Super Soil Systems USA of Clinton, N.C., and soil scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have collaborated to develop a second-generation manure-treatment system that meets some of the strictest environmental standards in the United States. Significant cost reductions were achieved through innovations and on-farm testing, making the revamped system two-thirds less expensive to build and operate than the first-generation system.

The new on-farm treatment system used solid-liquid separation and nitrogen and phosphorus removal processes. It removed high levels of several pollutants from manure wastewater, including almost all of the pathogens, odor-causing constituents and ammonia. Replacing anaerobic-lagoon-based systems with the new technology also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97 percent.

As for the pigs, daily weight gain increased and feed conversion improved when the system was introduced. Mortality declined and 5.6 percent more hogs were sold per growing cycle.

Separated manure solids were converted into composted materials and used for organic plant fertilizer and soil amendments. The new system also offers potential profit by selling greenhouse-gas-emission reduction credits and water-quality credits, say researchers.

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