As we approach the changing of the seasons, we anticipate fall as the time when a year’s worth of work and planning finally reach fruition. These days, farmers can sit in the combine and watch the yield monitor go up and down. I think most farmers start planning for the next year before they finish harvesting their first field. Once the crops are out, farmers with livestock barns are pumping the pits. At that point, planning a strategy for next year’s pit management only happens if there is a problem found while pumping.
This year, if you are thinking ahead to different pit additives, let’s review why active bacteria in the pit are beneficial.
• Easy pumping – fewer solids make it easier and faster to completely empty the pit
• Fly control – floating crust in the pit is a breeding ground for flies
• Odor control – bacteria can tie up some of the most offensive pit gasses
• Nutrient value – bacteria lock valuable crop nutrients into the manure
If you are experiencing an issue in one of these four areas, perhaps using a pit additive should be considered in next year’s pit management plan. If you are currently using an additive and are still having problems, make sure you follow all the instructions. Products have precise instructions on when, where, and how much to add. For the best likelihood of successfully activating the pit, all instructions must be followed.
The products Sioux Nation Ag Center carries are backed by research showing their effectiveness in all four areas of benefits previously listed. The goal of pit additives is to get the bacteria in the pit to be active in a hostile environment of disinfectants, undigestested nutrients, soaps, etc. While pit additive products have similar goals, their strategies for achieving those results are different.
There are many pit treatment products available. Some add to the pit a multitude of hearty bacteria and microbes that can survive in such a harsh environment. These bacteria and microbes were chosen for their capacity to restore pit and lagoon biological balance and preserve that balance in the future.
Instead of adding bacteria, some products improve pit conditions by stimulating the growth of the existing bacteria. These products use activated carbon and humic acids to absorb contaminants and excess nutrients, causing these substances to become less bio-available in the pit system and the environment. The bio-stimulants are natural, and they act to incite resident microbial communities.
As you can see, these products work very differently and can provide a great one-two punch when dealing with pit problems. If you were not happy with the results of your pit strategy after pumping last fall, it could be time to consider using a pit additive. Evaluate the proven performance record and the cost of the product you are considering. If you already utilize an additive, perhaps it is time to rotate to an additive that uses a different approach.