During the month of March, we begin to think about how our manure is stored, when and how will be cleared and how it’s management affects the life of our livestock. The Alberta EFP webbook chapter on Manure Storage covers the storage of manure. If you store manure in a livestock facility such as a livestock yard, corral, barn, processing area or assembly station another chapter may apply.
what are the environmental risks?
Manure is composed of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as pathogens and other components that can pose an environmental risk to soil and water.
Manure storage is one step in the manure management cycle. If a manure storage facility is not constructed, maintained and operated properly, it may release manure or seepage that could enter a water system. Storage facilities should be large enough to hold at least the expected manure accumulation and emptied according to crop needs, not when storage capacity has been reached.
Safety is important around manure storage facilities. Proper fences, barriers and signs must be installed around liquid or slurry storages. Keep safety equipment easily available and train personnel in proper equipment use. Most importantly, no one should enter an operating storage system, especially enclosed storage facilities such as tanks, under-floor pits, and tanker trucks, without taking proper safety precautions.
What you can do
- Base the emptying of manure storage facilities on agronomic decisions, not storage capacity.
- Make sure the storage facility is in good condition. Check it regularly for leaks and damage and repair promptly.
- Take appropriate safety precautions. Make sure the storage area is secure and warning signs are posted.
- Install proper fences, barriers and signs around liquid or slurry storages.
- Keep safety equipment easily available and train personnel in proper equipment use.
- Do not enter an operating storage system, especially enclosed storage facilities such as tanks, under-floor pits, and tanker trucks, without taking proper safety precautions.
- If in doubt regarding safe operation and maintenance of a manure storage facility, contact a qualified professional.
- Manage composts using the same considerations as manure.
- Know and understand the legislation that pertains to storage of livestock manure and compost.
- Manage your operation to meet and if possible exceed legislation.
- Use this chapter to find out if manure is stored safely on your farm.