9 February 1996

Economical way to keep rain off slurry

Scandinavian farmers, like their UK counterparts, are busy reinvesting in new tech. Andrew Faulkner continues his round-up of equipment on display at last months Agromek show in Denmark

A POLYESTER-based material used to line slurry towers on Scandinavian farms could also make a low-cost roof for slurry towers in the UK.

Keeping rainwater out of the farms slurry store has a number of benefits: It increases the available volume for slurry/dirty water storage, it reduces spreading costs and it should reduce gaseous nutrient losses to the atmosphere.

Countering those benefits is the inevitable downside – cost. But UK-based Malgar claims its PVC-covered polyester weave sheeting offers a low-cost alternative to rigid structures. For a typical 120,000-litre (26,000gal) store, the firm says it can supply a roof for about £6000.

Fixing the weave roof is simple. It is clamped to bolts halfway up the store wall so when the store is empty the centre of the roof sheeting droops down on to the floor and any rainfall is supported.

As the tank fills from beneath, slurry takes over the floors supporting role and the sheet rises along with the stores contents. Should the farmer wish to remove the rainwater from the sheet, he can either pipe it into a clean water drain or, when emptying the store, use the water to dilute/mix the slurry in the reception pit.

&#8226 Malgar sees many other uses for its lining material. Over the past two years the firm has installed a number of fully sealed slurry bags within stores in Scandinavia. The gas from the slurry, trapped in the top of the bag, is then used to heat adjacent farm buildings. &#42

Clean water out, dirty water in… Malgars polyester weave sheeting can be used as a low-cost roof for keeping rainwater out of slurry towers.