BioAg Case Study No 32: Rod and Jenny Crawford Numbaa, NSW

Rod Crawford now has 90,000 litres of usable slurry water from the family’s 800-cow operation, which is far cry from the crusty situation he faced before he treated the ponds with Digest-it in September 2009.

Rod and Jenny Crawford solved a mucky problem last year.

The high octane farmers, who run the successful Coolea registered Holstein herd, within their 800-cow operation at Numbaa via Nowra in New South Wales, were wrestling with two inefficient effluent ponds.

Crusty pond before Digest-it for Effluent

Both ponds were supposed to be feeding centre pivot irrigators with nutritious slurry, but blockages at the ponds and at the irrigators were wasting an estimated 90,000 litres of water every day. It got to the point where the slurry was unusable.

The problem was compounded by the installation of a feed pad two years ago. The additional effluent solids overwhelmed the existing effluent system.

Rod also installed a solids screen separator late in 2008 and he had the primary pond cleaned in February 2009 to remove the “putrid” sludge and slurry build-up from the bottom, in addition to clearing the one-metre deep crust on top of the pond.

“This new system seemed to work well for three to four months,” Rod said.

“But during winter in 2009, the primary pond started to develop a three to four-inch crust on the top again. To make the situation worse, there was also the additional rain water coming of the feed pad, so that spring we put three additional ponds in to handle the extra water and effluent.”

Rod also installed filter screens in the irrigation pipeline that supplied effluent water to the centre pivot irrigators. But, the slurry build up continued to hamper Rod and Jenny’s efforts to make efficient use of the effluent water for their irrigation.

The couple are used to making things happen and they are not afraid to think outside the box – they knew they urgently needed a resolution and they turned to BioAg’s Digest-it® for Dairies.

Digest-it is a fermented culture, developed to help create and maintain a balanced microbial environment in effluent ponds.

Simply by pouring a small amount of the ready to use liquid product on to their yard before the wash down every day, they have not only broken up their effluent pond’s crusty surface (by stimulating the microbial digestion of organic matter), they have also eliminated the smell historically associated with manure ponds.

Product featured in this case study

Digest-it for Effluent