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Mobile Device Extracts Phosphorus From Manure
Researchers from the USDA and Penn State University have developed a first-of-its-kind mobile processing system that extracts phosphorus from liquid dairy manure. It’s a big step forward in dealing with phosphorus buildup in soil.
  USDA researcher Clinton Church says the portable system, which is carried on 2 semi trailers, is a way for dairymen to “mine” valuable phosphorus from dairy slurry, and then use it for fertilizer separately or sell it as a value-added product. He says the portable system could serve 10 dairies with 100 to 200 cows on a 10-day rotation or one large dairy operating continuously. The machine can extract 99 percent of the phosphorus from 250 gal. of manure in 10 min.
  Church says the auger press component of the machine removes 80 percent of the solids with 15 percent phosphorus. These low P solids would be ideal for reuse as bedding material. Further liquid processing in the centrifuge removes 10 percent of total solids with 45 percent phosphorus. These high P solids could be easily transported for use where needed as fertilizer. The liquid portion is then chemically treated to convert dissolved phosphorous into a particle.
  The final liquid and solid separation by the AutoVac® Filtration Unit removes the remaining 10 percent solids with nearly 40 percent of total phosphorus. “About 96 to 99 percent of the phosphorus is efficiently removed with the solids, which have about 70 percent moisture,” Church says. “Most of the nitrogen is retained and the N-to-P ratio is 50:1. The pH remains unchanged by the process.
  “A full scale system like this produces low phosphorus composted bedding for dairymen, high phosphorous solids for organic farmers, mushroom growers for retail sale, and feedstock for energy generation,” says Church.
  The initial costs to operate the unit for a 1,000-cow dairy were $750 a day, or about $180 per cow annually, but continued development in the past year has cut those costs in half. Church says “Many dairies already use some of the system components, so cost efficiency would be even better.”
  The research team is working with the Eisenmann Corporation for commercial production and plans to roll out some systems in 2018.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Clinton Church, USDA, REE, ARS, NAA, PS & WMR, Curtin Road, Bldg. 3702, University Park, Penn. 16802 (clinton.church@ars.usda.gov).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #5