14 April 1995

Integrate message at Muck 95 event

By Rebecca Austin

INTEGRATE muck into farm fertiliser policies. This was the main message to livestock producers at the Royal Agricultural Societys (RASE) MUCK 95 event held last week at the National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

When the monetary value of muck was considered it could help pay for new slurry equipment, said ADAS in a RASE display at the event.

For example, a 100-strong dairy herd would produce £2877 worth of muck when each cow was fed 10t of silage over a 180-day winter-housing period, according to ADAS figures (see table).

If a slurry spreader cost £10,000, its estimated total fixed costs, including depreciation and interest at £2500, would more than be covered by the monetary value of the 666t of manure and 857cu m of slurry produced by the 100 cows.

But the 1000t of silage at 20% dry matter also produced 50,000 litres of effluent. Risk of effluent pollution could be minimized by:

&#8226 Wilting crop before clamping.

&#8226 Providing effluent stores.

&#8226 Checking systems and drains for leaks daily after silage making.

&#8226 Opening bales away from drains and water courses.

The RASE was also at pains to point out that milk is 10 times more polluting than silage. A spokesperson said careful planning prevented pollution.

The risk of pollution by leaching and run-off could be minimised by not applying muck in the wrong place, in the wrong conditions at incorrect rates, he said. He also recommended using an approved Farm Waste Management Plan.


Muck value (produced by 100 cows over 180-day winter housing period)

kg£

Nitrogen1570471

Phosphate3395907

Potash83261499

Total value2877

*based on December 1994 prices

Livestock producers visiting the RASEs Muck 95 event were urged to make allowance for the value of NPK in farm slurries and manures.