Farm Horizons, February 2012

Upper Midwest Pumping specializing in manure injection

By Linda Scherer

Using Paul Davis’ years of farming experience and his nephew, Tim Woeste’s knowledge of manure pumping, the two started a new business called Upper Midwest Pumping last July.

Davis, who is from Cokato, ran a dairy farm for 26 years.

“I got tired of always waiting for the guys to come and pump manure so I figured there was room for one more of us,” Davis said.

Woeste, of Long Prairie, had pumped manure for nine years. “I always worked for farmers before I could even drive, and after high school I decided to try this manure pumping thing,” Woeste said.

Woeste had worked for several different farmers, learning the business, and decided he enjoyed the seasonal work. Eventually, he was running a pumping business for someone else.

When Davis approached him with the idea of going into business together, Woeste was ready to take the step.

Upper Midwest Pumping’s first year in business was a great success. They were so busy last year, they kept their operation running 24 hours a day, well into the month of November. During the entire time, they only spent two nights at home with their families using their pickup trucks to catch a few hours of sleep at a time.

“One night the tractor broke down and the parts were in Fairmont, down on I-90,” Woeste said. “There was only one way to get there, so we jumped in the truck and headed there at 9 a.m. . . . By 2 p.m. we were working again.”

All of the equipment needed for manure pumping is owned by Upper Midwest Pumping. That is a benefit for farmers, who somtimes have to supply their own tractors, according to Woeste.

The coverage area for Upper Midwest Pumping is all of Minnesota.

“If someone calls us out of state, we will pack up and go there, too,” Woeste said. “. . . If there is a road to get there, we will be there.”

Upper Midwest Pumping has up to four miles of hose available, if needed, to reach the field.

The hose comes in 5-inch, 6-inch and 8-inch diameters; the bigger the hose the less restrictions, according to Woeste.

“We push the manure through an 8 inch hose, then we go to a 6-inch hose when we get to the field, and right behind the tractor we are dragging a 5-inch hose,” Woeste said.

Each hose is 660 feet in length, one-eighth of a mile. “The hose is made out of rubber and the inside has material like a cloth sock that is pulled through the rubber to give the hose strength,” Woeste said.

Before the tractor can be turned off, the pump must be shut down. Davis and Woeste use two-way radios to communicate back and forth.

“The hose would blow apart if you didn’t shut the pump down. It wouldn’t damage the tractor, but it would damage the hose,” Woeste said.

“This hose can run 200 pounds per square inch,” Woeste said. “That is a lot of pressure. If you’re standing by it when it blows, you would probably end up in the hospital. I have seen it blow and it shot probably 60 or 70 feet in the air.”

The agitator feeds the pump and the pump creates pressure. The pump does all of the pressurizing.

When the manure reaches the tractor, a Case IH 290, with front wheel assist, it is dropped into a large manifold where several little hoses spread the manure out evenly. The tractor, using a GPS, plows the manure right into the field using a chisel plow. Every 24 inches, there is a trench of manure evenly applied, according to Woeste.

The hose can go under roads through culverts and under interstates, which takes a spetcial permit, according to Woeste.

Several advantages of using the hose over a manure tank were given by Davis and Woeste:

• The entire process can be done in one application, not applying the manure and then chiseling it in, later.

• Less road traffic. Once the system is set up, all the work is done on the owner’s property.

• There isn’t as much compaction on the field using a hose versus a heavy tank.

• Less foul odor.

“Tanks are a lot harder to regulate,” Woeste said. “When a tank starts out they are full so they have a lot of head pressure. When the manure in the tank goes down, there isn’t a lot of head pressure so it has a hard time keeping everything equal. Our system we’re running has a constant pressure on the whole field. We have monitors in the cab that tell us if things are plugging up.”

Upper Midwest Pumping employs two other people who work during the season. For 2012, Davis and Woeste plan to run the operation the same, but their future plans are to expand.

Anyone interested in learning more about Upper Midwest Pumping or who would like to use its services may call Tim Woeste at (320) 247-3857.

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