Manure’s Annual Easter Gift to Devils Lake, Lenawee County, Michigan

April 11, 2019

Just like clockwork, every year. Same field, just across the road from the south side of Devils Lake. Devils Lake is the headwaters of Bean Creek, which becomes the Tiffin and eventually the Maumee River in Ohio. Manure tankers were out in force, new ones pulling up every few seconds to refill the dump box, then leaving to get another load and returning. Just like an assembly line. That’s why they call it factory farming, right?

Brown stuff on the field, but it didn’t smell like chocolate Easter bunnies. Nope, the familiar ammonia/hydrogen sulfide, eye-watering, throat-hurting stench of cattle manure was beginning to bloom.

04.11.2019 Devils Lake, Manure application in rain

Keep driving … follow the smell

04.11.2019 Dump Box setup, Devils Lake Manure application

The dump box setup.  Liquid manure is hauled by tanker and emptied into the red box, where it is pumped out through the long dragline hose that’s attached to the manure application equipment at the back of the tractor.  The dump box is ground zero for this operation.  In order for all of this to take place, manure has to have a solids content of less than 6 to 8%.  When you add enough water to manure so that it can pass through these pumps and equipment, you can no longer control where it ends up.  Especially when it’s applied over our vast network of unidentified subsurface drain tiles.

Keep driving …

04.11.2019 Dragline hose - Manure application Devils Lake

Here it is.  Dragline hose in the foreground, attached to the applicator at the back of the tractor.
Raining today, heavy rains predicted in a couple days.

Sad for the neighbors, sad for the growing weed problems in Devils Lake, sad for everyone downstream in the Bean/Tiffin/Maumee watershed, sad for the Great Lakes.


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