Arm & Hammer has launched a new feed additive that helps manage the microbiology of manure pits to help producers alleviate these growing environmental concerns over manure storage odors from neighbors and consumers.
According to the company, feeding Certillus Eco delivers scientifically selected strains of bacteria that pass through the pigs’ digestive system directly to manure storage pits. These beneficial bacteria enhance fermentation in the storage system, breaking down the odor-causing components in the manure and improving the manure’s fertilizer value.
Pork producers work hard to manage manure by recycling nutrients and minimizing odors that naturally accompany it. Those odors can be unexpectedly expensive, as demonstrated by recent nuisance lawsuit rulings. Traditional odor control strategies include formulating highly digestible diets that limit excess nutrients, mixing additives into storage systems and covering manure storage to prevent gases from escaping.
“Certillus Eco is a more advanced way to control odors, working within existing management systems to manage the microbial populations at their source,” said Scott Druker, general manager, Arm & Hammer Animal & Food Production.
Managing manure microbiology
Most manure odors are caused by improper fermentation and bacteria imbalances in the storage system that allow the accumulation of volatile fatty acids, according to Arm & Hammer swine technical services manager Dr. Ellen Davis.
“It’s important to keep in mind that anything pigs eat and don’t digest ultimately ends up in the manure storage system,” Davis said. “That’s why it’s important to keep the microbial community in mind when adjusting diets.”
She said as rations change due to shifts in ingredient prices or nutrient needs at different growth stages, the microbiology of manure also changes. High levels of copper and zinc in the diet can kill off susceptible microorganisms as well. Such microbial changes create imbalances and fermentation problems that lead to increased odors and other issues, she added.
Davis pointed out that the beneficial bacteria in Certillus Eco maintain a proper microbial ecosystem in the manure pit, achieving a more efficient fermentation that reduces odors.
“The pigs apply the additive to the manure themselves, naturally distributing it throughout the storage system for effectiveness,” she said.
The company said its research with Certillus Eco shows that its microbiology effectively addresses odors, while also improving fertilizer value, feed efficiency and more.
A field study compared deep pit manure storage systems with and without the product in standard commercial feed rations. The pit sample analysis results from 217 barns revealed a variety of benefits to managing manure microbiology.
“Balanced microbial populations caused measurable differences in manure content,” Davis said. “For example, Certillus Eco numerically reduces odor-causing volatile fatty acids and bacteria that produce noxious gases. Those microbial changes diminish odor intensity in pig operations.”
According to the study, Certillus Eco impacts manure nutrient content in other ways that add value for pork producers, including:
- Increasing nitrogen content, retaining it for fertilizer and allowing less nitrogen to be lost as ammonia gas. Total nitrogen content increases with this probiotic, as well as aqueous ammonia-bound nitrogen and nitrogen bound to fiber.
- Reducing solids in the manure by increasing digestibility in pigs and supporting microbes that break them down in storage. Study samples show average decreases in both dry matter content and crude fiber.
- Cutting manure viscosity nearly in half. Manure flows more easily, supporting easier pumping, handling and application as fertilizer.
To effectively manage manure microbiology, the recommended feeding rate is about 0.5 lb. per ton of feed for sows, nurseries and grow-finish pigs. Pork producers should consult with their nutritionists to determine optimum feeding rates for their operations.