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WORKING WITH COVERED MANURE STORAGE
From notes by Alan Willits, R.R. #1, Wingham, N0G 2W0 (519) 335-6422
Besides the benefits mentioned above, Alan went to covered storage because of its versatility. At times of the year when there's no manure, the storage can be used to house feed or equipment. If the nature of your operation changes, it will be of greater use than a concrete tank or lagoon, and doesn't present the same dangers. Looking back on the way he's done his storage, Alan thinks it's wiser to put up two buildings (i.e. one of medium size, and one smaller), or section a large one into two areas. This gives you the option of separating the uses you're putting the storage to at the time, uses that change through out the year. For instance, in fall you may have bales in the large section, and put manure in the smaller part. By spring both will likely have manure.
For construction Alan has used a variety of methods: a pole structure with pressure treated lumber; cement walls with a shed roof; and a pole structure lined with 2x2x4' cement blocks. If you're having the building done for you he figures the second option to be the best. However you choose to build it, Alan suggests you keep the following in mind: the floor should be concrete which is sloped to the back, as well as lipped on the back edge (6" min.) to prevent runoff; the roof must have a ventilated ridge cap; there should be walls on three sides to keep snow out; the smaller building should be large enough for use with a round bale feeder to provide covered feeding in spring and fall; and when building the manure pile, you must use enough straw to pack the manure well. Alan also cautions that if the storage is a lean-to alongside your main barn, you could have a gas buildup in the loft of the main barn when manure is heating and composting.
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