MANURE DIGESTER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. How much Manure Digester will I need to apply to my lagoon/pit?
  2. How do I calculate the volume of my lagoon/pit?
  3. I have a crusting problem in my pit/lagoon. Can Manure Digester help?
  4. I have a solids accumulation problem in the bottom of my pit/lagoon. Can Manure Digester help?
  5. I have an odor problem coming from my barn/lagoon. Will Manure Digester reduce it?
  6. I have a foaming pit problem. Can Manure Digester help?
  7. Are there any other benefits to using Manure Digester?
  8. How long should I wait before expecting results from Manure Digester treatment and how long will it continue to work?
  9. I have been using Manure Digester and it seemed to be working, but my problems have returned. Why?
  10. Odors have been reduced in the barn after applying Manure Digester, but I still have problems flushing the pits clean. Why?
  11. After treatment of my lagoon/pit there are no visible signs of active biodigestion (bubbling and material becoming more liquid than solid). Why?
  12. My barn pits are brand new. Can I start using Manure Digester right away?
  13. How is Manure Digester applied to a pit/lagoon?
  14. Where can I purchase Manure Digester?
1. How much Manure Digester will I need to apply to my lagoon/pit?
  • Initial applications of Manure Digester are generally based on volume of the presently stored waste. Maintenance rates are based on the rate of inflow of waste from confinement operations. Variable rates are used according to the severity of the problems related to the waste (eg. high solids to liquids ratio, offensive odors, dry-crusting, solids accumulation, lack of percolation, pest infestation).
  • Rates are as follows: Lagoon/pit stored waste can be treated at any rate ranging from 10L to 30L per 100,000 gallons of waste. Adequate moisture must be present in the waste for treatment to be effective. Minimum moisture for biological decomposition is 30%. Minimum moisture for waste which must flow is 80%. Therefore, water application and upkeep is often required along with Manure Digester treatment.
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2. How do I calculate the volume of my lagoon/pit?
  • To estimate volume, first determine total cubic area:

    For lagoons, calculate the total cubic area using the following equation:
    Length x Width x Depth x 0.7 (or appropriate slope factor*) = cubic area (ft³ or m³).

    For barn pits, calculate the total cubic area using no slope factor:
    Length x Width x Depth = Total Cubic Area (ft³ or m³)

    For round slurry stores (cylinder-shaped), calculate the total cubic area using the following equation:
    Depth (height) x 3.14 x Radius2 = Total Cubic Area (ft³ or m³)
  • Then multiply total cubic area by one of the following:
    • 6.25 to convert cubic feet to Imperial gallons
    • 7.5 to convert cubic feet to US gallons
    • 1000 to convert cubic meters to Litres

* To calculate the slope factor, simply divide the elevation change in feet by the length of the actual slope. A slope factor of 0.7 (for a 70% slope) may be used for steep sided lagoons. It is important to properly determine the slope value at a site in order to accurately estimate volume.

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3. I have a crusting problem in my pit/lagoon. Can Manure Digester help?
  • Yes, Manure Digester has been developed to assist the biological decomposition of all organic matter. For crust applications the crust must first be agitated. This procedure ensures that the solids forming the crust are moist and are broken sufficiently to allow the transfer of oxygen into the lagoon/pit slurry. Oxygen is required as a necessary element in the complete decomposition of organic matter. A depletion of oxygen in the slurry was likely a determining factor in the original cause of the crust formation. That said, continuous artificial aeration is not recommended, (though it can be a useful tool in odor control) as excessive oxygenation of the slurry will prevent the necessary anaerobic biodigestion of organic solids and cause the accumulation of solids in the bottom of a lagoon or pit.
  • *Excessive disposal of chemicals, cleaners, heavy metals or salts (from feed or water sources) and antibiotics will limit results of Manure Digester application and should be limited as much as possible.
  • **In barns with sub-floor fans above the pits, maintaining moisture in the slurry is crucial to optimal biodigestion of organic solids, as air drawn past the pit contents tends to dry the waste and perpetuate crusting.
  • ***During periods of drought, it may be difficult to manage moisture in lagoons. Under these circumstances, artificial chemical oxygenation or dry storage of the manure may be satisfactory alternatives to moisture intensive biodigestion.
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4. I have a solids accumulation problem in the bottom of my pit/lagoon. Can Manure Digester help?
  • Yes, solids accumulation in the bottom of the pit is a signal that either biodigestion is being dominated by aerobic microbes or that all forms of microbial activity are being limited for some reason. Manure Digester can assist by binding to toxins (eg. salts/heavy metals) via the activated carbon present in the product while stimulating and balancing the microbial populations that encourage organic decomposition.
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5. I have an odor problem coming from my barn/lagoon. Will Manure Digester reduce these odors?
  • Manure Digester has been independently tested for this purpose and findings have indicated reductions in odor as high as 83% and ammonia by as much as 43.1%.
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6. I have a foaming pit problem. Can Manure Digester help?
  • Foaming pits are generally the result of high phosphorus rations and/or excessive cleaning product disposal in the pits. Although Manure Digester can reduce the tendency for pits to foam, this particular situation has not been well studied and optimal application rates/procedures have not been determined. Reducing phosphorus sources in the ration will also reduce foaming.
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7. Are there any other benefits to using Manure Digester?
  • Independent research and customer testimonial have indicated that applications of Manure Digester to pits and lagoons increase the total nitrogen in manure by 22.5-39.1%. This increased nitrogen content of treated manure can significantly offset crop fertilizer costs.
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8. How long should I wait before expecting results from Manure Digester treatment and how long will it continue to work?
  • This varies relative to the pre-treatment conditions, the user's ability to reduce or eliminate mitigating factors, and the required result. Generally odor reductions from pits and lagoons can be measured in 2-4 weeks after initial applications are made. Solids reduction and flow-ability are improved in 3-6 weeks. A minimum retention time of 3 weeks (eg. shallow pits) is required for any product applications to be effective. With regular monthly maintenance applications, pits/lagoons can be treated for up to six months consecutively before being flushed.
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9. I have been using Manure Digester and it seemed to be working, but my problems have returned. Why?
  • In pits, changes in any part of the barn operation pre-assessment conditions may potentially affect the result of Manure Digester application (eg. feed ration alterations, medication applications, cleaning procedures, abnormal humidity and/or temperature changes, genetics, etc). Lagoons are similarly affected; however, they are under additional exposure to changes in local weather changes (eg. heavy precipitation, drought, extreme cold/heat, etc). If this occurs, a SHAC certified distributor or technical representative will be able to help you determine what may have occurred to cause the change.
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10. Odors have been reduced in the barn after applying Manure Digester, but I still have problems flushing the pits clean. Why?
  • If corners or areas furthest from the plugs or agitators are not draining well, but the remainder is, the problem may be the solids to liquids ratio (>80% moisture is required for sufficient biodigestion to maximize flow-ability). Also, individual pit drainage design may require a specific procedure to be followed in order to properly flush the pits clean (eg. hairpin pits - two drain plugs and a semi-complete wall dividing two pits). This design requires that a single plug is pulled; alternating sides each time the pit is flushed. Past solids accumulations in a single pit may be affecting and perpetuating poor overall drainage. Inadequate drainage piping may cause outflow pipes to slow and/or back-up to the degree that solids remain in the pits while liquids are removed (eg. two 8 inch pipes collecting into a single 10 inch diameter pipe will create back pressure and not allow free flowing of the slurry from the pit to the lagoon).
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11. After treatment of my lagoon/pit there are no visible signs of active biodigestion (bubbling and material becoming more liquid than solid). Why?
  • Two to three days after treatment of a lagoon or pit the liquids should be bubbling and biologically more active than prior to treatment. If no activity is observed cease treatment and contact a SHAC technical advisor to assist you in determining what factors in your operation may be adversely affecting the biological activity in the slurry (eg. excessive amounts of antibiotics, heavy metals, salts, cleaners/sanitizers, etc)
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12. My barn pits are brand new. Can I start using Manure Digester right away?
  • It is not recommended because new concrete has a tendency to leach lime based minerals which can negatively impact microbial activity in general. Try to use the pit for at least two flushes before applying Manure Digester.
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13. How is Manure Digester applied to a pit/lagoon?
  • Manure Digester must be applied at numerous locations within a pit or lagoon to achieve adequate dispersal of the product. If the manure being treated is fairly solid (no standing water above solids) it is recommended that water is also added during the application of Manure Digester. Enough water should be added to maintain a minimum of one inch of liquid standing above the accumulated solid matter. The water ensures a minimum of adequate moisture throughout the slurry and maximizes the ability for Manure Digester to stimulate viable populations of aerobic and anaerobic microbes which is crucial to achieve odor and solids reduction.
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14. Where can I purchase Manure Digester?
  • To locate a distributor near you, go to the Distributors section of this web site.
  • To locate a retail outlet near you, go to the Dealers section of this web site.
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