Manure can be used in a sustainable manner by returning nutrients to the soil to grow crops that feed animals. However, on many livestock farms, manure poses operational, economic, and environmental constraints. Managing manure every day requires labor and money. Losses of manure constituents from the system result in negative environmental impacts such as degrading water and air quality. The amount of water in manure makes management more difficult in many ways. More water leads to greater volumes, which are more costly to move and store. Removing this water for reuse can lead to ease in managing the end products.
Excreted manure contains anywhere from 75 to 90% water depending upon the animal species. Current trends in manure handling and processing systems are adding more water in the manure systems. As it moves through the system where additional by-products are added (e.g., runoff, washwater, bedding, etc.), manure contains anywhere from 50 to 99% water.
Increasing the water content of manure can ease some operational issues, such as enabling the use of pumping and flush systems to transport manure. However, increasing water content increases the volume required for storage and handling capacity of land application systems, increasing both capital and operating costs for the farm. The increased amount of water can also cause environmental issues such as increasing the risk for runoff and leaching when stored and land applied, emissions that contribute to global climate change, and the risk for spills throughout the handling and land application process. Removing the water in manure and treating it for reuse or discharge can reduce issues associated with handling, storage, and land application and improve environmental impacts.
Read more in the following fact sheet.