Manure Collection and Handling Systems

Manure storage and handling systems enable livestock producers to efficiently utilize all the components in their manure management system. A typical manure management system will include some or all of the following components.

  1. Area where manure is produced (ie. feedlot, freestall barn, confinement building).
  2. Manure treatment area (solids separator, digester, aerator).
  3. Manure storage facility (manure tank, holding pond, stackhouse).
  4. Manure utilization area (crop fields).

The purpose of manure collection and handling systems is to efficiently gather and move manure among these components of a manure management system.

Manure Collection and Handling Equipment

The type of equipment and procedures used to collect and handle manure depends primarily upon the consistency or “thickness” of the manure. The term “solids content” or “percent solids” is often used to describe this characteristic in manure. Different species of livestock excrete manure with different percent solids.

As can be seen in Figure 20-1, the percent solids of manure excreted by swine, beef and dairy falls within a rather narrow range (10 to 13 percent solids), while poultry manure is excreted at a considerably higher solids content. The solids content of excreted manure is often changed by such processes as adding bedding, drying manure on a lot surface, adding washwater or dewatering the manure by solids separation.

The terms “solid” (greater than 15% solids), “slurry” (5 to 15% solids) and “liquid” (0 to 5% solids) are typically used within the livestock industry to describe the characteristics of a particular manure. Solid manure will “stack” to some degree with minimal seepage of free water from the pile depending upon moisture content. Slurry manure has fluid characteristics and tends to flow like a thick chocolate malt. Liquid manure has flow characteristics similar to that of water.

The following pages contain additional information related to each manure type.

Recommended Reading on Manure Collection and Handling Systems

Authors: Charles Fulhage, University of Missouri, and Joe Harner, Kansas State University