McLanahan Sand Separation Systems Provide Cost Savings for Dairies of All Sizes

McLanahan Corporation pioneered the use of mechanical sand-manure separation systems for recycling dairy cow bedding in the 1990s. These systems allow dairy producers to separate the sand from sand-laden manure to yield a clean, dewatered sand that can be reused in freestalls as well a manure effluent that is virtually sand-free. 

Does sand separation make sense for smaller dairies?

Sand separation can make sense for any size dairy depending on the goals of the dairy and if there is a true cost savings in recycling sand. If sand bedding is expensive to buy and move out of storage, a sand separation system can make financial sense.

For example, a 400-cow dairy using 50 pounds of sand per cow per day at $12 a ton spends $43,800 a year on sand. With a sand separation system that recovers up to 90% of sand for reuse, the dairy can save $39,420 a year by recycling their sand bedding.

The SMS12 – designed for smaller dairies

In 2018, McLanahan officially launched the SMS12, a small-scale sand-manure separation system for dairies with fewer than 700 cows. Like the larger sand-manure separation systems, the SMS12 features rugged components designed specifically to handle abrasive sand but in a smaller footprint and at a more attractive return on investment.

The system includes a Rotary Drum Separator, Agricultural HydrocycloneSand-Manure Separator, sump and pump. It creates and uses its own process water for diluting the manure effluent and separating the sand. The separated sand is cleaned, rinsed and dewatered before it is discharged. An optional Agricultural Sand Dewatering Screen can provide additional dewatering for quicker reuse as well as organics removal for cleaner sand.

The SMS12 has been proven to recover more than 90% of sand from sand-laden manure, saving a dairy the costs of buying new sand. In addition to the obvious cost savings in reduced sand inventory, the SMS12 reduces compaction in the fields, reduces hauling and cleaning costs, minimizes wear and tear on equipment and increases cow comfort. 

Sand separation for dairies of all sizes

With the SMS12 as part of its line of sand separation equipment, McLanahan can help dairies of all sizes reap the economic benefits of recycling sand. McLanahan Sand Separation Systems are currently operating on dairies that range in size from 100 cows to 20,000 cows, saving them tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in new sand costs. Contact McLanahan at for help determining the ROI for a sand separation system on your dairy. 

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