EAST LANSING (WILX)-- It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. The cold weather's making it challenging for farmers to clean up what the animals leave behind.
Equipment that helps transport manure to storage has been breaking down, and agricultural experts are warning farmers to keep a close eye on it.
The MSU poultry barn is no exception.
"Here the manure's done weekly. In some of our barns it's done manually, other barns have conveyor belts. The conveyor belts have had issue in the cold weather. The oil gets cold and the gear boxes get cold, and it doesn't want to start. Plus, with the low humidity the belt gets slicker. It doesn't always stay on the belt like it should," said MSU grad student Joseph Leszcz.
Issues with the equipment exponentially increase the risk of spills and leaks.
"I have to be very cautious. In the summertime you can just turn on the belt and assume that's going to work. In the winter that's not so."
MSU Extension hasn't seen too many major breaks yet, and they want to keep it that way. That's why they're warning farmers to do extra checks as the weather continues.
"There are pumps, pipes, joints, and elbows, and with the freezing temperature it can cause any type of opening. What we encourage farmers to do is to monitor all of that at least weekly," said Dr. Dale Rozeboom. MSU Extension Specialist.
Farmers should have an emergency plan in place in the event of an overflow, breach, or leak.
The sooner it warms up the better.
"It will be great when it ends. Nice warm weather will be great for us and the birds," said Leszcz.
Agriculture and Natural Resources or "ANR" week started at MSU Friday. If you'd like to find out what's going on click on the link. >>>