Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Recycling one of the least pleasant byproducts of farming

System reduces volume and gives farmers chemicals they can work with

1 of 5

Ross Thurston is president of Calgary-based Livestock Water Recyling Inc., which builds and installs systems that treat hog and cow manure, separating solids and phosphorus, extracting and concentrating ammonium and, finally, discharging water that’s clean enough to drink. This homegrown technology, which Mr. Thurston began developing about eight years ago, has caught the eye of distributors and farms around the world.

Livestock Water Recyling Inc

2 of 5

A manure recycling system is built at the company’s office in Calgary. What’s most beneficial to farmers is the system’s ability to reduce manure volume by 85 per cent and to separate its nutrients. Reducing the volume is important, Mr. Thurston says, because farmers have to haul their livestock’s manure and apply it to their land as fertilizer for corn, soy and alfalfa crops, which they grow mostly for animal feed.

Livestock Water Recyling Inc

3 of 5

This is a recycling system ready to be installed in a building. The segregated nutrients produced by Livestock Water Recycling’s system also come in handy because they allow farmers to mix fertilizer according to the ratios that best suit their crops. Mr. Thurston says this saves money because farmers usually have to buy commercial fertilizer to compensate for the insufficient nutrient mix of untreated manure. The nutrients can also be sold to other farmers, Mr. Thurston says. “The system actually creates products that farmers can sell: fertilizer solids, compost, and concentrated ammonium, which is a highly valuable liquid fertilizer.”

Livestock Water Recyling Inc

4 of 5

The results of the recycling system are, from left: clean water, dry solids (phosphorus, nitrogen) and concentrated liquid nutrient (ammonia, potash).

Livestock Water Recyling Inc

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 5

Mr. Thurston wants to expand into international markets – the demand certainly exists, he says. But Livestock Water Recycling first needs to build a commercial-grade lab. This will allow it to satisfy regulations governing the import of livestock manure – a necessary step because each farm’s manure must be tested prior to the design and installation of the treatment system.

Livestock Water Recyling Inc

Report an error Editorial code of conduct