DES MOINES — Completing its second decade as a standard in the hog industry, PitCharger still sells for $50 a gallon — the same price as when it was first introduced in 1998. The product’s unique name suggests its usage. The purpose of PitCharger is to reduce the solids or crust in a livestock manure pit while also reducing the offensive odors. And that means a healthier environment for both animals and workers.
“We send live bacteria to our customers,” said Tim Kremer, Odor and Manure Management Consultant for PitCharger. “Our product is liquid. We ship via UPS in 3-gallon or 5-gallon plastic buckets. We sell based on volume. 1,000 head would require a gallon per month. For a 4,000-head finishing barn, usage would be four gallons per month. Cost would be $200 per month.”
Interviewed at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Kremer said there were several firms selling bacterial products. Competition fluctuates in this business, but selling at the same price for 19 years suggests PitCharger is a proven product with continual customer satisfaction.
“We’ve been in business a long time,” Kremer stated. “We have our own proprietary recipe. Live bacteria usage is common with European livestock producers. We’re not the most expensive, but more likely in the middle of the pack.”
Kremer explained that PitCharger enzyme products digest cellulose fiber to break up crusting. Crusting is caused by non-digestible fiber (distiller's dried grains with solubles), a low rate of dissolved oxygen in effluent, pith and hulls floating to the top, plus animal hair and feed dust.
PitCharger uses anaerobic, aerobic and multi-facultative bacteria. Kremer said the anaerobic bacteria works best on bottom sludge. The aerobic and multi-facultative bacteria work best in the upper layers of the lagoon. PitCharger contains 51 strains of living microbes.
Kremer explained the natural decomposing process can be stalled out due to a lower dissolved oxygen level, pH, detergents and/or feed types. When a system gets out of balance, solid or crusting takes over. A good pit additive’s bacteria will accelerate the natural process. “Keeping pits and lagoons liquefied improves pumping ease, reduces odor during pump-out, and changes organic nitrogen to plant available ammonium nitrogen.”
Karl Johnson of Mankato, Minn. operates one 1,350-head sow unit and one 4,000-head nursery. Build-up and crusting in the pits was a definite problem resulting in fly populations. After using PitCharger, Johnson was able to pump an additional 200,000 gallons from the first-stage lagoon. He also noticed the odor during application was much better. “Since using PitCharger, we haven’t had the crusting issue we previously experienced and flies are close to non-existent,” Johnson said. “PitCharger has done everything that I was told it would do.”
At West Central Co-op in Ralston, Iowa, swine specialist Nick Lentz used PitCharger over a three-month period at three different locations. One location featured four, 960-head pull plug finishing buildings and 24-inch pits. Lentz was facing over six inches of manure that would not flow to the drain. One gallon of PitCharger was applied to treated buildings each month for the 3-month test. Commented Lentz, “Tests were very positive on the reduction of solids. Pits with additive showed significant reduction of solids compared to non-treated pits. In addition, treated pits drained better."
For more information, visit www.pitcharger.com.