“I Can’t Believe You Have a Hog Barn Here:”

If you’ve ever driven north of Vail in western Iowa, it
seems like there’s a surprise just over every hill. In a
landscape untouched by the last glacier that scraped
across parts of Iowa thousands of years ago, those hills almost
hide Richard Rosener’s farm from a distance.
As you get closer to the Rosener farm, however, you notice
the well-kept buildings, neatly mowed grass and modern hog
barns. But there’s one thing you won’t notice—hog manure
odor. That’s no accident, says Richard, who raises corn and has
custom fed hogs since 1983. “My barns are just down the hill
from our house, so odor control is a big deal.”
The challenge
Richard is the kind of guy who pays attention to detail, from
the right amount of rock around his barns for rodent control to
odor management at his hog complex, which he built in 1998.
The site includes two barns with a total of 1,200 hogs. He pumps
out his swine manure pit twice a year and applies the manure to
his fields.
“It bothers me to no end when I smell strong odors from a
hog farm,” Richard says. “I want to be able to walk into my barn
without smelling overpowering odor. I also don’t want it to stink
when I apply manure to the fields.”
While Richard tried a variety of additives through the years
to control manure odor, with varying results, there was room for
improvement. “The manure always smelled for a few days or a
week after I applied it,” Richard said. “I don’t want people to
drive down the road and say, ‘That place smells terrible.’”
The solution
When Richard attended the Farm News annual farm show
a few years ago in Fort Dodge, Iowa, he listened to a manure
management/odor control seminar by Dr. Jim Ladlie, president
of ProftProAG in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Ladlie’s focus on
harnessing the power of microbes to reduce swine manure odor
resonated with him.
“For the last 19 years I’ve done tests with Iowa State
University on how micronutrients impact soil fertility and crop
yields,” Richard says. “Since 1978, I’ve also been interested in
the role of microbes in agriculture. Microbes are so important.”
Jim talked about Manure Master Plus, a biological manure
additive made up of an array of microorganisms that control
odor, reduce crusting and solids and ward off flies and other
insect pests.
“Jim is sharp, and his information makes you think,” said
Richard, who decided to try Manure Master Plus next time he
pumped manure from his pits.
The results
Richard started using Manure Master Plus in 2019. “It’s
simple to use,” notes Richard, who pours the product into the
manure scraper system in his barns.
Since he started using Manure Master Plus, Richard hasn’t
had a buildup of solids in his pits. “When you pump out the
manure, it pumps right down to the concrete,” he adds. “It’s a lot
different than those farmers who say their pit only holds half of
what it used to, because of all the solids building up.”
Odor has been a non-issue, as well. “After using Manure
Master in my hog barn pit, there was no odor present when I
emptied it last spring and this fall,” Richard says. “For 22 years,
I used another product for odor and solids, but this product is
far superior.”
What pleases him most? When people visit his farm and say,
“I can’t believe you have a hog farm here.”
ProfitProAG recommends using 40 gallons of Manure Master
Plus per 1 million gallons of manure annually. When starting
treatment, use 15 gallons per 1 million gallons of manure. This
first treatment should occur two to three weeks after spring or
fall pump-out, when the pit/lagoon is at its lowest capacity and
fresh manure has accumulated. Following that, use 2.5 gallons of
Manure Master Plus per 1 million gallons of manure each month
for 10 months.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what this product can do for
soil fertility and the other things Jim promises,” Richard adds.
With his inquisitive mind and focus on continuous
improvement, Richard is always interested in practical solutions
that benefit his farm. “Just having a tractor doesn’t make you
a farmer. You’re only a farmer if you keep on learning and
improving every year.”

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