Crust formation on slurry stores is the bane of many farmers’ lives, not only taking up valuable slurry storage space but resulting in increased labour and wear and tear on machinery trying to break it down.
In addition, managing crust formation is also becoming more critical as the 2027 date for mandatory slurry store covers nears.
This is because crust mitigation is directly linked to DEFRA’s good agricultural practice guide, which recommends covering slurry and digestate stores to reduce ammonia emissions and to ensure farms have enough storage to be able to spread slurry only when crops will use the nutrients.
And there are benefits to reducing crust formation, too. They include:
- Increasing potential slurry storage capacity
Undigested plant fibre material in slurry rises to the surface, where it dries and compacts to form a crust. This crust takes up more room than liquid slurry and causes a physical problem when emptying the pit.
- Increasing the nutrient value of your slurry
Reducing crust formation helps increase the amount of light and oxygen entering the lagoon, increasing microbial activity used to break down the manure solids.
- Reducing wear and tear on equipment trying to break it down
The breakdown of the crust means slurry requires less ongoing agitation, thus saving time and reducing diesel and wear and tear on machinery.
- Reducing labour costs and time spent trying to breakdown the crust
- Removing possible ‘unseen’ problems if the slurry store is covered.
Without managing the crust, farmers with slurry covers will have no idea what is happening underneath the cover, and by the time a crust becomes noticeable, it might be too late to intervene.
But how do you reduce crust formation?
That question is a simple one to answer. Our latest research has validated the benefits of using two new slurry inoculants to reduce crust formation.
A recent two-year study, funded by Innovate UK and conducted in collaboration with Myerscough College, Preston, tested our two new slurry inoculants, SlurryBugs and SlurryBugs Maintenance, under laboratory-controlled conditions.
Both of these products are different to our previous slurry inoculants and are unique in the marketplace as they contain five specialised strains of bacteria and fungi that have been found to work most effectively on maximising the complex lignocellulosic biochemical pathways within slurry stores.
Our research found that when using SlurryBugs, there was a 29% reduction in crust formation and a 23% reduction when using SlurryBugs Maintenance, giving you peace of mind that the crust formation will be minimised and slurry storage maximised.
However, the benefits of using SlurryBugs and SlurryBugs Maintenance didn’t stop there. The research also found an increase in the following nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulphur) by 10-15%. This is because organic materials are released into the slurry when the crust is broken down. New studies are currently in progress to look at this further. This improved nutrient value offers users the potential to reduce the use of synthetic fertiliser.
Slurry is a valuable product, and you must make it work for you. Not only have we refined our products through this rigorous testing and utilising specialist strains of bacteria, but we have also made it easier for farmers to treat their slurry and prevent any unforeseen crust crisis from occurring by using just two products.
To find out more about SlurryBugs and SlurryBugs Maintenance and how it can help your farm, click here