£3000 saving on nitrogen costs!

Building a new slurry lagoon for long-term storage of slurry from their 150 cow dairy herd, to comply with NVZ regulations, has prompted Vale of York farmer Alan Hill and his sons Darren and Jason to take action to make sure they get the most out of the system. Slurry is pumped from an above ground store to the new lagoon, and thick crust and sediment formation could inhibit easy transfer. Since the slurry is injected, a homogenous liquid consistency with minimal need for stirring is also desirable.

With 200 acres of cereals and 45 acres of maize on the 400 acre holding, fertiliser costs are a major consideration, so the Hills were keen to try Digest-it®, a new biological slurry treatment, when they heard about it from Michael Carpenter, Northern Area Sales Manager for Kelvin Cave Ltd.

Added to the store on a weekly basis, the Hills can see working as its aerobic bacteria break down the crust and produce bubbling activity on the surface of the store. Plant-available potash and phosphates are released from the solids and the ammonia in the slurry is converted into organic nitrogen. This composting process reduces, and sometimes eliminates, crust formation, minimising the requirement for stirring the lagoon, and making the slurry easier to pump, thus saving fuel. Because increased aerobic microbial activity in the store reduces the levels of the putrefying toxic anaerobic bugs, slurry is converted from a smelly waste to a valuable source of nutrients which support soil fertility and health.  Alan has also noticed a significant reduction in smell from the slurry.

“Improvements in the plant nutrient analysis of the slurry have lead to a 25% reduction in purchased fertiliser quantities,” Alan reports, “and it looks as though we will be able to knock about £3000 off the annual bill for injected liquid nitrogen fertiliser which we use on our grazing land as well.”

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