GEA has supplied its top-performing Electromix pump to a farmer in Ceredigion, South Wales to pump sand-laden manure over 200 metres away from the cow shed to the slurry store. GEA believes that no other equipment on the market could come close to pumping the waste material such a long distance. The site is at Trefaesfach Farm in Ceredigion. Farmers Simon and Cristopher Stanfield decided to improve the housing for their dairy cows by building a new, 300ft-long shed, adjacent to the existing buildings. The Stanfields decided to use deep sand bedding as it is both comfortable for the animals and it helps to reduce the incidences of mastitis.
Tractor scraping was used to remove the sand-laden manure from the milking area however it still had to be moved from the shed in the most effective and economical way. Simon and Christopher called in Anthony Andrew, Farm Equipment Sales Manager for GEA, to work on the problem. Anthony suggested the use of a GEA Houle Cross Gutter scraper (CGS) to drag the manure along a 1-metre square underground channel to a reception pit at the end of the shed. The challenge from there would be to move the manure some 215 metres to the existing slurry store. "We don't usually move the slurry that far," said Anthony, "but I knew we could do it using the GEA Electromix piston pump."
GEA has supplied this type of equipment to farmers for many years and knows exactly what can be achieved, and what can't. "We know exactly how far we can pump slurry taking into account its consistency, the pipe size and the elevation," said Anthony. "We believe that our method of combining these parameters to establish the outcome, in advance of doing any work, is unique to GEA."
Anthony said that unlike the centrifugal pumps favored by some manufacturers, the Electromix (EMX) piston pump is like a "huge syringe", with a 60cm diameter piston inside the stainless steel barrel. A hydraulic pump moves the piston up and down with a 100mm ram. To reduce wear the pump does just four strokes a minute. This will move the manure from approximately ten cows' daily production in just one minute, for non-sand installations, but a little slower for thicker sand laden manures, depending on other factors to be taken into consideration.
Trefaesfach Farm has 300 cows and the Stanfields bed the cows liberally with up to ten tonnes of sand a day. "So the pump has to run for ≤60 minutes a day to clear the manure and waste sand," explained Anthony. Between the cow shed and the slurry store, GEA has recommended the installation of a 10-bar ABS plastic pipe that reduces friction as the manure moves through the pipe. No blockages have occurred as it is purged daily using compressed air. During very dry periods the manure can get very thick. This can be easily remedied by adding a few gallons of water from the volume washer or grey water from the parlor washings.
The system has now been in operation for 16 months and is operating perfectly. The Stanfields chose GEA as they already had GEA parlor equipment and a bulk milk tank on the farm and had received excellent service from GEA's local agent, RMS. "During the procurement process we had a quote from another company for the same type of pump," said Simon, "but they were not convinced their pump would do the job. We had absolute confidence in GEA right from the start." ”It is unusual to pump sand-laden manure over such a long distance, especially up hill," said Anthony. "But we have been supplying these pumps to the UK market for over nine years now and we knew it would work."
GEA has over 20 EMX pumps working in British farms; one farm has two pumps working in sequence to feed a Digester 23 hours a day. The Stanfields are now looking at the possibility of separating sand and liquid from the manure, to reduce the storage capacity needed, and they are working with GEA and RMS on the project.