Submitted to: Recycling of Agricultural Municipal and Industrial Residues
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2008
Publication Date: 6/11/2008
Citation: Vanotti, M.B., Szogi, A.A., Loughrin, J.H., Millner, P.D. 2008. Improvements in animal productivity and health with a total aerobic manure management system. p. 250-254. In: Proceedings of Recycling of Agricultural Municipal and Industrial Residues (RAMIRAN) 13th International Conference, June 2008, Albena, Bulgaria. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of improved manure management using second generation technology on air and water quality and the beneficial effect of a cleaner environment on animal productivity and health. The technology is a lower cost, second generation treatment system developed as an alternative to the lagoon/spray field system typically used to treat the wastewater generated by swine farms in the USA. The aerobic system combines solid-liquid separation, biological ammonia treatment, phosphorus recovery and compost of manure with cotton gin residue.This combination of processes substantially eliminates release into the environment of odors, pathogens, ammonia, greenhouse gases and heavy metals. It also produces a deodorized and disinfected liquid effluent used for flushing the barns and for crop irrigation, and value-added organic products for use in horticultural markets. The system was demonstrated full-scale in 2007 in a 5,150-head finishing swine operation in North Carolina under steady-state conditions. It removed 97.7% of the total suspended solids, 99.6% of BOD, 96.1% of TKN, 97.3% of ammonia, 94.0% of total phosphorus, 99.3% of copper, 99.2% of zinc, 99.9% of the odor compounds, and 99.99% of pathogens. Compared to the traditional lagoon system, ammonia concentration in the exhaust air from the barns was reduced 75% with the use of the new treatment system. In turn, the improved housing environment enhanced animal health and productivity: mortality decreased 57%, daily weight gain increased 11%, and feed conversion improved 5.4% compared to the traditional lagoon management. As a result of this research, new legislation was enacted in North Carolina to promote the conversion of farms to cleaner technologies. These results overall show that cleaner alternative technologies can have significant positive impacts on livestock production and the environment.