3 Ways Poop Complicates Hog Farming

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Manure Management is Half the Work for the Eco-minded Hog Farmer

We will not dispute the usefulness of manure in farming. Fertilizer is a mainstay in growing any crop, and good manure management is not only an essential part of efficient business, but healthy environmental preservation.

But it’s still poop.

The prominence of manure on hog farms has caused a lot of problems for farms across the nation, especially ever since the recent push for farmers to become more environmentally friendly. That’s not exactly a bad thing, but, good or bad, it’s a huge pain to deal with on the large farm scale. Here are just a few ways too much poop complicates the life of the hog farmer.

Poop Gets Expensive

pigs in farm

While the hogs kindly excrete manure for free, it still costs money to actually get the manure somewhere it’s useful and not just stinking up the joint. Daniel Anderson ran the numbers on manure application systems recently and came up a rough guesstimate of what it costs based on a survey he ran back in 2013. He was pretty thorough with the numbers and we won’t get into all the economic equations, but we did try our hand at adding up the numbers he gave on a hypothetical farm with a mile to haul and came up with about $163,000 a year before the cost of labor and operation. Odds are we did the math wrong and that number should be higher, though, so feel free to check out Daniel’s blog and run the numbers for your own farm.

Manure is Flammable

Foaming manure is a mystery under some pretty fervent study at the moment. You’re probably familiar with the phenomenon. If not, the short version is that it’s something that can happen in agitated manure pits where the manure starts to foam and produce a lot of methane. The obvious complication here is that it makes the air in your barn flammable, turning something as small as a pilot light into a potential fireball. This was discovered first hand by farmer Leon Sheets, who is sporting scars on his face from the 3rd degree burns he received in 2014. Sheets is now an avid proponent for farm safety.

Manure Also Smells

The far-reaching smell of a hog farm lagoon has been the primary point of contention between farms and their surrounding communities. You could close your eyes and toss a rock in Iowa or North Carolina and have good odds of hitting an environmental lawyer helping someone sue a hog farmer for nuisance. It’s a tough thing for people to be reasonable about: those who live next to a farm only know that their property becomes unbearably smelly sometimes, while farmers only know that they’re doing everything they can to keep the farm going and meet government regulations. A few alternatives have been suggested, such as forgoing the lagoon and grazing the livestock free range. But it’s likely any compromises won’t come without a lot of fighting and a lot of trouble for hog farmers.

Also Your Clothes Stink

You probably get used to the smell around the farm pretty quick, but smelling the farm and smelling your clothes become two different things at the end of the day. While we can’t offer much help in the way of legal service or fire safety, we can help you remove the odor from your work clothes while also saving you money and taking a small step toward environmentally friendly practices. Whatever other problems come your way, at least this one has a simple solution.

chick and pig on a white background
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