continued “This program is very good; it helps farmers get done all the work they need to do, because without it finances are tough,” said Mark Tucker, co-owner with his brother Kirk of the farm their grandfather started in 1918.
The Tuckers’ new liquid manure storage tank is part of the program’s Farmstead Best Management Practices. The tank is 80 feet across, 14 feet deep and holds 450,000 gallons of barnyard waste, mostly manure, but also barnyard runoff and milkhouse waste. It also has a milkhouse pipe that runs directly into the tank for old milk and wash water drainage. It is designed to hold about five months’ worth of waste.
The tank, made of concrete and circled by a safety fence, is adjacent to the cattle barns, which makes it easy after each day’s barn cleaning to push it all right into the storage area.
The idea behind the tank is that it allows a farmer to store manure through the winter to get maximum use out of the nutrients in the spring. Typically, winter barnyard waste is spread around the farmland in order to get rid of it. But placing manure on top of snow does not allow the nutrients it contains to benefit the soil; it also increases the chance that manure will wash into streams during snowmelt. The new tank creates a storage place and will allow the Tuckers to spread the nutrient-rich manure on the farm fields in the spring when crops are growing for the maximum fertilizing benefits.
The spring spreading will be done with the use of a manure pump, which also will be provided by the SLWAP, that agitates the manure to turn it into spreadable form. The manure will then be spread on specific fields across the farm with the use of a manure spreader.