ben capozzi wrote:Hello!
Question: Does anyone have resources on how to remediate/recover/restore/purify a manure lagoon from a small dairy operation?
Background: I have an opportunity to work with my wife and her parents to develop a small part of their farm. I have big plans if I can convince her folks to let us use permaculture to put the farm back into production—it is a small, former dairy operation though they have about 300 acres of woods and fields, total. The plot we may be able to start with has a “pond” very near the top of the south-facing hillside we may start with BUT it is a former manure lagoon. And still full. The dairy operation ceased production around 2007, I think.
I'm not sure where to begin, what questions to ask, and what is possible. My father-in-law is deeply skeptical of anything “organic” let alone use of the word permaculture, so I'd like to have some solid thinking behind whatever is proposed. Converting the lagoon into a viable water source is not critical to getting things started, but long term it should be part of the agenda to bring this farm into a new model of restorative production.
Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks!
Jack Edmondson wrote:Ben,
If it were me, I think I would start with knowing what is still in the water. Have it tested. $206 is a small investment that may save a lot of time and trouble fighting things that may or may not be present:
With a breakdown of pesticides and other contaminants you will have a much better idea of what needs to be done.
Where are you located? Are you trying to certify produce from the land as organic; or just looking for healthy product? "Certified Organic" can mean a lot of things to different folks. If you are looking for certification ask the regulating body what its standards are. You may be surprised by levels that are allowed. Reality dictates that there may be some level of chemical from past practices. However, watering with the 'tea' may be out of the question. However, you won't know until you test a sample.
Andy Reed wrote:I have dairy farmed for 10 years, and yes all that effluent in the lagoon is a fertiliser resource to use, I've grown many veges in that stuff. What concerns me now about them is not the manure but all the dairy shed detergents that accumulate there. I'm sure it's not a big deal, but it always bugs me. I highly doubt there a pesticides in there, or herbicides, knowing farmers they are most likely dumped on the track on the way back from the field, not in the effluent pond.
Either way get a digger in, scrape out the bottom and the sides until you hit clay, but try not to take too much clay. Use that stuff around some trees if you are unsure about it. I guarantee that is a clay lined pond, most likely dug in an area with high clay content, once you remove the top layer it will be as clean as you can get it, and good to go.
William James wrote:Check out Ben Falk, he seems to have the same thing you have.
What he did was connected the top, manure pond with a few down-hill land features. He uses the top pond to "fertigate" lower ponds and swales.
The problem with manure lagoons is that they can be a source of pathogens, but if you're using it to fertilize other areas, then the pathogens are mitigated. Just don't plant lettuce next to the manure pond and you'll be fine.
ps: willows, mulberries, and cottonwood all make a lot of woody mass with the conditions you describe, and they do it fast. If you can captialize on the woody mass (chip, hugelkulture) then that's another way around the problem.