Hanskamp, the innovative Dutch dairy equipment company, is developing a revolutionary CowToilet, pictured that will solve the ammonia problem facing milk producers.
By ensuring that the urine stays separated from the manure there is considerably less ammonia emission so the CowToilet deals with the ammonia problem at source.
CowToilet, a toilet for cows
Hanskamp has been developing a toilet for cows, the CowToilet, since 2016. The CowToilet is an automatic urinal that cows use voluntarily and is designed to collect urine before it hits the floor. Cows have a nerve reflex that causes them to immediately urinate. With the CowToilet, Hanskamp has managed to automate this long-known technique to make a cow urinate.
The CowToilet is placed against the cow’s suspensory ligament and moves in unison with the cow. The technique locates the nerve. Once located, the nerve, which triggers the urinary reflex, is stimulated and the cow starts urinating. The urine is collected in the CowToilet container and extracted through a suction line into a separate storage tank.
Note that cows go to their CowToilet voluntarily as each visit to the toilet is combined with receiving their daily portion of feed.
Economic advantages and benefits animal welfare
Because most of the urine is collected an enormous reduction in ammonia emissions is achieved. This is good for both the environment and animal welfare; a healthier climate in the shed, for example. The CowToilet also offers economic advantages as it saves on manure storage costs and may even be an alternative to ammonia emission reducing floors.
This system also offers great opportunities for new revenues. Pure urine can be used as a high-quality raw material in, for example, precision fertilisation. There are also ongoing developments in which urine is used to generate ‘yellow’ power or as a source of hydrogen. The CowToilet by Hanskamp contributes to a sustainable and profitable future in dairy farming.
European agreements stipulate a reduction of ammonia emissions. Following this, national limits aimed to reduce emissions have been implemented. Approximately 90% of ammonia emissions come from agriculture, according to Wageningen University & Research (WUR).
When manure and urine mix, ammonia is formed. If this is released into the air, it can precipitate in nature, causing large amounts of nitrogen to end up on the ground. Plants can only process up to a certain amount of nitrogen. The remaining amount acidifies the soil and affects the groundwater. High concentrations of ammonia are harmful to humans and animals.
To limit ammonia emissions from the agricultural sector, dairy farmers have to pay high fees to meet ammonia emission and manure disposal requirements. Therefore, ammonia reduction is a high priority for many dairy farmers. The CowToilet by Hanskamp is a crucial solution in the field of ammonia reduction.
For pictures of the system and more details on the CowToilet go to:www.hanskamp.nl/en/cowtoilet. The first models are expected to be available from mid-2020. To stay up-to-date on this project and other developments at Hanskamp, make sure you sign up for the newsletter at www.hanskamp.nl/en.