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Thread: What slurry is best?

  1. #1
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    What slurry is best?

    Hello All,

    We are looking into what to do with our beef slurry, we have no use for it other than an exchange for straw, we'd like to try and improve the value of our slurry to 'sell' it a little better. I have a few questions that you may or may not be able to answer, but as ever any advice is greatly appreciated.

    1) What do people want from slurry?
    2) Would it be better separated into a dry portion and spread or left as slurry and injected?
    3) If we were to improve the nutritional value of our slurry would you be willing to offer something in return or is it unlikely?
    4) Would we get a better deal if we offered to spread/inject it?

    Thanks in advance.
    Dan

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    Senior Member T P's Avatar
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    Re: What slurry is best?

    First and foremost I'd want to be sure it wasn't full of weed seed. Docks are particularly good travellers in slurry. in my view unless it's FOC next door fertiliser works out cheaper. Carting slurry is hard on fuel and tyres hitches etc. Offering to cart and spread it sounds good to me bound to be worth a lot of straw in return. Arable land that hasn't seen much fym etc should respond well to a good coat ploughed in but not in wet weather.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Well our slurry would be as seed free as possible, animals would be housed inside year round and fed on cake, and the slurry itself is kept in a sealed system.

    Thanks for the input, if it were up to you would you rather see the slurry as slurry or would you prefer the separated dry matter?

    ...any thoughts on that?

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    Senior Member T P's Avatar
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    Re: What slurry is best?

    I suppose given the option the separated dry matter sounds the most attractive as there would be less run off risk etc. Not much of that sort of thing goes on in my area but it sounds good in principle and would save carting water. A lot of people would want to be sure there were no by products from Anaerobic digesters or composting involved as that could have implications for their produce so any potential customer would be if they are wise want to tour your facilities and check what you are up to. I think some grain contracts have exclusions for digester waste. As an aside I notice there's been enough "green waste" spread on some areas of land now that it has been rendered undetectable for the metal detector hobbyist. Any potential receiver of the slurry or separated solids would need to be sure that you are not involved in anaerobic digestion or spreading composted waste on your or their land due to the potential contamination issues. Some farmers are making a tidy sum these days from hosting metal detecting days on their land hence the green waste problem for them with heavy metals and tin foil etc.

    http://bangreenwaste.blogspot.co.uk/

    These guys do roughly an event every month and are paying the landowner or their designated charity a fair bit of cash at approx. 20 head to book a place.

    http://www.leisure-promotions.co.uk/events-13-c.asp

    If you are talking straightforward animal waste without any digestate or compost green waste not an issue.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Wow, thanks for that. That's all terrific information. We had thought about AD, but we planned for slurry and silage as the only inputs. No green waste, but not terribly economical either.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Few arable farmers will pay you for the slurry at present, the economics of arable farming are under some strain.

    The only advantage of separated slurry is that you have less liquid to deal with, and the solids can be carted further and stacked in field heaps. If you already have enough capacity in storage, and no distance to travel, it is probably cheaper and less hassle to just to deal with the one product.

    Arable farmers should recognise the value of the P & K in slurry as well as the nitrogen content, but in my experience with farmers, anything that is free is rarely valued.

    I have a number of customers who for various reasons are either importing or exporting manures or slurries, some will pay for the privilege (in the case of chicken muck), others involve no payment at all (pig slurry) and another pays only for the cost of tanking and applying the product (digestate). In all cases it is working well for all parties, particularly in terms of the substantial P and K and nitrogen savings, plus it helps the other party with sensible (and legal in this increasingly regulated world!) deployment of nutrients.

    I am not sure how muck for straw works in practice, the more you are willing to do for the man taking the slurry/manure the more favourable it will be for him.

    Docks and the usual grassland weeds are of utterly no consequence in many arable crops and can be wiped out quicker than winking for very low cost, certainly nothing that will offset the huge savings that an arable farmer will make over time in reduced nutrient inputs and much happier crops generally.

    In my part of the world we are regularly growing wheat and hitting 4 tonne/acre with not much more than half the applied nitrogen RB209 states and with zero P and K applied. One grower has over 150 acres of grain maize in the ground, all done with nothing more than digestate and 50kg/acre of starter fertiliser down the spout. Still doesn't stop him getting 5t/acre when the combine rolls through it.

    The real bugbear can be blackgrass being transferred in a product, one colleague of mine is convinced the stuff is moving around in digestate but I have not seen this personally. Of far greater consequence is the contents of imported straw, often hauled many miles across the country, ready to unload a deadly payload of brome, wild oats or blackgrass or all 3.

    I believe good manures and slurries offer better value than bagged replacements myself. One customer has purchased his own tanker because he believes his neighbours pig slurry has more than paid for it already. Looking at the vast volumes of grass we now grow on the place, I would be inclined to agree.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    If you are proposing to swop separated solids for straw that would be flexible in that you could cart the solids and stockpile them on the "customers" land or premises at times when weather would not permit spreading slurry. The only snag with that is reloading but most folk have a telehandler these days and it's possible to hire a spreader for reasonable money. About twenty years ago we used to have a large pig farmer cart us pig slurry with two Volvo six wheel lorries in the winter time. Both were legitimately registered as agricultural vehicles running on raspberry. Most of the time it was FOC as he was glad to be rid but as ground conditions improved in spring he would start charging and the price went up to the teens of pounds per load but we cut off at about 5 load (3000 galls) .The lorries were capable of spreading on the land in summer but my father never let them on the land as they were bad for compaction. We mixed the pig slurry with cattle slurry in an open lagoon and the few years we did it undoubtedly improved the fertility of the farm. The open lagoon was roofed over since for a beef unit and now we have enough slurry of our own. Pig industry is gone now anyway, acres of sheds derelict locally. If you need to cart any distance go for separated solids in a 3K secondhand Volvo tipper registered agricultural on red diesel. Maybe even consider a roll on roll off spreader body if you want to get fancy. I see these pictures of eejits with 100k tractors and 30k tankers hauling a load of slurry ten miles that 20 of compound fertiliser would more than replace and I think somebody should have done a maths O level. If you could find the right farm where you were able to offer to help the potential straw supplier out with baling and carting of straw they might not chop it. Solids spread would trump chopped straw any day for improved fertility I would think.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    Few arable farmers will pay you for the slurry at present, the economics of arable farming are under some strain.

    The only advantage of separated slurry is that you have less liquid to deal with, and the solids can be carted further and stacked in field heaps. If you already have enough capacity in storage, and no distance to travel, it is probably cheaper and less hassle to just to deal with the one product.
    We are starting to look into separated solids as this would allow us to recirculate the water portion through our system, so it would be beneficial for us to separate anyway. However the muck for straw is also a huge part of our plan, so we have to try and work out which is most cost effective.

    Do we save money on water or save on straw? That's what I'm trying to decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by T P View Post
    If you could find the right farm where you were able to offer to help the potential straw supplier out with baling and carting of straw they might not chop it. Solids spread would trump chopped straw any day for improved fertility I would think.
    I didn't think about this, I was focusing more on what to do with the slurry and completely ignored the straw. It's food for thought for sure.

    I'm with you in thinking that solid manure would be better than chopped straw, especially if it was treated with an inoculant.

    We are needing a lot of straw, so we are trying to get as much for our slurry as possible.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    The beauty of solids is that they can be hauled out at reasonable cost, and tipped in fields nearly any time of year in nice heaps which can be spread quickly.

    Slurry is heavy, as mentioned above it is harder on kit, and you just can't spread it unless the weather and ground allows it. Of course an umbilical system is a fast and trouble free way of moving the stuff but again this is all distance dependant.

    In your situation, if I am understanding you correctly, since your real goal is to obtain straw, rather than dispose of manure/slurry, then I think your best bet, as iterated by TP, is to buy a baler and tell the host farmer that you will be in the field the second the combine rolls and will bale the straw very rapidly, and get the bales cleared pronto, so he can get on with cultivations etc. You will also come to some arrangement of sorts about getting this manure or slurry spread on in good time. There has to be a balance between you both in terms whether it is a straight swap, you so some of the work etc etc or all of it etc.

    Where the wheels will fall off very quickly is where the arable farmer experiences any of the following:

    *Straw left in swath for days after cutting - subsequent delays to cultivations etc

    *Livestock farmer tanking slurry or spreading dung on host farmers land in wet conditions in an effort to preserve his own land during wet weather

    *String, wrap or other helpful items beginning to appear on his land in received manure

    If any of the above occurs, you will probably find that the economical or effort saving measures of the arrangement shrink drastically in size and instead become a pain in the a$$ for the arable man.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    What are you for doing with the liquid part of separated slurry? Do you have a use for it? Why can't you use all the slurry you produce? Too intensive a system where cattle are treated like pigs and never see fresh grass? What do you do with slurry at minute? What volumes are you talking about?

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulscots View Post
    What are you for doing with the liquid part of separated slurry? Do you have a use for it? Why can't you use all the slurry you produce? Too intensive a system where cattle are treated like pigs and never see fresh grass? What do you do with slurry at minute? What volumes are you talking about?
    The liquid would be recirculated through the slurry collection system in order to keep the building free of slurry.

    It is an intensive system, but we have the health and wellbeing of the animals as our number 1 priority. We are planning to invest heavily in the system to provide the best possible conditions for the animals.

    We anticipate having 10,000m3 of slurry, and at say 10% DM that would be around 1,000m3 (around 600tonnes) of dry portion.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uwork4menow View Post
    The beauty of solids is that they can be hauled out at reasonable cost, and tipped in fields nearly any time of year in nice heaps which can be spread quickly.

    Slurry is heavy, as mentioned above it is harder on kit, and you just can't spread it unless the weather and ground allows it. Of course an umbilical system is a fast and trouble free way of moving the stuff but again this is all distance dependant.

    In your situation, if I am understanding you correctly, since your real goal is to obtain straw, rather than dispose of manure/slurry, then I think your best bet, as iterated by TP, is to buy a baler and tell the host farmer that you will be in the field the second the combine rolls and will bale the straw very rapidly, and get the bales cleared pronto, so he can get on with cultivations etc. You will also come to some arrangement of sorts about getting this manure or slurry spread on in good time. There has to be a balance between you both in terms whether it is a straight swap, you so some of the work etc etc or all of it etc.

    Where the wheels will fall off very quickly is where the arable farmer experiences any of the following:

    *Straw left in swath for days after cutting - subsequent delays to cultivations etc

    *Livestock farmer tanking slurry or spreading dung on host farmers land in wet conditions in an effort to preserve his own land during wet weather

    *String, wrap or other helpful items beginning to appear on his land in received manure

    If any of the above occurs, you will probably find that the economical or effort saving measures of the arrangement shrink drastically in size and instead become a pain in the a$$ for the arable man.
    We plan to have an advanced system that includes a foreign object trap, so there should be no inorganic matter getting through. It is also highly unlikely that anything like that would make it into the slurry anyway due to the nature of the setup of the whole farm.

    If I was to bale and spread and do all the shifting then I'd be expecting a lot of straw in return. It's not out of the question from my point of view.

    We need rid of the muck just as much as we need the straw coming in.

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Where a outs, near Plymouth, are you? DanLarn?

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    Re: What slurry is best?

    Just outside, currently not on farm unfortunately. Why?

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