland or pastureland. Depending on the site, pumps, transfer pipes or channels may be required to move the manure from the animal housing areas to storage. Semi-solid manure is stored in either above ground concrete or steel tanks or below ground earthen or concrete tanks. Liquid manure may be stored in formed tanks, earthen storage, or in earthen lagoons that can consist of one cell or more cells. Lagoons provide treatment of the manure (by anaerobic, aerobic or a combination of aerobic and anaerobic processes) as well as storage. Composting is another option for solid manure management.
Runoff from open cattle lots must be controlled, especially during heavy rainfall events. Runoff control systems include settling basins (to remove manure solids) in combination with earthen detention ponds; transfer of runoff into a lagoon system; or for small feedlots, a settling basin in combination with grass infiltration areas.Equipment to transfer and apply manure to cropland includes tanker wagons and trucks that can spread manure on the surface or inject it directly beneath the soil surface or irrigation systems with stationary or moving delivery systems. Very dilute liquids can often be applied with irrigation systems.
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