How to turn manure from a cost into an asset
As you know, manure is full of fertilizing nutrients. But handling manure is difficult: how do you reduce the negative impact of manure while increasing its positive effects?
Is your manure solid, semi-solid or slurry?
Some see manure as a cost. But with good manure management, manure can actually help you boost the overall profitability of your farm. Manure handling can cut the costs in the following ways:
- a clean barn reduces hoof problems and vet costs
- if udders are clean, you decrease pre-milking preparation time and can increase throughput
- cleaner cows also mean lower cell counts and better quality milk
- reducing emissions is good for you and your cows, but also for the soil and water supply.
Do you use sand for bedding, or straw?
But how do you get the balance right between the negative and positive effects of manure? In other words: how do you ensure sustainability and profitability?
What do your cows eat?
There are many variables to take into consideration.
On the other side of the equation are questions such as: type of soil, temperature, amount of rain and crop nutrient uptake.
What kind of housing do you have?
The website milkproduction.com provides a wealth of answers. Here you can find practical advice about reducing on-farm ammonia loss. Or read an article with tips on dealing with EPA regulations. If you are looking for a comprehensive treatment of the subject, the FAO provides an in-depth examination.