Swine Lagoon Management System

1994 Annual Report for FS94-012

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 1994: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1996
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $20,550.00
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Principal Investigator:

Swine Lagoon Management System


According to information from the Department of Environment and Conservation more than 85% of operating lagoon systems in West Tennessee are out of compliance with EPA guidelines. In Dresden County, where there are more than 80 swine and dairy lagoons, most are operating out of compliance. A waste management association has been formed to provide pumping equipment, but it cannot meet the needs of even 25% of available clientele. The existing lagoons are generally 10 years of age or older, with little upgrading in the recent past.

Most (if not all) of the swine lagoons in West Tennessee are in danger of being shut down from point source pollution, which would mean the end of an industry that grosses $40 million per year for a four-county area. Most producers are not convinced of the financial validity of investing in equipment that will allow them to comply with the regulations that will keep them in business.

1) Design a swine waste lagoon system to meet or exceed EPA guidelines.
2) Utilize lagoon effluent for irrigation and to provide acceptable levels of nutrients for intensive no-till cropping systems.
3) Maintain record keeping and cash flow program calculations, and monitor soil nutrient levels.
4) Host a field day to demonstrate lagoon management practices.

This project will demonstrate how to utilize lagoon effluent to provide acceptable levels of nutrients and irrigation for increased yields in intensified, no-till cropping systems while protecting surface ground water. The project will take place on 100 acres of no-till, intensified crop land that is part of a 1,350-acre family farm. A swine lagoon system will be designed to handle the waste from a recently added swine enterprise on the farm, which will expand from 85 sows in 1994 to 170 sows in 1995.

Project investigators will design the lagoon system in cooperation with state and federal regulatory agencies. The lagoon itself will be oversized in order to allow for winter storage of effluent, something that was overlooked in the design of many existing systems and is now causing problems for the producers. The participants intend to demonstrate that the cost of adopting environmentally sound waste management practices in order to comply with the law can be offset by increased yields and reduced fertilizer inputs.

The economic success of the lagoon system will be evaluated by an agricultural economist who will summarize records of cost analysis and field-by-field crop yields as well as nutrient-level yield challenges to validate expenditures.

Several on-farm field days are planned to demonstrate the system and encourage more cooperative planning among agencies and producers to adopt these lagoon management practices. The generated information will also be used in Extension publications.

No report was submitted for this project in 1995.