Slurry additive Eminex® solves old problems and makes slurry storage more environmentally friendly: Professionals report
Eminex® by Alzchem is a newly developed slurry additive that is specially designed to make slurry storage more environmentally friendly. The product has been on the market and available to progressive livestock farmers since September 2021. Not onlythe environmental credentials convinces, Eminex® also provides a solution to some age-old problems faced by many livestock owners. We interviewed three dairy farmers and asked them about their experience of using Eminex® in practice.
Ingo Harms’ farm: No foam formation
Ingo Harms runs a dairy farm comprising 140 dairy cows, a loose cubicle housing system and 101 hectares of farmland in the East Frisian village of Ihlow. In the past, storing slurry over winter was a challenge for him. “A layer of foam 50 to 60 centimetres thick ran over the slats in some places. This took up a lot of storage space for us. The fermentation odour coming from the foam also caused the cows’ eating performance to drop. Once it reached a certain capacity, the slurry pit could no longer be stirred, which meant we had to spread the slurrywithout being able to stir it up first. As a consequence, a higher proportion of thick slurry remained in the slurry pit”, explains Harms. While searching for an additive that would homogenise the slurry and prevent foam formation, he happened to come across Eminex® in late 2021. When he first applied the product in early 2022, he stirred in two kilograms per cubic metre of slurry. “We simply lifted a big bag over the slats with a loader”, says Harms. The additive that had been tipped onto the slats was then added to the slurry using a big bag dispenser. At this point, the pit was half full. Eight weeks after he applied the product, Ingo Harms is still very happy with the results – homogenised slurry with no foam or crusting. “Despite the pit being quite full, the slurry is still much more consistent and visibly fluid! The cows also maintained their performance over winter. I put that down to the lack of foam this year too. We didn’t expect to see such clear results”, explains Harms excitedly, and adds, “we want to use Eminex® for our young stock in future too. The slurry in this area of the farm is especially thick due to the amount of straw we use. We spread the slurry onto our 70 hectares of permanent grassland using a drag hose or trailing shoe applicator, so I’m hoping the improved consistency will make it easier to spread. The runnier and more consistent the slurry, the better it penetrates the soil and the better the nutrient utilisation. This is hugely important for our farm given its location in a water protection area. It also has the significant side effect of preserving nitrogen in the farm's circular economy and increasing the value of the slurry”, summarises happy customer Ingo Harms.
Gerrit Eberhards’ farm: Comparative effect of Eminex®
Along with his family, Gerrit Eberhards runs a dairy farm in Friedeburg, Lower Saxony that had a new loose cubicle shed for 160 dairy cows installed two years ago.
When he first applied Eminex® in autumn 2021, his expectations were clearly defined: the slurry was to be more fluid, its methane emissions reduced, and less foam was to form on the slurry. “In order to directly compare the effects of Eminex®, we only used the product in one slurry pit”, explains Eberhards, who was not completely convinced of the product's effectiveness before he applied it. At the start of the ‘product test’, there were around 600 cubic metres of slurry in the pit. One kilo of Eminex® per cubic metre was added to the slurry via the big bag dispenser and mixed in using the slurry mixer situated in front of the cubicle building. The farmer was not disappointed with the results. In fact, he was impressed: “The initial differences were visible as early as December. There was much less foam formation in the Eminex® pit. This pit didn't have any crust formation either. When compared directly with the other pit, that was a major difference. To maintain this effect now that the amount of slurry has increased to 1,200 cubic metres, we added more Eminex® in early 2022”, says Eberhards. According to his estimations, the product definitely represents value for money: “We have nine slurry pits in total on our farm, so crust removal is a very labour-intensive activity. Eminex® enables me to save valuable time stirring the slurry, which of course saves money too”, says the farmer, adding, “we spread our slurry directly onto the ground, so I’m hoping that with the knowledge we've gained about the effectiveness of the additive, we’ll be able to improve our slurry spreading operations even further due to the enhanced fluidity of the slurry. I also hope that the slurry itself will be more effective due to the more consistent nutrient distribution and a combination of mineral and organically bound nitrogen.” Eberhards plans to spread the slurry he's treated with Eminex® right alongside the untreated slurry in order to identify any potential differences in the ‘enhanced’ slurry. The farmer's verdict is already certain, however: “Eminex® has impressed us so much that we have decided to use it in our other slurry pits in future too.”
Dirk Janssen's farm: The journey towards greater acceptance
“I'd like the milk we produce to be carbon-neutral in future”, proclaims 30-year-old Dirk Janssen, who runs a dairy farm of 220 cattle alongside ten neighbouring holiday homes in the village of Neuharlingersiel, Lower Saxony. “With our farm’s public image in mind, I was looking for a product that could reduce the emissions coming from our slurry. In early November last year, I came across Eminex®, which we applied at a ratio of one kilo per cubic metre of slurry to great effect”, explains the graduate farmer. There was no foam on the slurry, nor any crusting.
“In order to convince ourselves and, above all, our holiday guests of the effectiveness of the product, we started a comparative test of treated and untreated slurry in parallel.” The test involved filling two containers with 10 kilos of slurry each, one treated and the other untreated, then hermetically sealing them and connecting them to a gas projector. After two weeks of storage, methane was visibly accumulating in the gas projector of the untreated slurry, whereas no evidence of gas formation was found in the gas projector connected to the Eminex®-treated slurry. “Now, a few weeks later, the gas projector of the untreated slurry is at bursting point, while the Eminex® in the treated slurry container continues to have a lasting effect”, reports Janssen. But it's not only the methane reduction that the farmer and the holiday guests he's talked to so far appreciate. “Something else I find brilliant with Eminex® is that it minimises odours in the cattle shed. That goes down really well with our holiday guests”, says the farm manager enthusiastically.
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