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Filter System Removes ‘P’ from Dairy Manure While Retaining ‘N’

A manure treatment system under testing separates almost 100% of phosphorus from manure in a solid form, leaving a nitrogen-rich liquid ideal for fertigation.


Pictured Above: PROCESSING PHOSPHORUS. Developed by Penn State University and the USDA, the Manure Phosphorus Extraction System (MAPHEX) is a mobile treatment system that can remove 96-99% of phosphorus from dairy manure and is capable of treating 36,000 gallons of manure per day

One of the biggest challenges facing no-tillers, or those who want to adopt no-till, is how to manage their system when they have livestock and want to apply manure.

Some prefer not to incorporate manure and disturb their soil structure, but spreading the manure on the surface makes it more susceptible to runoff, which can be a problem for local water sources. The more manure there is on the surface, the more dissolved phosphorus (P) will be present in the runoff, says USDA Agricultural Research Service chemist Clinton Church.

However, injecting the manure — which can cause minimal soil disturbance, depending on the equipment — doesn’t solve the problem either. Church says research has shown injected manure has been shown to increase P leaching.

But researchers may have a solution. At the Wisconsin Discovery Farm’s Nutrient Management Conference last December, Church shared with attendees the Manure Phosphorus Extraction System (MAPHEX) that can remove P from dairy manure while keeping its nitrogen (N) content intact.

Extracting ‘P.’

Developed by Penn State University and the USDA, the MAPHEX system starts by separating the solids from the dairy manure through a Manure Monster auger press. This removes 80% of the total solids from the system, which contains 15% of the…

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Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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