Here at Durrer Dairy, cow comfort plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy, productive herd. Keeping our facilities clean helps keep our cattle clean, which in turn keeps them healthy, by reducing the risk of contamination or infection and the spread of bacteria. The "dirtiest" aspect of the dairy, is the Poop. Yep, the poop. An average, full grown, Holstein cow, weighing approximately 1,350 lbs., will produce approximately 2.17 cubic feet of fresh manure (poop and urine) Per Day. That's a lot of poop!
That's just what a single cow will produce, it does not include any additional waste, including bedding that they may drag into the alley or feed that may be pulled from the feed bunk. In order to keep our cattle housing areas clean, we use a flush system. An automated system "flushes" the alleys in our freestall barns at set intervals, multiple times each day, with a high amount of water. The speed of the water and the slope of the facility push the waste material to the opposite side of the barn, into a drain.
As you can see, standing in ankle deep water that's rushing past does not bother our girls! They continue to drink from the water trough (photo at top) and eat while the cleaning process takes place underfoot.
Once the water flushes the waste into the drain, it is pumped over to our manure separator. Nearly all of the water is recirculated back into the system to flush another portion of the barn. The remaining solid waste runs over a screen (box at top of the stairs below) where the majority of the solids are removed, run through the auger (to the right of the screen) and piled on a concrete slab. The remaining waste is then pumped into a holding lagoon. Once dried, this pile of solid waste will be spread over our fields to fertilize our crops.
As stewards of the land, it is important that we do all we can to maintain a clean environmnet, and by Recycling the Poop produced on our facility, we are reducing our waste output and providing for another aspect of our business at the same time. Gotta love the Poop!