Lagoon Crawler helping producers get more bang from their muck

As farmers and ranchers increase the size of their operations to achieve greater and greater economies of scale, the need for specialized equipment is growing as well. One of those areas is in the sewage lagoons for livestock feeding facilities.

"More and more we're running into these very large lagoons," says Ian Nuhn, vice president of Nuhn Industries. "They will be anywhere from 10 to 20 acres in size. Conventional agitators have 50-foot-long pumps, and they can agitate the shore, but you can never get to the center."

Nuhn Industries, which is based in Ontario, Canada, brought its new amphibious pumping boat to World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif. Tulare and surrounding counties are home base for some of the largest dairy operations in the nation.

"The Crawler is all remote-controlled," says Ian Nuhn. "You can drive it right into the legoon, it floats like a boat. You can get it right into the center and really do a good job of agitating."

The Crawler features a new 10-inch pump that can send 10,000 gallons of effluent through the system per minute. Once it has completed its work, the operator can drive it back out of the lagoon, using the remote steering.

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"We started this project back in August, and we're already into production," said Nuhn. "We're finding everything form custom applicators, large dairy operations and even large hog operations are interested in the equipment. We've had some interest from municipalities, but I would say most of it has been from hog and dairy operations and the custom guys."

So far, the equipment has drawn queries from Wisconsin, California, Ohio - "anywhere they have these large lagoons.

"These pits are getting quite large, the cost of fertilizer is increasing and, all of a sudden, the manure in the bottom of these lagoons has a lot more dollar value," he noted.

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