On October 5, research into manure separation at the source started on Dairy Campus. Three systems that can be used in existing stables are compared with a conventional free stall barn with slatted floor.
The reason for separating manure quickly is to limit ammonia and greenhouse gas emissions. We measure this in the barn, but it must be prevented that subsequent emissions occur during storage of the separated and removed manure fractions.
That is why emission measurements are also made for various treatments during
the storage of urine, faeces and slurry.
Principles of manure separation
The best manure separator is the cow itself. The closer the collection of faeces and urine to the source, the better the separation. The cow toilet collects the urine under the cow's tail. The first weeks are exciting to see how quickly cows get used to this.
A good separation is expected from the permeable tiled floor (ZeraFlex) that is placed on the grids, because the urine is drained directly into the basement below.
A renewed rubber floor with a gutter and holes provides
separation on the floor. Instead of on the grid floor, a permeable manure belt
under the grids is also possible to separate urine and faeces. This has not
been given priority in these trials. Separation under the slats is used in calf
and pig farming, with a well-permeable slat.
It is important for dairy farmers that barn modifications fit into a total farm system. In addition to limiting emissions in the barn and during storage, manure quality in connection with the application technique and the walkability of floors in relation to animal welfare are also important. For some dairy farmers it is a challenge to use urine as a fertilizer substitute. For other farmers, the type of fertilizer plays an important role in relation to nature management or the sale of fertilizer fractions to arable farming.
Phasing and financing
This project started in 2019 with an inventory of manure separation techniques at the source. The most promising ones will be investigated in phase 2 in the coming year (years). The research is funded by ZuivelNL and the Ministry of LNV. Floor suppliers provide their system.