Manure Manager

Manure Manager
Economically Sustainable

Economically Sustainable

By 2030, it’s estimated that there will be more than eight billion people on Earth (United Nations 2011).

Farmer named 2015 MSU Dairy Farmer of the Year

Farmer named 2015 MSU Dairy Farmer of the Year

Mike Rasmussen of Edmore, Mich., is the Michigan State University Department of Animal Science‘s 2015 Dairy Farmer of the Year.

Nutrients with staying power

Nutrients with staying power

The fields may be frozen at this time of year, but researchers remain hard at work studying how to minimize nutrient losses off fields in the non-growing season

Leveraging Litter

Leveraging Litter

Some farmers buy chicken litter for their fields to avoid using commercial fertilizers. The Glasers took it one step further.

Millennium in Maryland

Millennium in Maryland

Maryland is getting serious about controlling the amount of poultry-derived nutrients seeping into Chesapeake Bay, and poultry producer Millennium Farms is developing a manure processing technology that, if economical, could make a significant dent in controlling this problem.

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Honey Bee AirFLEX...
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North American Manure Expo comes to Canada...
For the first time ever, the North American Manure Expo is being hosted within a Canadian province. The annual show is being held August 20 and 21, 2013, at the University of Guelph’s Arkell Research Station, located near Guelph, Ontario. So, what's a Manure Expo and why should you attend? This video will provide all the dirt.
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Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
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The population explosion...
With the world's population increasing exponentially and farmland staying the same, BASF took to the streets to ask consumers if this trend is sustainable.

Equipment

Jack Van Ham (left) and his son, Jerry Van Ham, broiler producers in Oxford County, Ontario, became the first poultry farmers in Ontario to install an air-air heat exchanger developed in the Netherlands specifically for the poultry industry. New poultry barn ventilation system

  An innovative minimum ventilation system for poultry barns is improving bird health and reducing energy costs for farmers in the process. And it comes with some environmental benefits too – lower ammonia levels and better dust control. In 2013, Jack Van Ham and his son, Jerry, were able to secure cost-share funding from the Implementation Funding Assistance Program under Growing Forward 2 (GF2) to become the first poultry farmers in Ontario to install an air-air heat exchanger developed in the Netherlands specifically for the poultry industry. The Van Hams are based in Oxford County, Ontario, where they have two farms with identical broiler barns built between 1999 and 2003, and grow 2.3 kg birds in an eight-week cycle. “We knew this technology was available in the Netherlands, where farmers can recoup heat from dry manure in layer barns, and they are seeing overall savings of about 50 per cent in energy costs,” says Jack Van Ham. The system evolved out of a European Union regulation that restricted ammonia output from poultry barns. It uses the energy of the warm air from the barn to heat the cold, fresh air coming in from the outside, replacing the propane or natural gas farmers traditionally use to heat poultry barns, and reducing on-farm energy costs. Warm air from the barn enters the heat exchanger, passing through tubes where the cold outside air absorbs the heat before being circulated into the barn. A computerized control system manages airflow and fan speeds, adjusting for fluctuating outside temperatures according to the season. The bigger the differential between inside and outside temperature, the more heat the system will recoup, says Jack. The minimum ventilation system improves the air circulation to rid barns of humidity, allowing manure to dry more quickly. This minimizes ammonia production and reduces its output into the environment from the barn by fans. The drier inside air also means a better environment for both barn workers and the birds, with the Van Hams, for example, noticing fewer foot lesions due to better quality litter and improved overall bird health. This has meant a reduction in health-related expenses on the farm. The Van Hams made some changes to their systems to adapt them to the Canadian environment, such as switching the electrical work to Canadian standards, and adjusting the computer software to account for Canada’s winter temperatures, which are much colder than they are in the Netherlands. Due to its unique status of being the first of its kind in Ontario, the project qualified for additional funding under GF2’s innovation designation. “We might not have done this project without the grant as it’s a big investment,” admits Jerry Van Ham, but adds that it has yielded a lot of environmental benefit, as well as decreasing their natural gas costs. “The air quality is tremendous. We saved a lot on energy last winter, but the air quality for the chickens has really improved,” adds Jack, explaining that although the system has raised their electricity costs, the natural gas savings more than make up for that increase. Industry interest in the system has been high, and the Van Hams are no longer the only farmers in Ontario using the technology. They’ve shared what they’ve learned with poultry specialists from the University of Guelph and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), as well as with fellow producers. “This system would be especially ideal for barns with birds in them all year long, like broiler breeders, as it can be hard to get the dampness out,” says Jack. GF2 is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative aimed at encouraging innovation, competitiveness, market development, adaptability, and industry capacity in Canada’s agri-food and agri-products sector. Lilian Schaer is a writer for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.