15 August 2023

What is a slurry tank? Everything you need to know

what is a slurry tank

Need somewhere to store your slurry? We’ve got you covered.

Slurry tanks vs. silos, pits and lagoons – which comes out on top? Depending on your farm and your operations, each option poses its own advantages and disadvantages.

Looking for something specific? Hit the links to jump ahead:

Here we’re delving into the realm of slurry tanks, a great option for the modern farmer looking to elevate their game, maximise their capacity and enhance their slurry’s nutrient value.

But what is a slurry tank, and how do they work? Hold tight; we’ve got a lot to get through.

What is a slurry tank? Farm slurry tank basics

When it comes to on-farm storage, there’s lots of options to choose from. You may think that as long as you’ve got something in place, you’ll be fine. But do you know your silos from your slurry pits and your lagoons from your slurry tanks?

If not, head to our 2023 guide to slurry storage, where we take a deep dive into the fundamentals of each.

But for now, we’re answering one main question: what is a slurry tank?

Simply put, slurry tanks are versatile containers designed specifically to hold a mixture of organic materials – including manure, water and other agricultural byproducts.

While unpleasant, storing this mixture is like gold dust to a farmer, eventually transforming into a nutrient-rich, highly effective fertiliser to enhance crop yield.

How does a slurry tank compare to a silo?

When it comes to waste management on the farm, slurry tanks and silos are two distinct players in the field. While both serve essential purposes, they have different roles and advantages. A slurry tank is designed specifically for storing and managing liquid waste, such as animal manure and agricultural runoff. It excels at efficient nutrient management and can be used to spread liquid fertilisers onto fields. On the other hand, a silo is typically used to store grain and other dry agricultural products. While both structures contribute to farm operations, slurry tanks focus on liquid waste management, promoting sustainability and effective nutrient utilisation.

What are the advantages of using a slurry tank?

Using a slurry tank on your farm presents a host of advantages that can significantly impact your operations and environmental footprint. Firstly, slurry tanks facilitate efficient waste management, transforming organic waste into valuable nutrients for crops. This nutrient-rich slurry can be spread onto fields, promoting soil health and reducing the need for chemical fertilisers. Additionally, slurry tanks help reduce odours and the risk of contamination, contributing to a cleaner and more pleasant farm environment.

Unlike pits and lagoons, which also offer large capacity storage space for your slurry, farm slurry tanks stand out by offering controlled storage conditions, mitigating the risk of leaks and environmental harm.

Slurry tank benefits

farm slurry spreading

Now we know the basics, it’s time to break down the slurry tank benefits:

  • Due to hazardous waste being contained and controlled within the sturdy walls, a slurry tank prevents contamination, acting as a more environmentally-friendly option.
  • If properly installed, your farm will be compliant with slurry tank regulations – avoiding hefty fines and penalties.
  • You’ll maximise your slurry’s nutrient value due to better management, enhancing the yield and quality of your crops. More bang for your buck!
  • Better space efficiency due to bespoke, customisable spaces so you can store more slurry and create more fertiliser.
  • As a secure reservoir for manure and waste, slurry tanks keep everything under wraps to keep nasty odours at bay

All in all, the key role of a slurry tank is to aid in the conversion of organic matter into valuable fertilisers. These tanks don’t just store; they contribute to the circular economy of farming!

Key considerations in slurry tank design

Slurry tank design isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s a science that needs to be mastered.


When selecting a slurry tank, farmers must assess their overall waste production to determine the right tank capacity.

An easy way to do this is by using the handy Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) slurry wizard.

Just fill in a few details about your business and farm’s operations, like your herd numbers, acres of land and more. From there, the handy tool will run the maths to work out your requirements and explore which storage scenarios work for you while complying with the regulations from the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Bespoke slurry tanks for your farm

From robust materials that resist corrosion to smart placement that ensures easy access, we understand that the details make all the difference. Enquire today and experience our tailor-made slurry tank builds that stand the test of time.

Maximise Your Storage

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for slurry storage. That’s why we offer a range of solutions, bespoke and customised to what your farm needs.

With a range of tank sizes, paired with durable slurry tank covers, we’re here to ensure waste management meets productivity.

Location, location, location

Placing your slurry tank must be a strategic move rather than a random decision. Placement affects efficiency, safety and ease of maintenance. And not to mention the minefield of regulations that must be adhered to!

Back in 2021, around 300 incidents of river pollution were reported by the Environment Agency, so it’s more important than ever before to take the rules seriously.

As a quick overview, DEFRA outlines a few slurry tank regulations that basically state how slurry stores and water must keep their distance.

Fresh or coastal waters? Keep your tank at least 10 metres away. Springs, wells or boreholes? Maintain a 50 metre buffer.

Plus, there’s a few important documents you need to sift through before getting to work, such as checking your farm records, mapping and flood risks. These all work to ensure risk factors such as pollution from run-off or flooding by understanding your soil type, slopes and presence of land and yard drains. 

Longevity, efficiency and safety

Every year, farms nationwide are producing and utilising millions of tonnes of livestock slurry. So it’s important to store it efficiently to make the most of it!

The design of a slurry tank directly impacts its efficiency and safety. Well-designed tanks promote proper mixing, reducing the likelihood of sediment buildup and aiding in effective waste breakdown.

Slurry tanks can be built from a variety of materials, depending on what you’re after. For instance, our steel mesh slurry tanks are made out of durable materials with a galvanised exterior and interior.

However, the mesh allows these tanks to be adaptable, acting as agile partners that mould themselves to your needs. Easy to install and dismantle, a mesh panel slurry tank offers a solution that harmonises with the uniqueness of your farm.

Alternatively, our steel panel slurry tanks are a more long-term solution, made from corrugated steel panels and a double layer protective system.

Whichever tank you choose – whether it’s an easily-manoeuvrable, quickly-installed mesh slurry tank or the sturdy, permanent steel slurry tank – both will be constructed to ensure longevity, safety and efficacy.

Durable construction and secure covers ensure that both the environment and workers are safeguarded – the top priority on your farm.

Types of slurry tanks and their applications

We’re proud to offer a whole range of slurry tank types to suit your farm’s specific requirements – but what slurry tank design is right for you? Let’s take a look:

steel panel slurry tanks

Vertical or horizontal slurry tanks?

Vertical slurry tanks:

Vertical tanks are the masters of space optimisation. For farms with limited real estate, these tanks stand tall, efficiently utilising vertical space while minimising their footprint.

Ideal for cramped quarters, vertical tanks bring a sense of height to your farm, maximising storage without sacrificing precious ground.

Horizontal slurry tanks:

Enter the world of horizontal tanks – the champions of simplicity and convenience.

These tanks lay low, effortlessly fitting into your daily operations. Their design ensures easy access and maintenance, simplifying your interactions and minimising downtime.

What are the different types of slurry tanks?

Slurry tanks come in various forms including horizontal for easy access and maintenance, vertical for space efficiency and uniform mixing, as well as steel mesh tanks for adaptability and steel panel tanks for enduring sturdiness, offering tailored options to match diverse farm requirements.

Steel mesh or steel panel slurry tanks?

Steel mesh slurry tanks:

Consider the steel mesh composition if your farm sits on various terrains, such as gentle slopes and inclines.

  • Adaptable: Seamlessly conforms to different terrains and locations, making it ideal for farms with diverse landscapes.
  • Ease of installation: A swift setup process ensures minimal disruption to your farming operations.
  • Scalability: Its modular design allows for expansion or modification as your farm evolves.

Steel panel slurry tanks:

When your operations demand steadfastness and unyielding support, the sturdy structure of steel panels provides the necessary foundation.

  • Sturdy and durable: Crafted with resilience in mind, it stands strong through the years, weathering the challenges of farm life.
  • Longevity: A more permanent solution that ensures reliable waste management for the long haul.
  • Security: Offers a secure containment structure, safeguarding against leaks and potential environmental harm.

Unsure which slurry tank is right for you?

Feeling a bit lost in the world of slurry tanks? No worries - we've got your back! Our experts are here to guide you, helping you unravel the perfect slurry tank solution for your farm's unique needs.

Find Out About Our Slurry Tanks

Farmers’ guide to slurry tank maintenance

Though it goes without saying, maintaining the optimal performance of your slurry tank is essential for a seamless and productive farming experience.

The odd malfunction, however small, can disrupt the rhythm of your operations. Those seemingly innocent minor leaks can start snowballing and turn into major setbacks.

Here we’ll explore a few common troubles that may crop up with slurry tank care and of course, arm you with a few savvy troubleshooting solutions:

Agitator malfunctions: Ensuring optimal mixing

Your slurry mixer is responsible for breaking down solids and ensuring your mixture is entirely homogeneous. Any issues can lead to uneven nutrient distribution and sediment build-up – bad news for your slurry.

The best way to keep your mixer in good shape is to check the agitators are properly aligned and free from obstruction.

Next, give your blades a thorough once-over for any wear and tear, replacing any worn components promptly. Finally, make sure to grease and lubricate any parts to prevent friction-related issues and keep your mix smooth.

Leak detection: Preventing environmental contamination

Leaks are huge troublemakers, jeopardising both your slurry and the environment. When your tank’s integrity is compromised, you’re likely to lose out on valuable slurry and pollute the surrounding land with hazardous waste.

Stay ahead of the game with routine visual inspections. Sweep your tank with a discerning eye, scouting for cracks and any telltale signs of leakage.

Spotted some damage? Replace any damaged or worn seals right away to keep things secure.

Ensuring your farm is covered for common problems – such as leaks and cracks – is essential, otherwise you can rack up a hefty bill! Do your research and ensure your farm’s insurance covers all the essential stuff to give you peace of mind.

Odour control: Keeping the neighbours happy

Inadequate odour control and ventilation can lead to unpleasant working conditions, potential health hazards and a few unhappy neighbours…

The release of poisonous gases, such as hydrogen sulphide and methane, is one of the biggest dangers of improper slurry management. That means that your tank needs to have proper ventilation, covers and structural integrity to keep gases at bay.

slurry spreading

Give your ventilation systems a routine check to ensure proper functioning, as well as using a robust slurry tank cover to keep everything under wraps. That way, you’ll be able to keep everyone on your farm and beyond happy and healthy.

Blockages: Promoting smooth flow

Clogs and blockages in outlet valves and pipes can impede drainage and disrupt flow, leading to sediment build-up and an inefficient, ineffective fertiliser.

But it’s not too tricky to keep things flowing.

The work starts before you’ve even begun. Before you introduce any slurry to the tank, take a step back and make sure you know what you’re doing. A consistent introduction is essential, followed by a proper mix to prevent clogs at the get-go.

Afterwards, frequently check outlet valves and pipes for obstructions or build-up. If necessary, flush the valves to dislodge or clear debris. Job done!

Slurry tank maintenance checklist

Clearly, slurry tank maintenance isn’t without its challenges. But fear not! Here’s a handy checklist to ensure your slurry tank remains reliable for the long haul:

  1. Tank walls and linings: Regularly inspect for signs of corrosion, rust or deterioration to prevent structural damage.
  2. Debris removal: Sediment and dirt accumulates easily in your slurry tank. Frequently remove debris to prevent clogs and promote effective waste breakdown.
  3. Mixers: Check for proper functioning and alignment of your mixer to ensure it’s effectively breaking down solids and promoting even distribution
  4. Seals: Inspect seals for any signs of wear, cracks or tears. Replace any damaged seals promptly to keep leaks at bay.
  5. Covers and hatches: Examine these are all sealed properly to protect your slurry from the elements.
  6. Valves: Inspect outlet valves and pipes for leaks or blockages to ensure proper flow and drainage from your tank.
  7. Slurry: Test the nutrient and pH levels of your slurry to ensure both are at the desired levels to become an effective fertiliser.

By diligently following a few easy maintenance practices, you’ll not only extend the lifespan of your tank, but also contribute to a healthier and more efficient farming environment.

Slurry storage, made simple

Ready to revolutionise your farm? Slurry tanks aren’t just equipment – they’re the future of waste management. Dive into efficiency, sustainability and success with AWSM by your side.

Don’t wait; it’s time to take the first step toward a greener, more efficient farm.

Enquire today about AWSM’s slurry storage solutions and embark on a journey that will redefine your farm’s potential!