Reuse of dairy lagoon wastewater through SDI in forage crops

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Abstract

California has become the leading dairy products producing state in the USA. This has resulted in farms commonly milking several thousand cows per day. The care and feeding of the animals has produced large waste streams commonly collected and stored in lagoons. Environmentally safe handling and reuse of the lagooned wastewater is the objective of this study. A system of Subsurface Drip Irrigation (SDI) is described and the first year operation and results summarized. The system features a tube with a bactericide lining with an internal plug resistant emitter protected from root intrusion by an impregnated herbicide. A PLC with special software and a wireless phone connection provides for off-site control. The system operated satisfactorily during the first season producing commercially acceptable yields. The crop absorbed high levels of nitrogen from the wastewater. Special care is required in the feeding of the hay to animals. The concept shows potential as a means of recycling animal waste in an economical and environmentally sound manner.

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