Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation ResearchTitle: Improved health and productivity of swine with treatment of ammonia from manure
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2019
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Substantial animal production advantages can be realized by improvements in manure management. In this study, the direct linkage between improved manure management and animal productivity and health was documented in a full-scale on-farm demonstration of an innovative swine manure treatment system operating at full-scale during five pig production cycles. Indicators of better productivity and health were healthier pigs, reduced mortality, increased daily gain, improved feed conversion, and substantial economic benefits to the producer. In North Carolina, USA, construction of new swine farms or expansion of existing swine farms require new waste management systems that meet multiple environmental standards of reduced ammonia, odor emissions, and pathogens release, and the substantial elimination of soil and groundwater contamination by nutrients and heavy metals. A treatment system that met these multiple standards was implemented at full-scale in a swine farm. It combined high-rate solid-liquid separation with nitrogen and phosphorus removal/disinfection processes that replaced the existing anaerobic lagoon treatment for the waste. Ammonia concentration in the manure effluent was reduced 96% and pathogens 99.99%. The reuse of cleaner, sanitized water to refill barn pits reduced ammonia concentration in the air and improved the growing environment. Ambient ammonia levels in the barns dropped an average of 75%, from 11.3 to 2.8 ppm. As a result, animal health and productivity were enhanced. Daily weight gain increased 6.1%, and feed conversion improved 5.1%. Animal mortality decreased 47%, and cull weight was reduced 80%. The farmer sold an average of 5,265 pigs per growing cycle, which resulted in a 516,300-kg net gain per cycle. During five production cycles, the farmer sold 28,100 kg more hogs (a 5.8% increase) per growing cycle compared to the previous lagoon management at the same farm.