Liquid manures are most common with pork production where the manure is flushed from the building and stored outside in lagoons. Liquid manures are mostly water with some organic matter and nutrients suspended in the water. Most of the organic matter decomposes in the lagoons and is not removed.
While some livestock producers haul liquid manure in tankers, it is usually considered cost prohibitive. The amount of water is so great that the hours spent distributing it and the resulting dollar cost exceeds the value of the manure supplied nutrients when using tankers.
Liquid manure is usually pumped through pipes and hoses to the land that will be accepting the manure. This means that loading costs and transportation costs are relatively low. Once the manure is at the field, it can be applied with a tractor that pulls the dragline hose through the field or via an irrigation system. The irrigation system can be a stationary sprinkler or a single big gun sprinkler that must be moved periodically by the operator.
Other options include, a big gun sprinkler or a center pivot irrigation system that move automatically through the field. The center pivot irrigation system is usually too expensive to own just for liquid manure distribution; it is usually part of an irrigation system that also pumps clean water. The stationary and big gun sprinklers are inexpensive and easy to use.
Authors: Ray Massey, University of Missouri and Josh Payne, Oklahoma State University