Breakthrough Slurry Treatment Resolves Lagoon

Farmer’s Success Story Highlights New Solution for Agricultural Waste Management

In a significant advancement for agricultural waste management, a farmer in Lydney, Gloucestershire, has effectively addressed crust formation issues in his digestate lagoon using an innovative slurry treatment. Will Hunt, the farmer in question, had been struggling with crust accumulation since covering his 22,000m3 lined lagoon two years ago.

Originally installed in 2016 without a cover, the lagoon utilized mechanical propellors for agitation. However, evolving environmental regulations and directives advocating for lagoon covering prompted Hunt to install a gas membrane in 2022, necessitating a transition to liquid agitation methods.

Unexpected crust formation despite efforts with liquid mixers

Despite efforts to agitate the slurry using liquid mixers, Hunt encountered unexpected challenges as crust formation exceeded 1.5 meters in some areas. Recognizing the urgent need for a solution, Hunt sought out alternatives to address the issue before it escalated further.

Hunt’s lagoon contains digestate from a 1.5-megawatt biogas plant fueled by farm manure and crop residues, resulting in a dry matter content slightly higher than pure slurry. Concerned about the potential consequences of uncontrolled crust formation, Hunt reached out to EnviroSystems after learning about their latest slurry treatment, SlurryBugs 2024.

The product, unveiled at DairyTech in February following two years of intensive research, boasts specialized strains of bacteria and fungi proven to reduce crust formation by an impressive 29%. Collaborating closely with EnviroSystems, Hunt determined the required quantity of SlurryBugs and treated his lagoon to

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The application process involved Waterway maintenance developments and mixing SlurryBugs into warm water to create a solution, which was then evenly dispersed into the lagoon using the liquid pumping system. Remarkably, signs of progress were evident within three weeks of treatment, with bubbling activity observed on the lagoon surface and cracks appearing in the crust.

Dr. David Townsend, an EnviroSystems researcher, explained the product’s science, highlighting its ability to optimize biochemical pathways within slurry stores. The breakdown of undigested fiber by bacteria enzymes liberates soluble nutrients for land application, resulting in a more uniform liquid slurry.
Furthermore, research conducted by EnviroSystems revealed significant increases in critical nutrients in treated slurry, including Ammonium N (+21%), Phosphorus (+48%), Potassium (+17%), and Sulphur (+31%). Dr. Townsend added that this enhanced nutrient content not only streamlines slurry handling but also reduces dependence on purchased fertilizers.

As Hunt continues to monitor the treatment’s progress, early indications suggest that the innovative slurry treatment could revolutionize agricultural waste management practices, offering farmers a cost-effective and sustainable solution to crust formation issues in lagoon systems.

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