B Beef waste management systems

Beef brood cows and the calves less than a year old are usually held on pastures or range. The calves are then finished in confined feeding facilities. While the animals are on pastures, their waste should not become a resource concern if the stocking rates are not excessive and the grazing is evenly distributed. To prevent waste from accumulating in feeding, watering, and shade areas, the feeding facilities can be moved, the number of watering facilities can be increased, and the livestock can be rotated between pastures. To reduce deposition of waste in streambeds, access to the stream may be restricted to stable stream crossings and access points. Figure 9-10 shows a paved beef feedlot operation.

(1) Production

Waste associated with confined beef operations include manure, bedding, and contaminated runoff.

(2) Collection

Beef cattle can be confined on unpaved (fig. 9-11), partly paved, or totally paved lots. If the cattle are concentrated near wells, adequate protection must be provided to prevent well contamination. Because much of the waste is deposited around watering and feeding facilities, paving these areas, which allows frequent scraping, may be desirable.

On unpaved lots, the traffic of the livestock tends to form a seal on the soil that prevents the downward movement of contaminated water. Care must be taken when removing manure from these lots so that damage to this seal is minimized. The seal tends to break down after livestock are removed from the lot. To prevent possible contamination of ground water resources, all the manure should be removed from an abandoned lot.

Figure 9-11 Waste collection from an unpaved beef feedlot

Figure 9-11 Waste collection from an unpaved beef feedlot

Unroofed confinement areas must have a system for collecting and confining contaminated runoff. On unpaved lots the runoff can be controlled by using diversions, sediment basins, and underground outlets. Paved lots generally produce more runoff than unpaved lots, but curbs at the edge of the lots and reception pits where the runoff exits the lots help to control the runoff. Solid/liquid separators or settling basins can be used to recover some of the solids in the runoff. The volume of runoff can be reduced by limiting the size of the confinement area, and uncontami-nated runoff can be excluded by use of diversions.

The manure in confinement areas that have a roof can be collected and stored as a solid. It may also be collected as a solid or semi-solid from open lots where the manure is removed daily and from open lots in a dry climate.

(3) Storage

Manure can be stored as a bedded pack in the confinement area if bedding is added in sufficient quantities. Manure removed from the confinement area can be stored as a liquid or slurry in an earthen pond or a structural tank, as a semi-solid in an unroofed structure that allows drainage of excess water and runoff to a waste storage pond, or as a solid in a dry stacking facility designed for storage. In areas of high precipitation, dry stacking facilities should be roofed (fig. 912). Contaminated runoff must be stored as a liquid in a waste storage pond or structure.

(4) Treatment

Treatment of the waste in a lagoon is difficult for some livestock systems because of the volume of solids in the waste, but many of the solids can be removed before treatment. Liquid waste may be treated in an aerobic lagoon, an anaerobic lagoon, or other suitable liquid waste treatment facilities. Solid waste can be composted.

(5) Transfer

The method used to transfer the waste depends largely on the consistency of the waste. Liquid waste and slurries can be transferred through open channels or pipes or in a portable liquid tank. Pumps can be used as needed. Solids and semi-solids may be transferred by using mechanical conveyance equipment, by pushing the waste down curbed concrete alleys, and by transporting the waste in solid manure spreaders.

Piston pumps or air pressure can be used to transfer semi-solid waste through large pipes.

(6) Utilization

Beef cattle waste can be used as bedding for livestock, as an energy source, or it can be marketed as compost, but the most common form of utilization is land application. The waste can be hauled and distributed over the land in appropriate spreading devices. Liquid waste can be distributed through an irrigation system, and slurries can be applied using irrigation equipment with nozzles that have a large opening.

Figure 9-12 Storage facilities for wastes from paved feedlot in high precipitation area

Waste storage structure

Waste storage structure

Solids separating basin (sediment basin)

Runoff collection gutter

Solids separating basin (sediment basin)

Waste storage pond

Waste storage pond

Runoff collection gutter

Figure 9-13 Waste handling options—swine

Figure 9-13 Waste handling options—swine

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