A dairy cow is a type of cow bred specifically for producing the highest quantity of milk. Dairy cows are some of the most productive mammals in terms of nutrient output versus input. This is evident in the amount of manure they produce. Generally, a dairy cow produces approximately 65 lbs of manure per day. This adds up to about 23,500 lbs per year or 11.75 tons of manure annually.
A dairy cow’s manure is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential elements for plant growth. Cow manure is considered an effective fertilizer, as all the essential nutrients in manure are readily available for plants to absorb. In addition to the essential nutrients, dairy cow manure also contains other valuable materials such as magnesium, sulfur, and micronutrients.
In terms of total volume, a dairy cow produces approximately 120 cubic feet of manure per year. This is equivalent to approximately 10 wheelbarrow loads. This can be reduced, however, by proper composting techniques. When composted, the mass of cow manure can be reduced by almost 50%.
The manure produced by dairy cows is not only beneficial to crops, but it can also be used to produce energy. Manure collected from dairy cows can generate electricity, and biogas. This can be done through anaerobic digestion, where bacteria breaks down manure and produces a combustible gas. The energy derived from this gas can be used for heat, electricity and vehicle fuel.
Dairy cow manure is not only an efficient fertilizer, but it can be utilized to produce energy too. This makes it a valuable resource, especially in rural areas where there is limited access to energy. The nutrient rich manure produced by dairy cows is beneficial for crops, and for reducing air and water pollution. Thus, it is important to properly manage and utilize the manure produced by dairy cows.