Food processing wastewater >>> irrigation?

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
Hello all...

We are in the planning stage of building our farm buildings. Our mixed farm will consist of ~40 dairy cows and ~80 pigs. Cows will never be housed (on pasture all-year round) and pigs will be reared in the woodland.

The idea is simple... Milk the cows seasonally - around 9 months a year - and make cheese everyday. Then, when we're not making cheese, pigs return from the abattoir and we will make charcuterie.

In terms of buildings, we are putting up a small four stall tandem milking parlour which will be adjacent to our food processing unit. The food processing unit will also be modest and will be used only for cheesemaking and charcuterie making.

We are not on the sewage mains and thus we have two main sources of waste water. PLEASE, remember this is a really small operation and 40 cows will not necessitate a poo-lagoon or any water treatment facility.

Two main sources of waste water are:
1. Milking parlour washdown water. After scrapping the parlour down (to make farmyard manure) we will pressure hose the parlour. Thus, this wastewater will be made up of predominantly clean water. We will then mix this dirty water with the washdown water used for the milking line system.
--- We envision spreading this water onto pasture. It's not a lot of water but it's a cheap option.

2. There will be water from our food processing unit. Cheesemaking and charcuterie involves A LOT of washing down - of equipment and floors etc. This water will pass through a grease trap. Again, the composition of this waste water will be predominantly clean water used in the washdown process.
---- We hope to also spread this water onto pasture. There's not a lot of guidance on this?...

I was hoping that perhaps there was a small producer that has solved the wastewater problem? A cesspit & pumping is just too expensive...

Anyways... I am interested to hear any thoughts or questions!
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
1. You have grossly underestimated how dirty this water will be and the volume
2. Wash down twice, first wash is contaminated water, second washdown is more water but much cleaner. Divert this water to be used for the first washdown next time. Not to save water but to save the amount you need to dispose of.

You do need a cess pit or settlement tank of some sort and you will need to clean it out either pumped or emptied and dug out.
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
1. You have grossly underestimated how dirty this water will be and the volume
2. Wash down twice, first wash is contaminated water, second washdown is more water but much cleaner. Divert this water to be used for the first washdown next time. Not to save water but to save the amount you need to dispose of.

You do need a cess pit or settlement tank of some sort and you will need to clean it out either pumped or emptied and dug out.
Thanks for your input.

In terms of my estimation... I suspect that a pressure hose at 7 litres a minutes @ 10 minutes will yield 70 litres a day. My milking system line will need ~80 litres a day for wash down. Thus, from a milking parlour side, it'll be 150l of water. This water is mixed with a little cow poo and wee that remains in the milking parlour after scraping. It's common practice to spread this dirty water on a field as irrigation - 150 litres won't do much in the way of irrigation but will be a cheap removal.

So, if I have underestimated water, it's in the food processing unit. I've just used a rough 150 litres a day which I thing is conservative.

Interested in your thoughts...
 

sjt01

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
North Norfolk
Thanks for your input.

In terms of my estimation... I suspect that a pressure hose at 7 litres a minutes @ 10 minutes will yield 70 litres a day. My milking system line will need ~80 litres a day for wash down. Thus, from a milking parlour side, it'll be 150l of water. This water is mixed with a little cow poo and wee that remains in the milking parlour after scraping. It's common practice to spread this dirty water on a field as irrigation - 150 litres won't do much in the way of irrigation but will be a cheap removal.

So, if I have underestimated water, it's in the food processing unit. I've just used a rough 150 litres a day which I thing is conservative.

Interested in your thoughts...
We make 6000 litres a week approx into cheese, and use about 1 m3 of water a day, or 30 m3/month. Perhaps that will give you a guide. Where abouts are you?
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
I suspect that a pressure hose at 7 litres a minutes @ 10 minutes will yield 70 litres a day. My milking system line will need ~80 litres a day for wash down. Thus, from a milking parlour side, it'll be 150l of water.
I take it you have never done this job and I'm not convinced you have ever seen it either. Sounds more like some theoretical question posed by a lecturer.
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
I take it you have never done this job and I'm not convinced you have ever seen it either. Sounds more like some theoretical question posed by a lecturer.
I am sorry you are so cynical rather than helpful.

I have been milking 40 cows a days for 2 years. Concurrently to milking, I have been making cheese - i.e. the milk is moving from the milking parlour into my cheese VAT.

I understand that this may be foreign to you but it doesn't mean it's foreign to me.
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
We make 6000 litres a week approx into cheese, and use about 1 m3 of water a day, or 30 m3/month. Perhaps that will give you a guide. Where abouts are you?
Thanks a lot for this!

Are you making cheese everyday? 6,000 litres a week = ~850 litres per day.
To yardstick that - I imagine only every working with 280 litres a day.

I do understand however that water usage is not linear... Where does the bulk of your 1,000l a day come from?

I am near Midhurst, West Sussex.

Cheers!
 

sjt01

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
North Norfolk
Thanks a lot for this!

Are you making cheese everyday? 6,000 litres a week = ~850 litres per day.
To yardstick that - I imagine only every working with 280 litres a day.

I do understand however that water usage is not linear... Where does the bulk of your 1,000l a day come from?

I am near Midhurst, West Sussex.

Cheers!
The farm runs on borehole, the cheese room on mains as it keeps the EHO happy. We normally make 3 days a week, so there is time to deal with the cheeses, orders, cleaning down etc. Have you joined the SCA? http://www.specialistcheesemakers.co.uk/ Good technical support, brilliant parties on the annual farm visit and AGM (Covid permitting).
Our whey and the cow slurry goes into our anaerobic digester which provides electricity and heat for cheesemaking etc., but I guess your whey will go to the pigs. Charles Martell's whey fed GOS pork tastes fantastic.
Parlour washings and cheese room washings go to the dirty water lagoon, 350m3 for 110 milkers. It also collects rainwater from cow areas to avoid pollution. We pump out to a Briggs Rotorainer.
We may have some equipment we have grown out of for sale, let us know if you are looking for anything. Also the SCA have a for sale and wanted in the magazine. We started cheesemaking 20 years ago with 180 litres twice a month.
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
I am sorry you are so cynical rather than helpful.

I have been milking 40 cows a days for 2 years. Concurrently to milking, I have been making cheese - i.e. the milk is moving from the milking parlour into my cheese VAT.

I understand that this may be foreign to you but it doesn't mean it's foreign to me.
My apologies, I just find it astonishing you can wash out with so little water.
In my soil (sandy/well drained) that volume would probably run through a soakaway in all but the very wettest weather.
 

MickMoor

Member
Location
Bonsall, UK
My apologies, I just find it astonishing you can wash out with so little water.
In my soil (sandy/well drained) that volume would probably run through a soakaway in all but the very wettest weather.
I think that if you are going to be doing this absolutely property, you must take account of the wash down chemicals you will be using. Some will be strong acids or alkalis. The good news is, I believe if you spread it regularly through, for example, a Briggs irrigator, and rotate spreading areas, you can keep on spreading.
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
My apologies, I just find it astonishing you can wash out with so little water.
In my soil (sandy/well drained) that volume would probably run through a soakaway in all but the very wettest weather.
No problem. It certainly going against the grain...
I think it would drain through a soakaway but I don't think the Environmental Agency would allow it. But, irrigation, they would allow...
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
I think that if you are going to be doing this absolutely property, you must take account of the wash down chemicals you will be using. Some will be strong acids or alkalis. The good news is, I believe if you spread it regularly through, for example, a Briggs irrigator, and rotate spreading areas, you can keep on spreading.
Thanks a lot!
We are planning on using a Rotorflush for a pump to the irrigation device.

In terms of the chemicals -- we will use chemicals that are safe for the soil once neutralised with the dairy washdown water.
 

MickMoor

Member
Location
Bonsall, UK
Thanks a lot!
We are planning on using a Rotorflush for a pump to the irrigation device.

In terms of the chemicals -- we will use chemicals that are safe for the soil once neutralised with the dairy washdown water.
I don’t think a Rotorflush pump would deliver enough pressure for anything other than a very simple irrigator. A rotary one which winches itself along would need a progressive cavity type.
 

Exfarmer

Member
Location
Bury St Edmunds
In Midhurst you are on the Sussex weald which is normally very heavy soil and most certainly unlikely to be a good location for a soak away.
I doubt that you will want to keep cows outside for long as the poaching in winter will be quite extreme, unless you are on the South Downs
 

bigw

Member
Location
Scotland
Thanks for your input.

In terms of my estimation... I suspect that a pressure hose at 7 litres a minutes @ 10 minutes will yield 70 litres a day. My milking system line will need ~80 litres a day for wash down. Thus, from a milking parlour side, it'll be 150l of water. This water is mixed with a little cow poo and wee that remains in the milking parlour after scraping. It's common practice to spread this dirty water on a field as irrigation - 150 litres won't do much in the way of irrigation but will be a cheap removal.

So, if I have underestimated water, it's in the food processing unit. I've just used a rough 150 litres a day which I thing is conservative.

Interested in your thoughts...
7l/min? Are you using a garden hose! A decent volume washer will be more like 100L+/min
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
I've never seen parlour scrapings evolve into farmyard manure. The common term is slurry. Have a read up on ssafo regs.
We've spoken to Environmental England. If the solids are scraped and mixed with straw (and stored on an impermeable base and roofed) then they are classed as farmyard manure.

Then, if you hose down what's left you have "lightly fouled water" or "dirty water" which does not fall under the same regulations as slurry.

We will never be housing the cows so we will never have large amounts of poo.
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
7l/min? Are you using a garden hose! A decent volume washer will be more like 100L+/min
We will have minimal are to wash down and we will do it daily. Thus, a domestic pressure house will do around 7 litres a minute.

However, even the industrial ones are: industrial 415 volt or engine driven pressure washers will usually work at around 200 BAR with a flow rate of 15 litres per minute or more (https://www.britclean.co.uk/pages/pressure-or-flow.html#:~:text=Industrial 415 volt or engine,pump that is being used.)


So, 100l+ per min seems like a hell of a lot of water...
 

brettsacks

Member
Mixed Farmer
In Midhurst you are on the Sussex weald which is normally very heavy soil and most certainly unlikely to be a good location for a soak away.
I doubt that you will want to keep cows outside for long as the poaching in winter will be quite extreme, unless you are on the South Downs
Thanks for your input!

We are fortunate to be on sandstone in the South Downs. We have 1 small paddock that is clay and some woodland too but the rest is fast draining!
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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