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Extension > Agriculture > Manure Management and Environmental Quality > Feedlots and manure storage > Foaming manure

Foaming manure

Foaming in swine manure pits has become a serious safety concern in the last several years. By reducing pit capacity, foaming manure poses a serious management problem. Even more urgent, however, is the safety threat that foam creates. By trapping large amounts of explosive gas (methane), foam creates the high potential for fires and explosions, especially when the foam is destroyed, such as during agitation and pumping. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION when agitating and pumping, or spraying to reduce foam: maintain ventilation rates and turn off ignition sources, such as pilot lights. Maintain ventilation even when the room is emptied of animals: a number of explosions have occurred when methane concentrations built up after ventilation was stopped as pigs were removed.

Manure foam

Foaming manure spilling out of pumpout.

Manure foam

Barn with foaming manure, after explosion. Roof blew off and settled back down.

While some amount of foaming may be typical in manure storages, the type of foam that is currently causing problems is a persistent, occasionally very fast-growing substance that has a mucus-like texture. View a video of the type of foam we are concerned about.

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