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By Anne Loeffler, Rural Water Quality Technician, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority
An environmentally responsible manure storage should either contain or prevent all runoff. When rain falls directly onto an open solid manure storage, runoff is created. If this polluted runoff reaches nearby watercourses or field tiles, it can harm livestock, ruin human recreation and destroy fish habitat. The traditional solutions have been a concrete runoff tank or an earthen runoff storage. The disadvantage of these options is that they require both solid and liquid manure spreading equipment to pump and spread the manure.
Roofed solid manure storage is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to runoff tanks. A roof over a solid manure storage prevents rainwater from reaching the manure. Nutrient losses are reduced because no runoff seeps away from the storage. This type of storage works best for operations using a relatively high amount of bedding. Some farmers are also successfully composting manure in their roofed storages.
In some watersheds, farmers may be eligible for a CURB grant to build a roofed manure storage. The CURB program offers grants to help farmers clean up on-farm sources of water pollution. Contact your local conservation authority to determine whether your farm is located in an eligible watershed.
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