We have these delicious candies we sell in our store called “cow pies”. They consist of cashews, drizzled with caramel and encased in chocolate. Man are they delicious! However, today’s blog is about a different, slightly less yummy, type of cow pie. That’s right. Today we are going to be discussing manure.
Our cows are fantastic at recycling! They consume a specially designed mixture of grass, corn, grain, and hay and use those nutrients to produce high quality milk for us to make cheese with or have in our morning coffee! Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), there is another something they produce as well. Something a little less delicious (and a little smellier) but all the same full of nutrients!
By using natural nutrients we are able to… 1) Reduce waste. It’s hard to find other uses for this type of thing besides fertilizer. If we couldn’t use it positively we would have to find a way to dispose of it. And 2) reduce the use of man-made chemicals on our fields. As much as a bajillion cow pies really does not smell good, it’s really much better for our fields than chemicals shipped to us in a barrel.
In the past, farmers would apply manure all year around just to get rid of it. Now we only apply it when plants need it and store it in the rainy seasons. Because we have a tad bit of damp weather around here, we use lagoons to hold the rest of the manure until it can be applied properly. We store this natural fertilizer in our lagoons, which are built according to federal standards. These standards require farmers to line their lagoons with a super duper packed clay liner as well as a cured manure seal at the bottom. This seal provides ten times more protection than the clay alone. The combination of these layers together ensures no nitrates make it into our ground water!
Many farms go above and beyond what is federally required to guarantee the best care of their land. Soil testing, huge scientific studies, and water quality testing are all done to ensure dairies do not pollute the water. Farm kids (myself included) have grown up playing in the streams and rivers running through the farmland. Not only is it in their best interest for farmers to take care of their land economically speaking, but they have personal reasons as well.
If you would like to read more on “Cow Pies” and water quality, click here!