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“Sphere” Adds Value To Dairy Waste
The Lely Sphere boosts the fertilizer value of dairy waste and captures 70 percent of normal ammonia emissions. It separates dairy waste into ammonia gases, solids and urine at the source. This allows them to be more precisely applied for better crop utilization, with fewer emissions than with slurry.
“Lely Sphere is designed to help dairy farmers exploit the valuable nutrients in manure to the maximum and thus promote crop growth,” says Korstiaan Blokland, head of innovations, Lely. “This practical solution is easy to deploy and part of the transition to more sustainable and even more circular dairy farming.”
The sphere consists of multiple components. A near solid floor with separator strips of small holes allows liquids and air to pass through. Solids remain on the surface to be picked up by the Discovery Collector robot. It constantly cleans the surface of the floor, scraping solids into a siphon that moves them into a separate pit. Separating the liquids from the solids (largely organic nitrogen and phosphates) reduces ammonia production. Enzymes in the solids would otherwise convert more of the urine into ammonia.
An N-Capture ventilator creates a negative pressure in the urine pit. This pulls manure gases formed in the pit and at the floor surface through a filter of water acidified with either sulfuric or nitric acid in the N-Capture. The acid is stored in nearby double-walled Variboxes. Once the acidified water has been saturated by ammonia in the manure gas, the resulting ammonium nitrate and/or sulfur nitrate is pumped to a nearby fertilizer silo.
Urine remaining in the pit is largely a potassium mineral source.
The Lely Sphere nutrient separation, collection and storage system has been operational since 2017 and is being run on 4 test farms. Niels Borneman, Lely, estimates it’s 60 percent of the way through evaluations required under Dutch regulations. He expects approval in mid to late 2021 with commercial availability to follow.
“The system has international potential, but initially Lely will focus on the Dutch market,” says Borneman.
Pricing of the modular Sphere system will depend on the size of the dairy farm, with larger farms requiring multiple N-Captures. A Lely source estimates the investment for a 120-cow dairy at between $180,000 and $200,000. This would include 2 N-Captures, one (robotic) Discovery Collector, one silo, adjustments to a slatted floor, and installation.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Lely North America, 775 250 Ave., Pella, Iowa 50219 (ph 641 621-2700; toll free 888 245-4684; marketinglna@lely.com; www.lely.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #1