Like all animals, dairy cows produce manure every day and manure management is a big part of a dairy farmer’s job. Dairy farmers don’t think of manure as waste – it is a valuable resource that is put to good use on and off the farm.

Girl collecting cow manureOn many farms, manure is collected, then separated into liquid and solid components and stored securely. Some dairy farms use equipment to separate the solid and liquid components and then the clean recycled solids can be used for cow bedding.

Manure storage facilities are strictly regulated, and dairy farmers work with local experts and government agencies to ensure best practices for manure management are followed.

Manure for Composting

Solid manure can be composted, and then used by farmers and even home gardeners. Compost can also be used as bedding for cows. Compost requires the introduction of oxygen, which stimulates microorganisms to convert the piled organic material to a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Manure as Fertilizer

The liquid portion of the manure can also be used to fertilize fields to reduce the need for purchased fertilizers.

Manure into Electricity

Some dairy farmers have taken manure recycling even further and installed methane digesters on their property. The digesters convert manure into clean, renewable electricity for the farm and surrounding community. Learn more about methane digesters’ role in sustainability here.

Dairy farmers are always working on new ways to use manure and ensure their farms stay sustainable for the future.

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