16 April 1999

See for yourself latest methods with wastes…

This years muck event – Muck 99 – takes place at

Haywold Farm, Huggate, Driffield, E Yorks on Apr 28-29. For

those involved in stock enterprises, it should be an

opportunity to glean all the latest techniques

concerning the handling of muck.

MUCK 99 will be an event where the nations fleet of spreaders, loaders and slurry tankers will be demonstrating their ability to move muck from mizzen to field. It will also be an event where the emphasis will be on managing muck – in an environmentally acceptable way – to help reduce fertiliser costs.

And on this score, Muck 99 will have more than its share of advisors ready to impart their knowledge and experiences of effective muck disposal. There will also be the opportunity to see the results of a spring application of muck on wheat crops.

Closer to home, the host farm, which generates some 4m gallons of slurry each year from its pig and cattle enterprises, will be demonstrating how it integrates this volume of slurry into a fertiliser plan for its arable areas.

Advice will also be on hand for those wishing to hear more about the new groundwater regulations and how these will affect individual operations. Disposal of plastic waste, pesticide washings and the contents of sheep dips are included in these new regulations.

Muck 99 organiser, the RASE, reports that the working demonstrations will comprise some 50 different machines applying muck or slurry to an allocated area which extends to 24ha (60 acres). Machines on display will include solid manure spreaders, slurry tankers, mounted application systems, fixed equipment, tractor loaders, rough terrain forklifts and loaders designed to work in restricted areas.

Nothing is more effective than seeing a machine in action, says the RASE – and its probably right.

Coming to terms

And finally, for those who really want to come to terms with the finer points of the muck disposal, an RASE/IAgrE seminar entitled Equipping For New Legislation on Wednesday 28 April at 5.30pm is designed to inform visitors on how new legislation will affect manure storage and spreading.

Admission to this MAFF sponsored seminar is free but delegates are advised to reserve their seats by calling Jane Kirkby at the RASE on 01203 696969.

Its not slurry

its fertiliser – contractor

Slurry, the curse of over-

wintering livestock, is being

increasingly recognised as a

valuable source of nitrogen,

according to one Cheshire

contractor who pumps and

spreads about 60 million

gallons each year.

Geoff Ashcroft reports

FEW people know slurry like Cheshire contractor Paul Rogerson. In a year, his umbilical slurry pumping outfit handles about 60m gallons in a combination of injecting, surface spreading and dribble bar application work.

"Its not slurry, its fertiliser," insists Mr Rogerson, who has so far convinced about 75% of his customers of the value of accurately applying slurry to fields.

"About 5000 gallons/acre can be worth 50 units of nitrogen. You wouldnt just plaster your fields with bags of nitrogen any old how, so why do it with slurry?" he asks.

"Getting a good spread pattern when surface spreading and not leaving a mess when injecting, are vital details to ensure my contracting business is a success."

For Mr Rogerson, slurry represents a workload which occupies an umbilical pumping team virtually all year round. From his base at Barrow Green, Crewe, in Cheshire, he travels throughout neighbouring counties Merseyside, Shropshire, Worcestershire and even as far south as Oxfordshire.

Equipment for the task includes a 160hp John Deere 7700 to drive a centrifugal pump, with a lesser powered, reverse drive Valmet 8150 handling most of the field application work. Reverse drive was chosen for its practicalities and means Mr Rogerson can carry a hose reeler on the tractors rear linkage, with an eight metre wide spreader bar (it also has dribble outlets) and umbilical pipe connection mounted on the front linkage.

It is a system which offers Mr Rogerson the capacity to apply about 300,000 gallons a day and can command a price of about £35-45 an hour.

"We have pumped up to a distance of 3 miles, but we had to borrow a few extra lengths of umbilical hose," he says.

Setting out the umbilical pipe line – and reeling in – takes only minutes by carrying up to 1400m of pipe with the spreading tractor.

"It saves tracking back and forth across fields to get more pipe and keeps compaction to a minimum," he says. "We plan a route through the fields we are going to spread and usually start at the furthest point away from the pump, then work back towards the farm."

Shod on Michelin XM108 low-profile tyres, the Valmet also treads lightly, suiting the surface spreading applications. But when it comes to injecting slurry, the two tractors swap roles, putting the more powerful John Deere on the tougher injecting work.

"We pride ourselves on doing a quality job and not leaving a mess behind us," he says.

It explains perhaps why slurry injecting work, though growing, currently accounts for about 10% of Mr Rogersons annual workload, with the remainder applied by surface spreading and dribble bar techniques.

"Injecting slurry is the way forward. Its cleaner and virtually odour-free, though I suspect we will eventually be forced into it by legislation," he explains. "But until I can perfect the job on grassland, I deliberately restrict injecting to maize and arable stubbles."

Mr Rogerson has some very clear views about what he wants to achieve on behalf of his customers when injecting and it is a result of his nine years contracting for slurry equipment firm Spreadwise, before starting on his own two years ago.

"I want to be able to inject on grassland to a depth of about 3-4in and leave a perfect, unblemished finish so no-one will even know Ive been there," he says. "Injecting at 8-10in is just too deep to benefit the roots quickly enough and shallow injection leaves slurry oozing onto the surface in lots of narrow lines, just like a dribble bar. You might just as well spread it on the surface for what good it does."

For injecting, Mr Rogerson is using an extensively modified four-leg TLP tractor mounted injector, with disc coulters to slit the ground before winged shares lift the soil providing a cavity for the slurry. Individual rollers then recompress the surface to leave a neat, even finish.

"It does a good job, but even after making so many alterations, the TLP injector is still not good enough on grassland."

Convinced that too many engineers havent spent enough time in the field operating some of the equipment they have designed, Mr Rogerson will continue sketching ideas on the back of cigarette packets.

"I know what I need to develop to make injection work properly and cleanly on grassland. But until I can perfect my own injector, we will remain focused on surface spreading," he says.

Like the slurry injector, surface spreading wont escape Mr Rogersons enthusiasm for continual modification.

"I would like to develop a canopy to cover the whole spread pattern which will prevent drift and keep odours to a minimum."

Clearly, he is looking forward to some long winter nights back in the workshop.