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Get the upper crust with slurry


Allowing a crust to form on a slurry lagoon or tank is a cost-free method of reducing emissions while storing manure and slurry, and will help get more nutrients from your muck into your soils and crops, according to the latest information from DairyCo.

Allowing a crust to form on your slurry was previously considered poor management, says DairyCo extension officer Chris Coxon, but its now accepted that a manageable crust helps prevent greenhouse gases and ammonia escaping, and enables more efficient use of nutrients.

A crust has been shown to reduce NH3 (ammonia) emissions by up to 50%, says Chris. Keep an eye on it though, because if it gets too thick it can be difficult to break up when its time to empty the tank or lagoon.

Good muck and slurry management is key to reducing harmful emissions of nitrous oxide, ammonia and methane. And by keeping as many of the nutrients as possible locked up in the manure, farmers can boost its fertiliser value and increase their grass and crop yields. It is a win-win for everyone.

DairyCo is a division of the statutory levy board, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

DairyCos current focus is on improving the profitability of dairy farming by focusing on four specific areas:

  • Provision of high quality market information to help farmers and their representatives make the most of dairy markets and opportunities.
  • Helping dairy farmers increase their profits while meeting regulatory and environmental requirements through the provision of world class research programmes and practical on-farm tools and services
  • Helping promote the positive perception of dairy farming with the general public.
  • The development of DairyCo activities towards a self-sustaining model.

DairyCo is funded entirely by milk producers, via a statutory levy on all milk sold off-farm, at the rate of 0.06p per litre.  This provides an annual income of around 6.5m.

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