CLEAN WATER AND EMPLOYEE COMFORT – THE OTHER KEY TO PROFITABILITY

Farm workers feed our families and as farmers strive for growth, efficiency and automation to stay competitive, so must they look for more ways to keep their employees safe and productive. Even on the most state of the art operation, farmers and farm workers are still at risk for injuries and in some cases, workplace fatalities. It is estimated that every single day, approximately 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury in the U.S., and according to UC Davis, agricultural injuries cost the U.S. an estimated $7.6 billion in medical and lost productivity costs.

7.6 billion

Manure is a natural by-product of animal agriculture and it is a valuable crop fertilizer.

It can also be a gruesome hazard to employees.

Everyday risks associated with manure include tractors tipping into a manure pit, slips and falls in a dirty barn, and exposure to toxic gases including hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane. The dangers related to manure on the farm are very real. The good news is that manure treatment can eliminate these deadly risks. With less manure to handle and more access to clean water, farms become both cleaner and safer for employees. Increased safety on the farm will result in a greater sense of achievement for employees which has been found to increase morale. This improved morale can lead to consistently maintaining a higher level of productivity.

Farm workers are valuable, and working conditions on the farm will impact many aspects of an employee’s productivity. It is common practice to make today’s modern barns animal friendly, but it is just as important for them to be employee friendly.

Dangers of Manure

Clean barns will save you money!

While rates may vary, workers’ compensation coverage is required by all states and it can expensive. The good news is that farm owners play a big role when it comes to the amount of these premiums. Farms with good safety performance and return-to-work programs earn lower premium rates and in many cases, the option is available to reduce premiums through programs that create safer workplaces and encourage injury prevention. These premiums keep rising but producers can protect themselves against rising premiums by keeping claims to a minimum.

Equipment handling and exposure to raw manure pose some of the greatest safety risks to farm workers. By implementing manure treatment technology, barns will become cleaner. Clean environments are safe environments and better workplace safety leads to fewer claims. Fewer claims directly affect workers’ compensation rates and manure

Did you know that a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can lead to increased productivity? 

The health of the environment isn’t the only concern when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the farm. Manure storage and land application produces greenhouse gases which can also negatively impact human health. Exposure to manure has been linked to psychological stress and adverse effects on the respiratory system and even heart function.  When considering these risks, it is important to note that the LWR System can reduce ghg emissions by up to 80% which will have an immediate effect on air quality.

100 Workers

One way for livestock producers to improve long-term resilience and competitiveness is to implement manure treatment. When the volume of manure to be handled is dropped by 70%, there is less storage and more clean water which will translate into cleaner barns. By implementing the LWR System, producers are increasing workplace safety, decreasing insurance premiums, improving employee morale, and decreasing employee turnover; all of this combined will result in a positive impact on the bottom line.

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CLEAN WATER AND COW COMFORT… THE KEY TO DAIRY PROFITABILITY

How cow comfort improves your bottom line by increasing productivity and improving animal health and welfare. 

Every dairy, no matter the size, is always looking for ways to maximize milk production.  The one irrefutable factor that will maximize production every single time is cow comfort. This is true regardless of the management or nutritional program employed on any dairy of any size in any state. To maximize milk production cows need to be comfortable, and to maximize comfort, cows need to be clean.

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Dairy producers are committed to cow comfort however many are still building completely new facility that are based around a type of manure system that does not allow for maximized cow comfort, thus leaving both milk production and money on the table.

Manure management is so closely connected to animal comfort that some dairy producers are now designing their barns to include a manure treatment system that will increase cow comfort. They know that manure treatment is the next great advantage!

Several studies have found that dirty animals are risk factors for compromised health and production issues, such as mastitis, high SCC in milk, and lameness. In fact, environmental sanitation based on the amount of manure on the cow and in her environment is a predictor of the occurrence of coliform mastitis, and in  four separate study herds, the lowest incidence of mastitis occurred in the herd with “the cleanest cows and the most satisfactory beds.”

This all comes together in The Cow Comfort Link to Milk Quality where Dr. Cook proves that the cleaner the cows and the lower the bacterial count of the bedding, the fewer problems you will have! Mastitis is the most frequent and costly disease of dairy cattle, and production losses due to subclinical mastitis on dairy farms in the United States have been estimated to exceed $1 billion dollars annually.

Dr Cook.jpg

Not only does cow comfort dramatically increases when cows are housed in a clean and dry environment but there is also a known association between cow cleanliness and milk quality as measured by somatic cell count.

FACT: Clean barns prevent bacterial growth, and it’s that bacterial growth that contributes to high somatic cell count and mastitis. If cows have manure on their feet when they move back to the freestalls after milking, that manure gets rubbed onto the teats and the floor of the udder area. This is a primary reason why some herds that appear to have relatively clean cows have significant levels of environmental mastitis. Dirty herds with cleanliness problems will have lower milk yields and higher SCC when compared with clean herds.

Dairy producers are committed to keeping barns and alleyways as clean as possible, and the best possible way to keep barns clean is by implementing manure treatment technology that will return clean water back to the barns.

bedding.jpg

Clean and dry bedding is another key to cow comfort. When a barn is clean and dry, the cows will be more comfortable. When a cow lays down on clean, comfortable bedding, her blood flow increases and therefore so does her milk production.

Research shows that that a standing cow circulates 25% less blood flow through her udder than a lying cow. When hours of rest and production were compared it was found that each hour increase in resting time resulted in a gain of 1.7 kg (3.7 lb) of milk production (Bach, 2008).

Increased lying time also has a potential benefit for fetal growth. Significantly more blood flowed to the gravid uterine horn when cows were lying relative to when they were standing during several stages throughout the gestation period (Nishida et al., 2004).

Cows are also influenced by the cleanliness of the surfaces and bedding in their motivation to lie down.  They prefer clean, dry and soft surfaces for rest. This cleanliness aspect can also impact the time needed to lie down as it takes longer for cows to lie down when surfaces are covered by manure and can tend to be slippery (Popescu et al, 2013)

Studies have also shown a significant link between the lying duration and the percentage of cows with dirty upper legs/flank and udders (Devries et al., 2012, Popescu etc al, 2013).

Now we just wish we could increase our own productivity while we’re laying down!

When it comes to the type of bedding cows prefer, sand is preferable for many reasons. It is resistant to bacterial growth and with a lower level of pathogens, sand has become increasingly popular. However if not stored and handled properly, sand can become contaminated. Using clean water to flush and wash sand increases drying time and creates a cleaner, more comfortable environment.

Profitable farmers are those who are continually seeking out bottlenecks that interfere with their goals. The manure bottleneck is one that is preventing a farm the ability to grow, affecting cow comfort, and ultimately costing farms money.

The LWR System keeps bedding and barns as clean and comfy as possible, which encourages laying down and keeping cows as clean as possible when they do lay down.

The implication is clear: Clean cows are comfortable cows,  comfortable cows are profitable cows, and cows and manure simply do not belong together!

Cows and Manure.jpg

Tune in next week as we examine the link between employee comfort and your bottom line: How clean water increases productivity, reduces turnover, and improves safety on the farm!

Always Be Innovating

Hey guys, Jenkins here.

Did you know that at LWR we’re committed to constant research and product development? We also live by my personal motto: Always be innovating!

It really is true that our team never stops innovating. We are passionate about what we do and driven to offer livestock farmers state of the art manure treatment technology that is cost effective, efficient, and user-friendly!

We have come a long way since our first system was first launched in 2011. Over the past 7 years we have learned a ton about manure. Our team has spent countless hours running the equipment, analyzing the data (courtesy of me, of course!) and listening to feedback from the producers who are actually using the system. By combining all the complaints, kudos and recommendations we have been able to exponentially improve almost every aspect of the LWR System. We’ve taken some stuff out, made a lot of things better and have even found ways to give farmers more control over their nutrients than they’ve ever had before. In fact, we’ve made so many improvements that we needed to give the LWR System a brand-new name!

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the LWR2 (pronounced LWRsquared)!

LWR2

The upgrades to this next generation system include:

  • Drier solids
  • Greater control
  • Reduced capital costs
  • 20% smaller footprint
  • Reduced cleaning cycles
  • Fully automated for reduced labor cost
  • Improved membrane technology to reduce fouling
  • Lower cost of consumables than ever before!

I’m sure you’re thinking that with all of these advancements we’ve had to raise the price. But guess what? We didn’t! And we’re even offering 15% off during World Dairy Expo!

If you happen to be at the show this week, be sure to come by and say hi so I can tell you all about it!

~Jenkins

Manure Happens… Then What Happens Next?

manure happens

To most people, manure is somewhat of a stinky subject, but to me it’s a tantalizing topic! I strongly believe that as we become more and more focused on eliminating waste, soon manure-talk will be just as common as the recap of last night’s ball game.

Farmers have always been the best when it comes to repurposing waste, but now more than ever the way manure is being transformed is nothing short of amazing.  Not to mention, seriously eco-friendly!

Manure is being used for:

  • crop growth
  • gardening
  • carbon source
  • power
  • and of course, water reuse!

You may be wondering how this excessive resource could have so many practical functions…  well let me tell you about a few of the marvelous inventions that support a catch phrase that I am personally very passionate about: “Don’t waste perfectly good waste!”.

It’s no secret that manure is an excellent fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other important micro-nutrients. It adds organic matter to the soil which contributes not only to increased crop yields, but to higher quality food. But what if we could take that fertilizer one step further…cowpots

Introducing CowPots! These are essentially bio pots that are actually composed of cow manure! They are 100% biodegradable, natural, sustainable, and recycled and they completely eliminate the need for plastic. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a garden, I want to smell flowers not manure… and that’s the best part! CowPots have no odor and I guarantee that if I didn’t tell you what they were made of, you’d never even know!

Another awesome innovation that is combating environmental issues is called “Charcrete”, or biochar which is used as a carbon source. Biochar is made from manure and obtained after thermal treatment of the waste through pyrolysis. It can be used as an additive for concrete elements at a ratio of up to 80% and can even be used as a substitute for sand – reducing the weight of a material by a factor of five! By directly using it as a compost supplement, the natural carbon cycle is preserved. The U.S. cement industry accounts for approximately 1.5% of U.S. CO2 emissions, so this technology could make a significant impact on our planet.

biocharr

Now, when we consider the future of our planet, we always talk about our sources of energy and how are we going to sustain power while still being good to the Earth. That’s where methane energy, or biogas (which is a mixture of methane, carbon dioxide, water and hydrogen sulfide) comes in! It’s is made by the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter (manure) and can be compressed or transformed into thermal, electrical and mechanical energy.  So, it’s totally possible to power your vehicle AND provide electricity to your home with “manure-fuel”!  Don’t believe me!? Check this out!

mth

Talk about the future of what’s left behind!

Last, but certainly not least, my personal favorite way to repurpose manure is to turn it into clean drinking water!  And the best part? The LWR System is compatible with every technology I mentioned above so it’s possible to have Cowpots, electricity, and make biochar and fertilizer while also recycling clean water!

If you ask me, manure may very well be the answer to a lot of the world’s crises – especially since it is so versatile across different industries. Who knows what we will come up with next…

Well, I gotta run! All of this manure talk is giving me ideas- off to the Innovation Center!

~Jenkins

From Zero to 150 and Beyond…

As Canadians get ready to celebrate their 150th anniversary this weekend, they will also be celebrating over 150 years of farming innovation. A lot has changed since 1867 – most notably I sure wasn’t around back then!

Advances in modern agriculture have allowed farms to expand in size, add workers – or reduce them in some cases, increase production, and even extend the growing season. A farm that used to feed five people now feeds 120 and what used to take an entire day to harvest can be done in just minutes! Even dairy cows have become more efficient. The modern dairy cow, with the help of some automated milking technology, improved genetics, and optimized cow comfort, can produce 8 times more milk than she used to!

Now, I’m a manure expert not a milking expert, but I do know that a comfortable and safe cow is a happy cow. That’s why my personal favorite milking technology is DeLaval’s Voluntary Milking System, or VMS. Its special features allow for increased thermal efficiency, constant health monitoring, and faster visible results! Canadian dairy producers from both sides of the country are using this technology. Heeg Dairy Inc. and Legendairy Farms are just a couple of the many producers who are leading the industry into a new era – way to go Canada!

All of this talk about the past 150 years has got me wondering just what food production is going to look like in another 150 years. Flying combines?? Maybe. More robots?? Definitely!

While we still haven’t seen any flying cars – or combines for that matter, modern farms do use flying drones to identify potential problems before they become an issue. These drones can also calculate the optimum time to fertilize and irrigate to maximize water and nutrient application efficiencies.

Over the past 150 years, advances in agriculture have made it possible to grow more with less, and you can bet that even more innovative technologies will emerge – in fact, we’re working on some pretty cool projects right here at our Innovation Center… but you’ll have to stay tuned for more information on that!

Modern agriculture is definitely ahead of the game when it comes to implementing technology and using flying inventions, and at the rate the world is evolving it’s astonishing to even imagine what could be next.

Who knows, maybe we’ll even grow crops on Mars one day…

Keep innovating and Happy Birthday, Canada!

~ Jenkins out!

June is National Dairy Month!

Dairy is consumed 365 days a year, but for 30 of those days it’s got the spotlight!

Hi everyone! My name is Emlyn and I am a Communications Student at Mount Royal University. I have joined the LWR team for the summer and I am learning a LOT about the dairy industry. Did you know that June is National Dairy Month!? Get out your ice cream scoop because if ever there was a time to indulge in some dairy – now is the time!

June_Dairy_Month_Logo1

Celebrate dairy month with two (or three!) scoops of ice cream on your cone, a big scoop of butter for your baked potato, real cream in your cup of coffee, a deluxe five cheese pizza, or simply a large glass of delicious chilled milk to wash down some cookies! Whatever your favorite dairy product may be- now is the time to indulge.

Not only is dairy a delicious food source, but it’s also great for your overall health! It’s recommended that you consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products every day. There are nine essential nutrients found in dairy products: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin. The nutrient content promotes bone health and reduces risk of high blood pressure, it also helps to protect against certain cancers.

National Dairy Month marks its 80th anniversary this year! Beginning in 1937 and formerly referred to as National Milk Month, this month-long tradition has served as a reminder of just how heavily we rely on dairy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t even want to imagine a world without ice cream, whipped cream, or coffee cream! So join us in showing your appreciation to dairy farmers by simply enjoying dairy products whenever possible (and don’t be afraid to have extra, there’s no better motive).

Fun Facts

  • Human beings have been consuming cows’ milk for about 10,000 years
  • Cows have no upper teeth, they curl their tongues around grass and swallow it unchewed
  • Most cows chew at least 50 times per minute
  • The pattern on a cow’s fur is unique- no two cows have the same coat
  • Dairy processing plants first began to use paper cartons to package milk in 1906
  • The ice cream cone was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
  • The world’s tallest ice cream cone was over 9ft tall and was scooped in Italy
  • A cow gives enough milk to make two gallons of ice cream per day, 730 gallons per year
  • It takes three gallons of milk to produce one gallon of ice cream
  • Fresh milk will stay fresher longer if you add a pinch of salt to each quart

That’s it for now. I hope you learned something new about the dairy industry – I know I did! I look forward to sharing more of what I discover this summer, so stay tuned!

– Emlyn

We’re Half Way There!

It’s been a cold, wet, and snowy winter for just about everyone this year, but guess what!? We are officially in the dead of winter… and that’s not a bad thing!

jenkins-snow

The dead of winter is the point where there is more winter behind us than in front of us, which means that Spring is just around the corner. You could say that it’s all down hill from here!

As most of us stay hunkered inside our warm homes, cars, and offices, let’s not forget about all of the farmers out there who are braving the coldest days of winter to keep their animals fed, watered, and milked! While most of us might get the occasional snow day, cold winds, deep snow, and freezing temperatures don’t stop farmers from caring for their animals. We really do appreciate all that you do to keep food on our tables 365 days a year – regardless of the snowy cold conditions outside. Stay safe and warm out there and thank you for all that you do to feed our families!

Winter is not over, and you can bet that there will be some cold, snowy days ahead of us, but doesn’t it make it a little easier knowing that we have made it to the half way point and are one step closer to those dog days of summer!

How One Farm took 500 Trucks Off Of Their Local Roads

Manure Truck

BEEP BEEP BEEP WHIRRFFFTT WOOOSH!

….. There goes another one!

We all know that manure is full of valuable nutrients that are essential for crop growth. Manure can also help improve soil quality and structure.

We also know that over applying nutrients can lead to groundwater contamination and the spread of pathogens and parasites that can affect both human and animal health. 

So how can we use nutrients in a way that will optimize crop growth, while at the same time minimize potential risks to the environment?! One of the best ways to do this is through strategic nutrient application – putting the right amount of nutrients on the crops that need them most, and not spreading manure nutrients where they won’t be utilized.

Moving nutrients to various fields is an imperative part of nutrient management plans. But when it comes to hauling manure, road weight restrictions, traffic, and soil compaction are just a few of the challenges that you have to consider.

While manure haulers go out of their way to ensure the safe transport of valuable fertilizers away from local farms, there is no denying that more and more trucks on local roads increases the risk of danger.

McCormick Farms, located in Bliss, NY, is currently recycling approximately 70% of their liquid manure into water so clean you can drink it!

7,500 to 9,000 gallons of reclaimed water a day is being used for parlor clean-up and flushing, which eliminates at least a truck and a half off the roads every day.

Over the course of a year, this adds up to 500 truckloads of lagoon water that doesn’t have to be hauled and spread on fields. 500 less trucks on local roads means reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less environmental risk, better agronomic practices, less compaction, less traffics on local roads, and better for the neighborhood – that’s amazing!

Sometimes the best there is can also be the best there ever was! 

I’ve just spent the week in Madison at World Dairy Expo and I can tell you that there is simply no better place in the world to check out the latest and greatest in dairy technology and innovation. While we still have one more day to check out all of the vendors, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about one in particular. Sometimes, the best there is can also be the best there ever was…

LWR’s team of manure treatment experts scours the globe finding the absolute best when it comes to complementary technology to offer our clients. Every now and then I will be highlighting some of that technology on this blog, and today I want to tell you why we stand behind FAN Separators as the #1 screw press on the market when it comes to LWR fertilizer solids.

FAN Separators were the pioneers in separation technology and were the very first to bring the screw press to market. After working with a number of other providers, our product development team has unanimously agreed that there is no better press on the market to handle nutrient loaded materials. Not only does the FAN Separator produce the highest dry matter solids, but it pushes more product through quicker.

With an intricate service network, FAN Bauer ‎is committed to offering their clients outstanding customer service. They are the #1 in their field, and the only screw press recommended by yours truly when it comes to manure sludge.

You’ll find them here at World Dairy Expo in the Exhibition Hall (booth 1115).

Tell ’em JENKINS sent you!

These Are a few (50) of my Favorite Things

It’s safe to say that no dairy event in the world compares to World Dairy Expo. Not only is it a showcase of the worlds finest dairy cattle, but it’s the place to be to learn about cutting edge research and state of the art technologies. 

I’m here in Madison, Wisconsin for the week to learn everything I can to help make our technology better for dairy producers. (We already think it’s pretty good, but at LWR we never stop innovating!) 

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of World Dairy Expo, I’d like to share with you my list of the 50 things I love most about World Dairy Expo.  Drum roll please…………… Here they are, in no particular order:

1. The cows

2. The seminars

3. Checking out new technology

4. $2 grilled cheese sandwiches (thank you Collegiate Farm Bureau at UW-Madison

5. Virtual Farm Tours

6. Learning about trends in the dairy industry

7. The International Brown Swiss Show

8. Networking opportunities 

9. $1 milk shakes

10. The cows (did I say that already?) 

11. The beautiful colored shavings in the show ring

12. Meeting with our exclusive group of Legacy Clients 

13. The International Holstein Show

14. Dairy demonstrations 

15. The Purple Cow Gift Shop

16. Checking out all of the social media posts with these Wold Dairy hashtags:

          #celebrate50

          #wde50

          #worlddairyexpo

          #wde16

17. The International Red & White Show

18. Ice cream

19. The largest dairy focused trade show exhibit in the world

20. The cows (I just can’t get enough of them!) 

21. The Steel Cow – seriously, check them out! 

22. Meeting over 75,000 attendees from all over the world

23. Learning all about genetics

24. Exploring the city of Madison 

25. Dairy Happy Hour

26. The International Guernsey Show

27. All the candy collected from the exhibitors – honestly, it’s better than trick or treating!

28. Speaking of candy, there is a ton of free swag too!

29. Meeting members of the FFA and 4-H

30. The World Forage Analysis Super Bowl

31. The cows (they really are the greatest!) 

32. Drinking delicious Wisconsin milk

          a. white

          b. chocolate 

33. Relaxing after a long day with a stroll along the Lake Monona shoreline

34. The 50th anniversary historical display

35. The International Jersey Show

36. Collaborating with some of the smartest people in the dairy industry

37. Sneaking away to visit the State Capitol 

38. Breakfast at the Marigold Kitchen 

39. Taking in the beauty of Lake Mendota

40. The International Shorthorn Milking Show

41. Visiting the Bonnie Mohr exhibit 

42. The cows…. I mean, after all they are the reason we’re all here! 

43. “Expo in the Evening”

44. Deep fried cheese curds 

45. So.Much.Cheese

46. The International Ayrshire Show 

47. The Parade of Champions

48. The Supreme Champion 

49. Celebrating 50 years of dairy innovation

50. The cows 

Well, there you have it! That’s my list! Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear about your favorite part of World Dairy Expo?? 

Until next time, 

JENKINS