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Waste Handling for Swine Production. Lori Marsh, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech. Swine Production. Swine production is most commonly accomplished indoors. Typically farms specialize in one of four production strategies: Breeding/Gestation; Farrowing;

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waste handling for swine production

Waste Handling forSwine Production

Lori Marsh, Associate Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech


Swine Production

Swine production is most commonly accomplished indoors. Typically farms specialize in one of four production strategies:



Nursery; and

Grow out.


Sows with piglets, shortly after birth.

Piglets in a nursery room.

Swine in a grow out room.


The manure handling system for swine production typically depends on the climate where the facility is located. In warmer climates, pigs are most commonly raised on slatted floors with a shallow pit below. Manure falls into the pit and is flushed out to a lagoon. The lagoon serves as an anaerobic treatment unit.

Typical lagoon for treating swine manure.


The liquid fraction of the lagoon is pumped out and land applied throughout the growing season. Typically, sludge is allowed to accumulate in the lagoon for several years before it is removed.

Lagoon effluent being applied to a pasture.


In cold climates, lagoons do not function well. In this case, swine are typically raised on a slatted floor over a deep pit. Manure is stored in the pit until it is land applied.

Application of manure pumped from a storage pit.


Some swine are produced on an open lot or on “deep pack.” This represents a small percentage of pork production.


Waste storage on deep pack is inside the building. Removal occurs at the end of the grow out period. The potential for composting this material is high.

bmp s for feed management
BMP’s for Feed Management
  • Applies to all production systems
  • Phase feeding to match nutrient requirements for growth stage
  • Use high-quality, highly digestible feeds
  • Lysine and other amino acids in diet allow reduction in protein (and nitrogen)
  • Minimize loss of feed/uneaten feed
  • Phytase to reduce added P and excreted P
bmp s for manure storage
BMP’s for manure storage
  • Adequate size
  • Keep rain water out—cover if economically feasible
  • Manage deep pits to minimize gas concentrations inside barn
  • Stock pile manure on impervious surface
  • Contingency plans for accidents/overflows
bmps for lagoon systems
BMPs for Lagoon Systems
  • Adequate size
  • Proper start up
  • Maintenance of embankment (vegetative cover, no trees, no rodents) including frequent inspections
  • Fresh water diversion
  • Pump and pipe maintenance/inspection
  • Markers to show waste level relative to freeboard and treatment volume
bmps for land application
BMPs for Land Application
  • Nutrient management plan
  • Agitate manure storage
  • Record keeping
  • Calibrate application equipment
  • Buffers and setbacks
  • Time application to meet crop needs
  • Incorporate or inject
manure treatment options
Manure Treatment Options
  • Liquid-solid separation systems
  • Composting
  • Anaerobic lagoons
  • Anaerobic digesters
  • Constructed wetlands
  • Emerging technologies, i.e. ”environmentally superior technologies”--North Carolina Waste Management Center
constituents of concern
Constituents of Concern
  • Nutrients (many references)
  • Pathogens (holding at 25 C for 90 d rendered manure pathogen free)
    • TatYee, G. and R.A. Holley.Pathogen survival in swine manure environments and transmission of human enteric illness-a review. 2003. J. of Env. Quality. Vol. 32, NO. 2, pp. 383-392.
  • Medicinal drug residues—No references found.