Monday, May 26, 2014

This is when it hits the fan.

One of the implements I purchased at the last farm auction was a manure lagoon agitator.  It's basically a big propellor at the end of a 30' shaft, and it's used to create a current and stir up the manure lagoon prior to pumping it out.

Stirring both aerates the manure and makes sure that some of the solids are suspended in the water, allowing them to be pumped out along with the water.  Getting it good and mixed up takes a few hours, so i park the tractor at the edge of the lagoon, set the throttle and check on it every couple of hours.

Once it's good and stirred, I'll use a 4" pump to move the slurry to a hose reel, which has a big sprayer attached to it.  You wind out the sprayer and it gets slowly drawn back to the reel, spraying all the way back.  that allows you to cover 500 or 1000' of ground per deployment of the sprayer, about 200' wide.

I've got roughly 3 million gallons in this lagoon, I'll probably be pumping out of it off and on all summer.  The goal is to have it pretty much dry when september rolls around.  Any solids left I'll scrape out, and then the lagoon is ready for the winter rainy season.

The whole idea behind this is to contain the manure generated on the farm during those times when plants can't take advantage of it.  So during the winter, when things aren't growing, you're storing all of the manure generated on the farm.  In the spring and summer, you disperse that manure onto your fields, where the plants utilize it as fertilizer, and the cycle repeats.

The end result?  there's no discharge of any kind off of the farm at any time during the year.  In the growing season, plants use the manure and water.  In the winter it's contained.

all of the barns, and all of the aprons around the barns, are graded so that water flows from everywhere to a central low spot, where there's a big manure tank.  It's then pumped from there into the manure lagoon.

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