Pipeline bridge draws attention at Manure Expo
When hundreds of visitors flocked to a sunny field near Prairie du Sac, Aug. 22 for the North American Manure Expo, one of the innovations they couldn't miss was a pipeline "bridge" designed to carry liquid manure over a road or onto a parcel of land where a regular line wouldn't work.
The blue-painted manure bridge towered over the rows of pumps, spreaders and other manure handling tools.
It is the brainchild of Chad Tasch of Malone, a professional manure hauler who came up with the concept and then tested it in a field for three weeks with no problems before he felt confident enough to take it over a road.
The sign on the unit marks its height as 14 feet 4 inches, but it is actually well above what's posted, he said.
He's been using the manure bridge for four years and has utilized it over perennial streams as well as over roads.
"We've never brought it to a show before but there has been a lot of interest," he told Wisconsin State Farmer, adding that in light of all that interest he is planning to sell units like this to other manure haulers.
"We didn't want to sell it until we had a track record with it," he said of the unit that comes apart into 20 pieces and goes back together the next time it is used. The beauty of it is that when there is a lot of manure to haul it can eliminate the need for several trucks.
The bridge is meant to be used when there is a large volume of manure - seven, eight, 10 or 12 million gallons - that needs to go in a certain direction, he said. Lesser amounts probably wouldn't warrant putting this unit in place.
Once the manure goes through the bridge pipeline it is injected into the soil with a traditional drag line implement.
Tasch dreamed up the unit in response to one manure hauling job six years ago where an adjacent property owner wouldn't let him lay a line over their land to pump manure across. Doing so could have saved him three-quarters of a mile of pipe.
So he put on his inventor cap. With help from a local blacksmith he set about solving that kind of dilemma.
"It was kind of scary. You hear nobody's going to allow it and you want to do things right and build a solid system," he said.
Tasch, who is familiar with the battle of public perception, said it's hard to get across to the public sometimes that this is a good piece of equipment. "You don't want to give the public anything to hold against you and the public perception has come around."
Local police have told him that if they plan to set up in their area they should notify them but they haven't had a lot of flak from local municipalities, Tasch said.
They try to do everything to ensure safety - with employees wearing safety vests and directing traffic.
When the unit gets put in place Tasch uses a telescoping loader to put all the pieces together. If the unit is completely disassembled it takes 2 ½ hours to put it all together.
When they take it down it takes 45 minutes to an hour, he said. If they aren't moving the unit far, they are able to leave some of the pieces together, which shortens the time for disassembly and re-assembly.
The first time he used it, when it was still kind of experimental, he got it up and into service and within a few minutes Wisconsin State Farmer correspondent Ray Mueller was there taking a photo that would end up in the newspaper, Tasch said with a grin.
It's been used many times since then and now he's ready to put the unit out to others who may need to span a stream or road, he said.