Ithaka Institut

Liquid Manure Treatment

Biochar adsorbs efficiently Ammonia, Ammonium and other odorous organic substances. While in non-treated liquid manure lagoons more than 30% of Nitrate is lost to the atmosphere, the treatment of liquid manure with biochar, lactobacilli and rock powder nearly all Nitrogen can be stored in a plant available form. As the fertilizing efficiency further increase, the fertilizer capacity of the manure nearly doubles. 

Using biochar for the liquid manure treatment reduces leaching of the manure treatment to the subsoil, which protects the groundwater and avoids soil acidification. The biochar treated liquid manure enhances biological soil activity and helps for the build-up of soil organic mater. 

Recommended Quantities: 

0,6% - 1% (vol) Biochar based on the total volume of the liquid manure (if biochar is milled, the application quantities can be reduced)

Add the biochar regularly to the manure lagoon. 

Even more important than the application of biochar is the guidance of the microbial milieu in the manure. Bad smelling rotting has to be avoided. Putrid smells are an unmistakable sign of bad manure quality. To guide the microbial milieu, we recommend to use the commercial product EM-A or self produced IMO (indigenous microorganisms). Adding rock powder further helps:

0,1 % (vol) EM-active or up to  0,5% (vol) IMO
2-3 % (m/m) rock powder

Only a few days after the treatment, the lagoon will not smell bad anymore. However, soil application of the treated manure should be done only 20 days or more after the treatment to allow the microorganisms to finish their job. 

We suggest to start the liquid manure treatment when the lagoon is still rather empty. You can thus avoid nutrient losses and climate gas emissions. We further recommend to use biochar already in the bedding and to spray regularly EM-A and IMO in the barn.