North Carolina farmers building new or expanding present swine production facilities are required to use manure management systems that meet the strictest environmental performance standards in the nation. To make sure that happens Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators have developed a system that exceeds state benchmarks for controlling pollutants from swine farms. The revamped system was two-thirds less expensive to build and operate than the first-generation system, which was tested in 2003.
In tests, the new on-farm treatment system removed high levels of several pollutants from manure wastewater, including almost all of the pathogens, odor-causing constituents and ammonia. Replacing anaerobic-lagoon-based systems with the new technology also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97%.
Separated manure solids were converted in a centralized facility into composted materials and used for organic plant fertilizer, soil amendments and plant growth media. Animal health and production also benefitted.
Swine daily weight gain increased, feed conversion improved, animal mortality decreased and 5.6% more hogs were sold per growing cycle.