Economics and science of hog manure handling and storage technologies
Hog production has been growing rapidly in Canada and this growth has created concerns over manure handling and the risk of soil and water contamination. There is limited information available to swine producers as to which technologies and manure management systems would best serve them both economically and environmentally. The objective of this study is to assess hog manure handling and storage systems and outline their environmental advantages and disadvantages. Five main technologies are reviewed which include (1) manure handling, (2) solid/liquid separation, (3) composting, (4) land application, and (5) manure storage. The average cost of hauling liquid manure within 2-3 mile distance is about $0.0125. If the total cost of hauling liquid manure is charged against its nutrients value, the producer cannot afford to haul much more than 2 to 3 miles; therefore, there is a restriction on the distance that manure can economically be moved and the availability of suitable land for manure application becomes a concern. Because of this restriction, manure treatment and the technologies for manure management such as solid/liquid separation or composting become attractive technologies to consider both economically and environmentally. Liquid/solid separation is a step in a complete manure treatment system and it has been utilized to reduce odour and manage phosphorus. There are different technologies available for solid/liquid separation which cost anywhere from $1.22 to $5.38 per pig marketed. Composting could also be utilized in swine manure management but because of high moisture contents, a high carbon source or bulking agent is required. Composting itself could costs anywhere from $4.85 to $13.49 per tonne of raw manure composted depending on type of composting technologies used. Manure storage is also part of integrated manure management system which comes in three main forms: earthen, concrete, and steel. Earthen manure storage systems are the most prominent manure storage systems in Western Canada. The capital cost for earthen manure range from $0.0039 to $0.0953 per gallon depending on availability of equipment and materials and additional costs may also required for adding a liner of clay. Other types of storage system generally cost higher but they might be more environmentally friendly. Operation and maintenance costs of manure storage is mainly limited with seasonal labor for agitation the waste, removal of sludge, and performing pump outs.
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