And, now I’ve got your attention.  Yes, everybody poops, even pigs.  While it’s definitely smelly, hog manure is really valuable as fertilizer for farmers.

aIMG_6080

It gets pumped out of the pit once or twice a year and spread on fields with a tank called a honeywagon.

Wet/Dry feeders are really water efficient, so less water gets into the pit.  That’s great, since the water isn’t being wasted.  And it also means that the nutrient concentration is high, which farmers and their crops enjoy.

SIDE NOTE.  Manure nutrients or fertilizer elements are measured in NPK.  N stands for for nitrogen, which is responsible for strong stem and foliage growth. P is for phosphorus, which aids in healthy root growth and flower and seed production. K stands for potassium, which is responsible for improving overall health and disease resistance.  END SIDE NOTE.  THANK YOU, GOOGLE.

But, less water in the pit also means the manure can be harder to pump.  It’s not the worst problem ever since the concentrated manure means less trips to the field, but it makes for inefficient pumping.

So how do you make your manure easier to pump, without diluting valuable nutrients for your crops?  That’s where pit additives come in.

WA-2

That’s a pit additive.  You…add it to the pit.  I’m smart, I know.  But really, you dump the contents of the jug into the pit in various places on a pre-determined schedule based on when you pump.  Pretty easy.

There are several additives on the market, and they’re all basically all-natural blends of bacteria and enzymes designed to digest organic waste.  The bacteria consumes the solid carbons, turning the sludge to a chocolate milk consistency.  They capture volatile ammoniated nitrogen, while maintaining those optimal NPK levels.  They also supposed to help reduce foaming and keep pesky flies at bay. Win win.

We’re currently doing research with a producer we work with so we can make sure we’re offering the best product to our customers, with data to back it up.

WA-1

Larry uses the Waste Away on schedule, then takes periodic manure samples and sends them to the lab.  The results we get back back tell us if the NPK levels are still high.  He records observations about flies, and when he pumps later this fall, he’ll be able to tell us about the manure consistency.

AB-3

Taking manure samples from the pit is about as gross as you think it might be, but it’s gotta be done, and no one complained.  That’s how awesome the people who raise pigs are.  Hard work + poop = no complaining. So awesome.

Luckily, someone needed to take pictures of this process, so I chose myself for the job and stayed far away.