Slurrycal is a dual purpose high ph lime blend for use in cubicles and livestock stalls. It is designed to provide high levels of protection against disease-causing bacteria in the cubicle and uniquely enhance the slurry.
Slurrycal has been developed in conjunction with several international technology companies to enhance the slurry when it is brushed down and mixed into the slurry tank/store.
Benefits of Slurrycal
• Creates a homogenous slurry
• Reduction in odours
• Breakdown and prevention of crusting
• Increased fertiliser value of slurry
• Reduction in agitation costs
• Promotes aerobic environment within slurry
• High pH helps protect animals from disease and infection
John Joe O’ Sullivan and family are a renowned dairy farm family based in Garrane, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork. Producing high quality, high solids milk in a grass based system is achieved alongside successfully fulfilling the serious role of caretaker of the environment. This work has been recognised by awards that include:
- Carbery Milk Quality Award in 2017 & 2005;
- Bord Bia Sustainability National Winner 2016;
- Lisavaird Co-op quality milk award 1995, 1993 & 1992;
- Protein 350 National Winner 2000;
- National UpJohn Quality Milk Award (Small to Medium herds) 1999
Farming 42.5 adjusted hectares, milking 70 cows and carrying an overall 2.24 LU/Ha, the farm is on target this year to produce 520 Kg of milk solids per cow on a meal input of 600 Kg/cow and chemical nitrogen input of 144 Kg N/Ha.
John Joe pays attention to detail in all aspects of his farming and no stone is left unturned when it comes to cubicle bedding, SCC and mastitis control. Using selective dry cow therapy, John Joe only uses teat sealant on cows with a SCC <100K, with all other cows getting dry cow tubes and sealant. Despite being happy with his previous cubicle lime brand, in 2015 John Joe decided to try out a new concept and product in cubicle bedding and slurry treatment when he used Slurrycal for the first time.
John Joe’s slatted cubicle house holds 50 cows on one side over an aerated slurry tank with the other side housing 20 cows + 20 in calf heifers over a standard slurry tank. Used in just half the cubicles over a standard slatted tank, John Joe assessed the ability of Slurrycal to keep cubicles dry and sanitised compared to his previous preferred brand. He also looked at its effect on the treated slurry over that season when compared to the aerated slurry.
Passing its first test of maintaining low SCC and low mastitis cases, the next noticeable difference was the 70% reduction in agitation time in the Spring. The Slurrycal treated slurry was spread throughout the year on grazing paddocks with a 1500 gallon tank with a splashplate – a maximum of 1500 gallons/acre was applied. John Joe says “the colour of the slurry itself was changed – darker in colour. Any fields that received Slurrycal treated slurry were easy to see. The grass was a richer, healthier colour and at times you would think the fields had gotten bag nitrogen – the nutrients are being used by the grass”. This convinced him to use Slurrycal in 2016 on both sides of the cubicle house with in-calf heifers and cows bedded on the product.
When asked why bother using Slurrycal to treat slurry going into an aerated tank, John Joe replies “To cut costs! We want the effect that Slurrycal gives in all our slurry. We also now use less electricity to aerate that tank thanks to Slurrycal. The aerated tank is emptied first and we then refill it with Slurrycal treated slurry from the non-aerated tank. When we want to take out slurry at any stage during the year we simply run the aeration system for one hour in advance to mix it. There is a marked reduction in the smell of slurry this year also and I would safely say there is more of a smell out of the soiled water washings than the Slurrycal treated slurry”. John Joe and his son Andrew also noticed that it now easier to powerwash the cubicle house since Slurrycal was introduced. “Once the house is wetted down, the manure washes away much easier”.
Every paddock received at least 1500 gallons/acre of treated slurry in 2017 and some paddocks with lower P & K indexes were spread twice to give them a boost. John Joe says the results speak for themselves. “Our milk solids sold per cow to September 30th has increased over 7% with 2 less cows than last year. This was achieved with no increase in meal fed and a decrease in nitrogen use. Slurrycal is helping in that nitrogen reduction. We are seeing a better response to slurry in terms of grass growth and a marked increase in clover in our fields; in some cases where clover had all but disappeared from paddocks. The power in the slurry is allowing us to reduce our chemical nitrogen use which encourages clover growth and the cows are responding in the milk tank.”
Slurrycal has proven to be a cost effective user friendly input for John Joe. Costing €400 extra for the 2 tonnes of Slurrycal used each winter, the returns are easily seen. “I am very impressed with Slurrycal and am delighted that we made the switch to it”.
John Joe O’Sullivan 70 Dairy Cow Herd in Cork
“Barryroe Co-op supplier John McCarthy milks an 80 cow herd in Butlerstown, Bandon, Co. Cork. The herd is split calving with 40% calving to supply winter milk to the Carbery Milk scheme. Sustainable production of top quality milk is to the fore on this farm and this was recognised with John winning the 2011 Carbery Milk Quality Award.
Producing 550 Kg of milk solids with a stocking rate of 3 LU/Ha and SCC less than 100,000 requires a high level of management. This is further evidenced by the fact that the farm undertakes a selective dry cow tubing policy with cows under 100,000 SCC and no recent high SCC readings, receiving only a teat sealant at drying off.
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The cubicle hygiene regime during housed periods involves liming cubicles twice daily with a cubicle lime blend. A total of 4 tonne is routinely used each winter. In October 2015, John decided to try out the newly launched product Slurrycal as he was interested in its claim to combine cubicle bedding and slurry treatment in one bag. For his stock numbers it was calculated that he would need 2 tonne of Slurrycal along with 2 tonne of a 10% blend – a combination used for the past two winters.
Having now used Slurrycal for the last 2 years John is convinced of its effectiveness. “It has the same drying capacity on the cubicle as the 10% blend and other cubicle products I have used and it is easier to work with because there is very little dust. It certainly does its main job of helping to keep cubicles dry, while also helping to maintain low SCC and low levels of mastitis.”
“When I started to agitate and pump slurry, I knew that Slurrycal had done its job as promised on the slurry too. There was no crust whatsoever, and the tank was like it had been aerated. The time it takes to agitate is well back and it stays agitated for a long time. The slurry is darker in colour with a very evident reduction in smell. The response in terms of grass growth when the treated slurry was applied was very impressive – I would say that the slurry is giving a response similar to what you would get from a bag of 27.2.5. 5. The grass is a healthier, greener colour and re-growths are quicker.”
Slurry is applied with a trailing shoe on all silage ground and on the grazing ground when the weather is dry. The splash-plate is used on grazing ground also. Silage and grazing ground with a low P & K index are prioritised for slurry application with grazing fields receiving up to 2 applications of 2,500 gallons/acre and silage ground receiving 3,000 gallons per cut.
“We are stocked relatively heavy but we are now applying less chemical fertiliser and still maintaining grass growth. The Slurrycal treated slurry is helping in this regard and the reduction in smell is an added bonus.” John is very impressed with the simplicity and dual efficiency of Slurrycal. Put simply he says, “lime the cubicles and the slurry is treated: as part of our daily routine of liming cubicles we now have treated slurry.” John also finds the cost effectiveness of Slurrycal is an added bonus: “for my stock numbers I only need to use 2 tonne to treat all the slurry on the farm; the extra cost of €400 is well worth it for the job it is doing.”
John McCarthy 80 Dairy Cow Herd in Bandon, Co Cork
The Chestnutt family milk 270 autumn/winter cows on their farm near Portrush and have been using Slurrycal consistently since November 2015.
“Our main tank holds 400,000 gallons of slurry. And, traditionally, it is emptied in the early spring. We have found that after a period of six months, if it is consistently filled with Slurrycal treated slurry, there is no crust on the surface of the tank, whatsoever” William Chestnutt confirmed.
“What’s more, it requires a minimal level of agitation to get the tank fully mixed prior to spreading.”
William is happy with the cost benefit this generates.
“But there is also a strong health and safety dimension coming into play.” he said.
“Less agitation means less potential exposure to dangerous slurry gases for both animals and those carrying out the spreading operation.”
Chestnut 270 Dairy Cow Herd in Antrim