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Ventilate and take other safety measures to prevent manure pit explosions


Fri, Oct 15th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

In several recent incidents in Minnesota and Iowa, explosions or flash fires have occurred in livestock buildings with manure pits. The explosions have, to date, mainly resulted in building damage, with few animal losses and no personal injuries or fatalities reported. Agricultural engineers, animal scientists, and an industry consultant recently developed recommendations to help producers deal with the potential for danger.

When liquid manure is agitated to suspend the settled solids and create a pumpable slurry, numerous gases are released into the air. Some of these gases are hazardous to people and animals (hydrogen sulfide and others), but methane, which is very flammable, is also released. If the methane concentration in the barn/pit reaches its explosion threshold of 4 to 5 percent (40,000 to 50,000 ppm) and there is an ignition source (such as a pilot light on a heater) in the barn/pit space, an explosion will likely occur.

Some key suggestions that will help address this problem include:

Provide continuous ventilation to prevent a gas build-up and increase ventilation during agitation to quickly dissipate released gases. Sufficient ventilation or exchange of air in the barn is essential to keep the concentration of methane below its explosive threshold. An estimate of what is sufficient air exchange in a barn while agitating and pumping its manure pit, is at least 2 to 3 times the minimum ventilation rate (or around 10 air changes per hour) for the barn. If the pit is full or nearly full, do not rely only on pit fans to supply this airflow rate, since these fans may be severely restricted. In fact, it may be better to use only wall fans to supply this air exchange while agitating/pumping the barn's manure pit since methane gas is lighter than air. Also, make sure your normal ventilation inlets are open and operating properly to ensure good air distribution in the barn. This is also important in preventing animal deaths (if animals must be present in barns) during agitation and pumping of the manure pit.

To prevent igniting an explosive concentration of methane, turn off heater pilot lights and other non-ventilation electrical systems (such as the feeding system) that might produce an ignition spark. Not providing supplemental heat in the barn may be problematic for cases when there are no animals in the barn or there are only small animals that require warmer inside temperatures. This may restrict when you pump man .....
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Free manure spreader calibrations available from the SWCD

Fri, Oct 15th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) reminds livestock producers that the SWCD offers free manure spreader calibrations. Fall is a good time to calibrate spreaders when manure is being applied to fields after harvest. The calibra ..... 
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Fall tillage management in wet soil conditions

Fri, Oct 8th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



Last Thursday, while watching the rain, the thoughts of an early easy harvest came to an end. I came across some information prepared by Crops Regional Educator Jodi DeJong-Hughes and Extension Agronomist Jeff Coulter in 2009. They addressed ..... 
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Small farm U

Fri, Oct 8th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



Times are tough, and maybe you are looking for an inexpensive small business venture on your land. Or, maybe you just need an engrossing hobby?

Either way, consider learning about some of your options at "Small Farm U" - Small Farm U ..... 
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Become a master gardener

Fri, Sep 24th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



The success of the University of Minnesota Master Gardener program starts with the quality and passion if its volunteers. It is the motivation, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the trained volunteers that make the Master Gardener program a value ..... 
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ALPACA FARMS NATIONWIDE CELEBRATE NATIONAL ALPACA FARM DAYS

Wed, Sep 22nd, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) invites you to visit their member farms and ranches on National Alpaca Farm Days on September 25th and 26th. This is a unique opportunity for the public to explore the many aspects of the alpaca l ..... 
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It's farm safety week-take a nap!

Fri, Sep 17th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



September 19 - 25 is Farm Safety Week. The suggestion to take a nap may sound like a contradiction, but University of Illinois Extension Safety Specialist, Bob Aherin, says taking a break can actually be one of the best things you do during ..... 
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Grain drowning

Fri, Sep 17th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture



Grain bins, gravity flow wagons, and trucks are involved in grain suffocations or grain "drownings" each year. Grain that flows out from the bottom through an auger or by gravity is much like quicksand. An adult can be pulled under the grain ..... 
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Local angus breeders recognized to owning proven bulls

Fri, Sep 17th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Rein Angus Farm, owns one bull, Julie Ann Abrahamson, owns two bulls and Philip Abrahamson, also owns two bulls listed in the 2010 Fall Sire Evaluation Report published by the American Angus Association® in Saint Joseph, Mo. All three breeders ..... 
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