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Aair System Stirs Manure Pit Sludge
Iowa hogman Leon Kennebeck doesn't have any more trouble with sludge accumulation in his hog manure pit since he installed a high pressure air system to clean it.
After six years of use, the 8ft.-deep pit under his finishing house was half full of sludge. "When I cleaned it with an ordinary pump and agitator, it only cleaned the liquid off the top. My pit had only half its capacity," Kennebeck told FARM SHOW.
He had an idea that compressed air might put the sludge into suspension so it could be pumped out, but it would take more than the usual compressor to do it. So, he located a big industrial model - an 18 hp, gas-powered NAPA unit.
Kennebeck installed a main air line of 1?-in. pipe along the top of the pen dividers. The line stays in place but it is connected at intervals to six 1/4-in. vertical pipes that reach down into the pit. When the compressor is turned on, it creates 40 pounds of pressure at each pipe which stirs and mixes sludge.
Each half of the pit is 100 ft. long so Kennebeck moves the whole setup after one end is cleaned. He can work while the hogs are in the barn, but he cautions that good ventilation is important while cleaning.
"I like it so well that I'm rigging up the farrowing house and two nurseries to use the same system," says Kennebeck. He has a farrowing-to-finishing operation that turns out 2,500 pigs a year.
He says the air compressor unit he bought would probably cost about $3,500 today, and he feels that 18 hp is the smallest size it should be.
"Be sure you buy a compressor that is 'constant run'. And you don't need any air storage tank. Don't spend money on a tank which you could better spend on a bigger compressor," he suggests.
Although this may seem like -an expensive manure handling facility, Kennebeck is sold on it. "When you lose half your pit capacity because of sludge buildup, you have to clean out more often and it may be at a time when you have no open fields to chisel it into."
For more details, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Leon Kennebeck, Rt. 1, Carroll, Iowa 51401 (ph. 712 792-9016).

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #5