In my last blog I talked about our ambitious plans for a new sty. And about our ideas to reduce ammonia emissions at the source. They’re great ideas I’m quite proud of, but ideas alone are not enough. They have to be well executed.
And we’ve already made quite a bit of progress on that front. As we had several rainy months at the beginning of the build, that set us back a bit, but since January things have really moved forward. First of all we had to pump quite a lot of water out of the ground. After that we started digging, and put a deep pit in the passageway of the sty. This is the pit where the manure from the different sections has to end up. In each of those sections we dug shallower pits and put in polyester gutters to link up the pits with the big one in the passageway.
Polyester fitting snugly in the concrete
This polyester sewerage system is new. It’s a unique system that’s never been used before. And I can tell you, it’s very exciting to try out something new. However, it might look perfect on paper, but will it actually work? What’s it going to look like in reality when it’s finished? Will the polyester fit snugly in the concrete? Won’t the polyester go lumpy? Those are the questions I’ve been asking myself for the last few weeks. And what also makes it exciting is that you have to trust other people to help make it happen. Because we needed third parties to execute our plan. We joined forces with Jovas Agro International, a company that specialises in sewerage technology. And slowly but surely we saw our idea becoming more and more real. Fitting snugly in the concrete with no lumps.
The point of the guttering was to reduce the size of the surface area, to minimise the contact between the manure and the open air, so less ammonia is released into it. And as well as making the ‘toilet’ smaller, we also wanted to lower the temperature, to slow down the enzymatic process. We called experts in for this as well. R&R Systems is a company that produces and supplies sustainable energy systems, and they finished off our new sewerage system. They sealed and insulated the back of the gutters where cold water would be pumped through. And that’s how we’ve kept the guttering cold and ammonia emissions low.
So the first important feature of our innovative sty is in place. We’ve also cast the floors now, and the sty structure is up. We just have to get the walls up and the ‘rooms’ will be finished. It’s getting closer and closer to being a reality. Our sustainable sty is almost there. Next time, I’ll write about our sustainable ventilation system.