Apple Shamrock Dairy Farms is a third-generation dairy located in Townville, Pa., United States. It is owned and managed by the Waddells: Rob and his wife, Christine, and their son Josh, whose wife and four kids are also part of the family-run dairy. Rob and his parents, Robert and Lorna, founded the operation in 1976 with about 60 Jersey cows. Now, Apple Shamrock Dairy milks approximately 1,100 cows and places the health of its herd above all else.
When Apple Shamrock first started bedding its cows on sand, it didn’t have a recycling system in place. But as the dairy grew larger, hauling and disposing of the sand became more and more of a hassle.
“The larger we got, the more of a problem the sand was,” Josh Waddell explained, “so then we started looking at ways to reclaim sand, and what we found was getting the sand out of the manure stream was a huge savings on the manure hauling and management.”
After removing the sand from the manure stream, the next step for Apple Shamrock Dairy was determining how to reuse that sand. Waddell considered his options but ultimately decided the simplicity of a sand settling lane fit best with his business model.
Reclaiming sand via the sand lane worked well for the first year or so, but as Apple Shamrock Dairy continued to add more cows and expand, it became more difficult.
“We just weren’t getting any turnaround times, and our stack pad just kept getting expanded and expanded,” Waddell said.
Waddell reached out to McLanahan for a solution to clean up the sand recovered from the sand lane for quicker reuse. McLanahan recommended its Sand Lane System, a system designed specifically for what Waddell needed: to clean up and dewater sand recovered from a sand lane for quicker reuse back in the freestalls.
Apple Shamrock installed the McLanahan Sand Lane System, which consists of an Inclined Auger and Shaker Screen, next to its sand lane and stacking pad. Sand recovered from the sand lane is loaded into the hopper of the Sand Lane System. From there, the auger conveys the material toward the Shaker Screen, which removes excess moisture from the sand and discharges a drip-free sand ideal for stacking.
Waddell said the McLanahan Sand Lane System is simple to use and maintain.
“I can have a guy come back here. It’s all standard operating procedures. He knows what to do. He doesn’t have to make judgment calls. He dumps the wet sand into one end. He gets the dry sand out the other,” said Waddell.
Waddell is extremely pleased with the McLanahan Sand Lane System.
“I can tell you that now, having been running it for two years, I should have put it in the day I built my sand lane,” Waddell said. “It makes everything more manageable. We’re very, very happy with it. I would not build a sand lane without it.”
One of the advantages of the McLanahan Sand Lane System that Waddell has discovered is that he won’t have to add on to his stacking pad as he expands the dairy.
“We don’t have to reinvest back here in a stacking pad,” he said. “We could go ahead and start expanding and still have enough room to reclaim sand and do what we need to do.”
Because the sand coming off the end of the Shaker Screen is drip-free, his loader operators can stack the piles higher, which creates more room on the pad and provides more surface area for drying the piles.
“When we would pull sand out of the sand lane, we might get a 2-foot-high pile or a 3-foot-high pile the first day,” Waddell explained. “Now, coming off the McLanahan system, we could stack a pile as high as loader can reach day one, and that’s made a significant savings on stack room and managing the sand.”
Waddell is a firm believer that every dairy operating a sand lane will benefit from the McLanahan Sand Lane System.
“It’s a must have,” Waddell said about McLanahan’s Sand Lane System. “When you’re looking at the system, build it into your lane because it’s going to save you management, it’s going to save you man hours and it’s going to turn that sand around a lot faster for you. I do feel very strongly that it should be paired with every sand lane that’s built.”