Ranging further afield with fracs

Ranging further afield with fracs

Custom manure applicators often describe their work in colorful ways

Digester Revolution

Digester Revolution

Many would say that solids are the most critical component to handle in a digester, but water is a critical factor as well, logistically and financially.

California Dairies Digest The Future

California Dairies Digest The Future

If there is one thing that California dairies know a lot about, it’s regulations.

Animal waste technology project unveiled in MD

Animal waste technology project unveiled in MD

Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder recently toured the Murphy family’s Double Trouble Farm

June 23, 2017, Lansing, MI – The MSU EnviroImpact Tool is a new online tool that provides maps showing short-term runoff risks for daily manure application planning purposes—taking into account factors such as precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and landscape characteristics. Farmers handling and applying livestock manure in Michigan can use this tool during any time of year to determine how risky it will be to spread manure on their fields."The MSU EnviroImpact Tool, jointly funded by MSU and MDARD, provides the latest technology in weather forecasting at the fingertips of Michigan farmers," said MSU Extension Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute Director Dr. Ronald Bates. "This online, mobile-friendly tool helps farmers assess their risk of possible runoff as they develop their manure spreading schedules. Farmers have the ability to adjust their management plans if a rainfall event on particular fields is imminent—enabling them to make better management decisions and improve their ability to protect Michigan's water quality."The MSU EnviroImpact Tool is part of a multi-state regional effort to improve "Runoff Risk Decision Support" tools. Runoff Risk Decision Support tools are a unique example of collaboration between federal and state agencies, universities, and the agricultural industry to develop real-time tools and provide guidance to help address the issue of nutrient application timing.While the purpose of this tool is to help reduce the risk of applied manure leaving agricultural fields, it is very important that farmers also follow Manure Management Plans and assess the risk for each field prior to manure applications. Livestock producers and manure applicators can contact their local Conservation Districts or MSU Extension for help in developing a Manure Management Plan. Another resource for making manure application decisions is MDARD's Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices for Manure Management and Utilization."This initiative helps provide farmers with the latest tools necessary for farming profitably while reducing risks to Michigan's environment," said Joe Kelpinski, Manager of MDARD's MAEAP program. "The MSU EnviroImpact Tool, coupled with tools like the 'Manure Application Risk Index' and the 'Winter Manure Spreading Risk Based Decision Making Tool,' will give producers a suite of tools to apply manure to their fields and satisfy crop production needs more efficiently, effectively, and safely."In the coming months, partners will continue to reach out to farmers, manure applicators, and others to increase awareness of this new beneficial tool. Those interested in viewing or using the MSU EnviroImpact Tool can visit www.enviroimpact.iwr.msu.edu.For questions or comments, please contact Shelby Burlew at MSU Extension at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Jason Piwarski at the MSU Institute of Water Research at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or Kip Cronk at Michigan Sea Grant at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
June 22, Wiota, WI — As farms have gotten larger and the equipment and storage facilities necessary to accommodate that growth have gotten bigger with them, the risk of injury and death on those farms has also increased.About 75 emergency response personnel and farmers gathered June 12 at Cottonwood Dairy Farm just outside Wiota for a training session designed to help them understand the hazards of manure storage and handling systems. The workshop focused primarily on confined space and manure as safety procedures.Cheryl Skjolaas, UW-Madison/​Extension agriculture safety specialist, and Jeff Nelson, UW-Madison machinery specialist and volunteer firefighter, took participants to various spots on the farm to see the farm's manure pits and associated equipment during the training session. They talked about equipment that is safe to use in confined spaces, such as gas monitors and ventilation equipment, and fall protection devices. READ MORE
June 20, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – The Alberta Beef Producers (ABP) is seeking nominations for the 2018 Environmental Stewardship Award (ESA). The ESA recognizes cattle producers whose natural resource stewardship practices contribute to the environment and enhance productivity and profitability. The ABP are asking producers to take this opportunity to share the unique environmental practices employed on their operation and to present the positive story about cattle producers' contribution to the environment. Nomination forms are available on the ABP website, from the ABP office or from any local delegate. All cattle producers are encouraged to either enter or nominate another producer who is taking strides towards sound environmental production practices. A team of judges made up of ABP delegates, the 2017 ESA winner and an industry associate will review the submissions and tour the nominated ranching operations. Each applicant will be scored on predetermined criteria unique to the practices they implement in their business. The winner will receive a commemorative gate sign, a video highlighting their ranching operation and an all-expenses paid trip from anywhere in Alberta to the 2017 ABP Annual General Meeting in Calgary, where the award will be presented at a formal banquet. The competition is open to all cattle producers. Deadline for nominations is July 15, 2017, and the winner will be announced December 2017. Contact the Alberta Beef Producers at 403-451-1183.
June 13, 2017, Idaho - Agricultural production in the western U.S. is an important part of the global food supply. However, due to concerns over impacts from agricultural greenhouse gasses on the global climate, there is a need to understand the effect of nitrogen source on emissions from cropping systems in semiarid environments.In a paper recently published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, researchers report nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) emissions from a dairy forage rotation (silage corn-barley-alfalfa) in south-central Idaho that received various nitrogen sources, including granular urea, an enhanced-efficiency fertilizer (SuperU), dairy manure, or composted dairy manure. READ MORE
June 7, 2017, Ada, OH – Manure is (and always has been) part of livestock production, but in recent years it has been increasingly viewed as an asset instead of a liability. Experts emphasize, however, that to get the full benefits and minimize the drawbacks of manure application for the benefit of all parties involved, planning and preparation are extremely important. “It has to be a sustainable operation for the applicator, the livestock producers and the crop producers,” said Eric Dresbach, president of W.D. Farms, LLC, during a presentation at the Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada this spring. “Everybody has to win and nobody can win big.” READ MORE
June 5, 2017, PA - Pennsylvania is offering a limited number of $1,000 grants to dairy farmers to help pay for the cost of developing plans to meet baseline agricultural compliance.The grants can be used to offset some of the costs of preparing Nutrient Management, Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control Plans. Time is of the essence, however, because grant money must be spent by June 30.Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), those with 1,000 or more animal units, already must have Nutrient Management Plans in order to operate. But all Pennsylvania livestock farms, regardless of size, must have Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control plans. In fact, the requirement for a Manure Management Plan has been on the books since 1972.Having basic manure management plans in place has been an expectation for decades. However, inspections are now occurring in Pennsylvania. READ MORE
May 31, 2017, Arlington, VA – The National Dairy FARM Program has released its Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Released in celebration of Earth Day, the guide provides a comprehensive suite of on-farm management practices to reduce a farm's environmental footprint and improve its profitability. Specifically, the manual features a detailed explanation of the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) module, as well as strategies to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in various areas of farm management, including feed, manure, energy, forage, and animal health. FARM ES is a voluntary, farmer-driven tool that helps producers expand their sustainability efforts by using a limited amount of data about their farm. The module is based on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of fluid milk conducted by the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, incorporating existing data from more than 500 dairy farms across the United States. Launched in February, FARM ES is the third of the FARM Program's three silos, including Animal Care and Antibiotic Stewardship. The FARM ES reference manual was developed by FARM and includes previous work completed by the Innovation Center. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led an independent review of the manual using a panel of subject matter experts. "In an increasingly resource scarce world, we need to produce more food on the current amount of land, with less inputs and environmental impacts," said Sandra Vijn, director for markets and food at WWF. "FARM ES will support U.S. dairy farmers in continuously identifying better management practices for environmental stewardship. That is why WWF works with NMPF, the industry and dairy experts to ensure the program produces the best resources and solutions for farmers in terms of environmental sustainability." This manual further demonstrates the dairy industry's culture of continuous improvement, the focus of the FARM Program. Since 1944, the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk has decreased by 63 percent – a leading example of farmers' dedication to being good stewards of natural resources. In addition to the manual, the FARM Program has developed an extensive library of resources regarding the program and environmental stewardship.
May 30, 2017, Casselton, ND - Flies are proliferative and persistent creatures. They can lay 50-150 eggs every few days, and within a two-week period a population of 350 to 1,000 flies is in your horse barn.No matter how many flies you swat or spray with a can, hundreds more drop from the rafters and buzz your ear and circle your head, waging an air raid on any living creature in the barn.Flies play dirty, too. Flies are dirty little creatures thriving on manure, rotting feed and wet straw. These little buggers will land in a pile of poo and then fly to your to-go cup of coffee and land right on the lid when you haven't even taken a drink yet.Environmental management of fly breeding sites is the most beneficial and effective way to manage flies.Couple environmental management with insecticides and fly predators, and you have a strategic plan of attack to stop the fly raid.It takes about 2 weeks for fly eggs to become adult flies. Adult flies like to lay eggs in manure, rotting feed and wet bedding. If we can get rid of manure in the barn at least twice a week, replace stall bedding weekly and keep things dry, our battle with the filth flies are half done.Pyrethrin-based premise sprays and animal sprays provide some temporary relief from the flies, providing days to weeks of fly-free zones.Adding parasitic wasps to the premise will also help reduce the fly population. The stingless wasps will kill the fly pupae that are hiding in manure piles, old feed or soiled bedding.The female wasps find the fly pupae, lay their own eggs in the fly pupae and when the wasp larvae hatch, they eat the fly pupae. Fortunately, the wasps won't sting animals or humans and are just interested in flies. READ MORE
May 16, 2017, Lancaster, PA - Farmers have been referred to as the first environmentalists. Their livestock and crops depend on a healthy environment to thrive. Still, there’s often room for improvement. According to some early findings from a study by Penn State graduate student Erica Rogers, poultry producers are potentially lowering their impact on the Chesapeake Bay. Rogers and fellow Penn State graduate student Amy Barkley discussed those initial findings from their two master’s thesis projects with the poultry service technicians attending Monday’s Penn State Poultry Health and Management Seminar at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center. Her project’s goal is to accurately depict poultry’s contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The Chesapeake Bay “is one of the most studied watersheds in the world,” she said, but the problem with the current model is “they are using outdated information for poultry.” Rogers built her work around the concept that poultry litter management has changed and farmers have adopted more precise diets for their flocks. READ MORE
Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland. More than one-third of all the cows in U.S. live on approximately 3,000 farms in Wisconsin.
The Porter Family farm, located in Cabarrus County, N.C., is the definition of diverse. Four generations of Porters raise chickens, hogs, cattle, and run a profitable agritourism business.
Beef and dairy farmers obviously want to keep as much nitrogen as they can in the soil after they apply any type of manure to their fields, but there aren’t many recommendations out there about whether more N is retained through applying raw dairy manure or digestate (from anaerobic digesters).
June 16, Winnipeg, Man. - The Manitoba Pork Council has been fighting the same battle for more than a decade.In 2006, the provincial government issued a moratorium on hog barn construction, saying it was necessary because hog manure was polluting Lake Winnipeg. That message has stuck with the public, despite strict regulations around manure management and hog industry efforts to change the narrative.The pork council plans to launch another information campaign this summer to try and make its case to urban Manitobans.George Matheson, council chair and hog producer from Stonewall, said the organization would be buying ad space in Winnipeg. The promotion is needed because anti-livestock groups and journalists are spreading incorrect information about Manitoba's hog producers.Matheson didn't specify which media but there have been many stories this spring, mostly in Winnipeg, suggesting the hog industry and its manure could endanger Lake Winnipeg. READ MORE
June 12, 2017, Washington, D.C. - For the last several years, farmers have cited the increasing number of regulations as one of the biggest challenges facing their business.However, a new administration appears to be trying to change that. President Trump has already used his power by issuing executive orders to roll back some agricultural regulations, but more reform is on the way and may start at the USDA.Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is chairing an interagency task force with resetting the regulatory tone in agriculture. READ MORE
June 8, 2017, Charleston, WV – West Virginia’s Department of Agriculture says plans have been written for managing fertilizer and other nutrients on 90,000 acres in the state’s eight-county Chesapeake Bay drainage region. Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt says West Virginia is furthest along among the bay’s watershed states toward the goal, which helps restore land for productive use. READ MORE
May 29, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI - Kewaunee County is working on a draft ordinance that would require farmers to use low-pressure methods when dropping liquid manure on their fields. It's an alternative to the more controversial method of spraying.For years now Kewaunee County has been battling soil and water issues. It is an area with many concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.Most of the county's 20,000 residents get their water from private wells, some of which have been contaminated with nitrates.The county is hoping a new ordinance will keep farmers and residents on the same page and solve some of these well issues. READ MORE
May 19, 2017, U.S. - In April, a major decision came out of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Waterkeeper Alliance v. Environmental Protection Agency case.Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act ("EPCRA"), both federal environmental laws passed in the 1980's, parties must notify the National Response Center (for CERCLA) or state and local government agencies (for EPCRA) when amounts of certain hazardous materials over a set quantity are released into the environment.After this notification is made, the NRC notifies all necessary governmental authorities. The statutes give the EPA power to further investigate, monitor, and take remedial action if necessary.An issue arose related to the application of these statutes to animal waste. At least two substances–ammonia and hydrogen sulfide–are emitted by animal waste during decomposition.Both ammonia and hydrogen sulfide fall under the CERCLA definition of "hazardous substances" and EPCRA's definition of "extremely hazardous substances" to which the statutory reporting requirements apply. Under both statutes, the reportable quantity for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide is set at 100 pounds/day.During rulemaking, the EPA proposed exempting farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting air releases from animal waste. The EPA reasoned that requiring reports for animal waste air releases was "unnecessary" because a federal response would usually be "impractical and unlikely."They noted that, as of 2007, they had never taken a response action based on animal waste.During public comment, the EPA expressly requested comments on whether there could be a situation where a response would be triggered due to air release from animal waste on a farm.In 2008, the EPA finalized the rule. With regard to CERCLA, the rule exempts all farms from reporting air releases from animal waste.Under EPCRA, while most farms are exempt from reporting, the exemption does not include confined animal feeding operations ("CAFOs").A CAFO is defined as a farm that "stables or confines" more than a certain number of animals. For example, a CAFO contains more than 1,000 head of cattle, 10,000 head of sheep, or 55,000 turkeys. READ MORE
May 11, 2017, Olympia, WA – The dairy industry and environmental groups have come up with 19 legal challenges to the Washington Department of Ecology’s new manure-control law. The Pollution Control Hearings Board, the forum for appealing Ecology actions, has scheduled a week-long hearing for Dec. 4-8 in Tumwater on the state’s Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permits. The appeals did not keep the rules from taking effect in March. READ MORE
About 12 years ago, prompted by water quality concerns, the government of Manitoba, Canada, slapped a “temporary” ban on new swine barns. A few years later, that “temporary” ban became a moratorium on new barn construction in 35 municipalities throughout the province.
May 8, 2017, Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision May 5 to veto a bill protecting North Carolina’s hog farms from lawsuits sets up the fourth legislative vote to override a Cooper veto this year. If Cooper, a Democrat, doesn’t muster enough votes, the Republican-dominated legislature will hand Cooper his fourth defeat. House Bill 467 was passed in April in response to 26 lawsuits pending in federal court against the state’s largest hog producer, Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. In the suits, nearly 500 residents say hog farms have made their lives unbearable from odors, flies, buzzards, pig carcasses and other aggravations. READ MORE
May 4, 2017, Ookala, HI – Two community groups in Hawaii – Kupale Ookala and the Center for Food Safety – plan to sue a dairy operation on Hawaii's Big Island for endangering local waterways with manure.In their notice, the groups claim that the dairy manure management and storage practices are "improper" and have caused, and continue to cause, discharges of liquid and solid manure into streams flowing into the Pacific Ocean."The residents of Ookala were disappointed that the state Department of Health and Department of Agriculture didn't take action in 2014 when reports from an investigation clearly showed wrongdoing," said Charlene Nishida, member of the community group Kupale Ookala. "Our community is standing strong and we want to be in the driver's seat so we can hold this polluter accountable and protect our community."The dairy farm in question milks nearly 2,000 cows on 2,500 acres uphill from Ookala, northwest of Hilo, HI. All of its animal waste is to be stored and used onsite, including storage in manure lagoons and sprayed as liquid fertilizer on its crop fields. According to the environmental groups, residents of Ookala have observed the dairy spraying liquid manure on crop fields during high wind days, or immediately before or during rainfall. They also allege the local community has witnessed brown murky water smelling of animal feces flowing from the dairy into the community's waterways and, ultimately, into the Pacific Ocean.In 2014, inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Health confirmed manure runoff from the dairy had discharged into local streams, but no fines were issued. In a December 2016 inspection report, the department noted that the dairy's lagoon systems were poorly maintained and found there was "a high potential" of discharge. Any unpermitted discharge from the operation would violate state and federal water pollution laws.The community groups intend to take the dairy to court after the 60-day notice period required by the Clean Water Act.
May 4, 2017, Pennsylvania – On the day of the inspection of the 350 acres he farms, Jay M. Diller drove his skid loader from the barn to meet staff from the district conservation office. The farmer pulled out large files from his desk and got ready.Pennsylvania farmers like Diller are finding themselves under increased scrutiny as the state and many county conservation districts have ramped up their efforts to check whether farms have required manure management and sediment control plans. The inspections are part of the state's Chesapeake Bay "reboot" strategy announced last year that was aimed at getting its Bay cleanup efforts on track. READ MORE
May 4, 2017, Auburn, NY – Several New York environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the state's Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the agency's newly released permit for large animal farms operating within watersheds. The groups argue that the permit violates the federal Clean Water Act.The complaint was filed April 11 in state Supreme Court in Albany County by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization. READ MORE
April 27, 2017, Richmond, VA — Excessive livestock manure from millions of turkeys, chickens and cows in Virginia is making its way into the Shenandoah River, polluting the scenic waterway with unsafe levels of E. coli, according to a new report from an environmental advocacy group. The Environmental Integrity Project analyzed hundreds of state records for the report released Wednesday. In addition to E. coli, which can sicken the swimmers, fishermen and tubers who flock to the river, the report also found elevated levels of phosphorous, which contributes to the growth of algae blooms and low-oxygen "dead zones." READ MORE
June 14, 2017, Deerfield, Mass. - Peter Melnik, a fourth generation dairy farmer from Deerfield, Massachusetts, is a firm believer a farm should be economically and environmentally sustainable. This belief started him on a 10-year search for a way to make an anaerobic digester work on his farm."At first I thought I could build a small digester to produce enough electricity for my farm," Melnick said. "Then the concept of food waste was introduced to me and the story just grows from there."The recent announcement of an alliance between Dairy Farmers of America and Vanguard Renewables, a Massachusetts-based renewable energy developer, was the missing piece of the puzzle for Melnik. READ MORE
May 30, 2017, U.S. - A pair of federal efforts could make it more profitable to turn organic waste from agriculture and other sources into energy by taking advantage of the Renewable Fuel Standard.One is a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate that would create a 30 percent investment tax credit for qualifying biogas and nutrient-recovery systems. That would put renewable compressed natural gas on a similar footing with solar and wind energy.A separate approach, currently before the Environmental Protection Agency, aims to create a pathway that would pay biogas producers for providing power for electric vehicles.An energy consultant from Des Moines is one of several people in the U.S. trying to devise a record-keeping system that ultimately would pay biogas producers much more than they now earn for generating electricity. READ MORE
May 29, 2017, Boston, MA - For years, dairy farmers have used cow manure as fertilizer to spread over crops like corn and hay. But two farms in Western Massachusetts have a new use for all that manure -- renewable energy.Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield and Rockwood Farms in Granville are embarking on a project to turn cow manure into electricity as a way to become self-sustaining and stabilize their finances in what they say is a volatile market.The farms are working in partnership with the the Hampshire Council of Governments and Pennsylvania-based startup Ag-Grid Energy.The farms hope to break ground on two on-site agricultural anaerobic digesters this summer. READ MORE
May 24, 2017, Granville, Mass. – The Town of Granville could soon be using cattle to create energy.The town's select board plans to power their municipal buildings with credits from Rockwood Farm, which is planning to build a methane digestor.A digestor converts manure into methane gas, which will run a generator that will heat and power the farm. The farm will sell its metering credits to the town.The local renewable energy would reduce the cost for powering town buildings. READ MORE
May 23, 2017, Potsdam, NY – Clarkson University will use federal funding to advance anaerobic digestion techniques for small-to-medium-scale dairy farmers.The university will work in conjunction with the Cornell Cooperative Extension farm dairy specialists on farms working to improve manure management.U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand recently announced $500,000 in new federal funding for Clarkson University.The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).NIFA grants support research and programs that help dairy producers and growers achieve long-term viability, high yield, and labor efficient production of local agricultural products. READ MORE
May 19, 2017, Waunakee, WI - Once infamous for spills, permit violations and even an explosion, the manure digester just north of Waunakee is now receiving accolades from an environmental group dedicated to clean lakes.The Clean Lakes Alliance presented Clean Fuel Partners, LLC, the digester operator, with the Lumley Leadership Award for Lake Stewardship for its efforts to reduce phosphorus entering the Yahara Watershed."We were completely surprised and caught off guard when we were announced," said Clean Fuel CEO John Haeckel. "I would like to think it's because we have been working to make the Waunakee facility work, to sort of resurrect it from a place where it wasn't successful."The manure digester was originally built in partnership with Dane County and operated by a different company, Clear Horizons, with the intention of removing algae-causing phosphorus from three area farms that would otherwise flow into lakes and streams.The digester also captures methane in the process to produce energy. READ MORE
May 9, 2017, Sacramento, Cali. - The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for project funding from the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), authorized by the Budget Act of 2016.This program receives funding from California Climate Investments Program, with proceeds from the state's cap-and-trade auctions, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.CDFA-DDRDP will award between $29 million and $36 million for the installation of dairy digesters in California that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.Existing milk producers and dairy digester developers can apply for funding of up to $3 million per project for anaerobic digestion projects that provide quantifiable greenhouse gas reductions. The program requires a minimum of 50 percent of total project cost as matching funds.Prospective applicants must access the "Request for Applications" at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD for detailed information on eligibility and program requirements.To streamline and expedite the application process, CDFA is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board, which hosts an online application tool, Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST).All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov.Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. PT.CDFA will hold two workshops and one webinar to provide information on program requirements and the FAAST application process (see below). CDFA staff will provide guidance on the application process, provide several examples and answer any questions. There is no cost to attend the workshops. Individuals planning to attend should email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with his or her contact information, number of seats required and the workshop location.Sacramento – Friday, May 12, 20171:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.California Department of Food and Agriculture2800 Gateway Oaks Drive, Room 101Sacramento, CA 95833Tulare – Monday, May 15, 201710:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.Tulare County Agricultural Building Auditorium4437 S. Laspina StreetTulare, CA 93274Webinar – Tuesday, May 16, 20179:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.To register for the webinar, please visit the program webpage at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/DD.Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with general program questions.
May 8, 2017, Nigeria, Africa - Chicken is a favorite, inexpensive meat across the globe. But the bird's popularity results in a lot of waste that can pollute soil and water.One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels. Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don't transform well into biogas, so it's mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University. 
May 5, 2017, Haverhill, MA – A local farm has received the go-ahead to begin turning animal waste into energy – and will save the city an estimated $300,000 as a result.The city council inked a deal May 2 with Vanguard Renewables to purchase power generated by an anaerobic digester at Bradford's Crescent Farms for 13 cents a kilowatt hour. READ MORE
May 3, 2017 - The AgSTAR Program will be hosting, Part two of the Innovative Business Models for Anaerobic Digestion webinar series.The Webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 from 2:00 - 3:30 PM Eastern Time.Industry leaders from Noblehurst Farms Inc., EnviTec Biogas, and DVO, Inc. will review innovative business models for anaerobic digestion (AD) projects and discuss the hub-and-spoke model of hauling manure from several farms to a centralized digester, how to establish successful business arrangements with food waste producers, sustainable production of renewable energy and coproducts using AD and how AD project risks and benefits can be shared among multiple parties.The webinar will include a question-and-answer session and participants will be encouraged to ask questions. Participation in the webinar is free. To register, visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5557285092277361154
May 1, 2017 Oshkosh, WI – This June, we're launching our hands-on Digester Operator Training Course at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from June 13-15.This is a must-attend event for any operator, owner, developer or anyone looking for hands-on digester operations experience. Attendees will have the opportunity learn from top digester operators to learn how to increase biogas production, digestate quality, revenue and avoid costly, time-consuming and smelly mistakes.Over three days, digester operations experts from the American Biogas Council and UW-Oshkosh will start the morning with you in the classroom and ERIC lab to review topics from operations basics and safety to advanced topics like lab testing and operation software and remote monitoring. Then, we'll head to a digester to spend half or more of each day working with the operations team, turning valves, collecting samples and troubleshooting issues. We'll have three different types of digesters for you to experience – continuous mix, dry fermentation and plug flow.Sign up before the class fills up.
April 25, 2017, Lincoln, NE – For a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemical and biomolecular engineering students, biogas refining isn't just a senior design capstone project, it's a potential means of supplying Nebraska's rural communities with a renewable source of energy that comes from resources that are both local and plentiful.Tasked with helping Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) turn biogas into a more-refined form of natural gas, the team of Meryl Bloomfield, Heather Newell, K.J. Hafer and Dave Hansen saw that the state was among the nation's leaders in not only cattle population but in manure production.Using an anaerobic digestion process, the team proposes turning that manure not only into fertilizer for crops but natural gas that NPPD could also use to create electricity that powers farms and rural communities across the state."Compared to other renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – biogas is more consistent," said Bloomfield. "Cows are always going to produce manure. You don't have to rely on having a sunny day or a windy day, especially In Nebraska, where wind and solar plants might not be as reliable as in Arizona and California."According to The Cattle Network, Nebraska ranked second nationally in 2015 with approximately 6.3 million cattle or about seven percent of the U.S. population. One of the biggest uses of the manure produced by the cattle is the production of fertilizer.The student team worked to develop a method that would allow the production of natural gas and still maintain a viable supply for fertilizer production. But that led to it expanding on its goal by proposing a solution that could be an economic boost to the rural community – a biogas upgrade refinery that would be strategically located near Broken Bow.The refined natural gas from the Nebraska Biogas Upgrading Refinery would then be piped to NPPD's Canaday Station southeast of Lexington, where it could be used to create electricity."It would be centralized to where the cows are," Hansen said. "After designing the plant, we determined we'd need about a quarter of a million head of cattle to achieve the manure supply sufficient to reach the capacity NPPD is looking for.The natural gas that would be similar to the gas used in homes across the country, Hansen said, except it would be collected as part of a natural process rather than relying on traditional means of extracting the gas – such as fracking or refining fossil fuels.Newell also said the process would be more beneficial to the ecology."In doing this, we're reducing greenhouse gases from the cow manure that sits out and naturally becomes fertilizer," Newell said. "We're reducing the carbon dioxide and creating something useful from it."Though their proposal isn't guaranteed to be implemented, Bloomfield said thinking about the human impact made this senior capstone experience valuable for the entire team."Knowing that it could be even a stepping stone to something for NPPD changed how we approached it," Bloomfield said. "When you're thinking theoretically, you can go a lot of different directions. When you're thinking about how it affects people and their lives, that's when it gets real."
June 21, 2017, Fair Oaks, IN – On June 16, Midwestern BioAg was joined by more than 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of its new TerraNu fertilizer manufacturing plant. The event, hosted at Fair Oaks Farms in Fair Oaks, IN, featured remarks from Midwestern BioAg leadership and Mike McCloskey, co-founder and chairman of the board at Fair Oaks Farms. READ MORE
Last month Statistics Canada released the results of the 2016 Census of Agriculture. Like many of you, I was eager to read up on the results and discover how our industry has changed in the five years since the last survey was conducted.Some findings, such as the edging up of the average age of farm operators from 54 in 2011 to 55 in 2016, aren't all that surprising. After all, aging is a fact of life. Other findings, however, gave me pause. For example, Statistics Canada found that even though the average age of farmers has increased, only one in 12 operations have a formal succession plan outlining how the farm will be transferred to the next generation.In other words, the vast majority of Canada's farm operators have not taken steps to safeguard the businesses they've worked long and hard to build.Experts in the field agree there are many reasons farmers shy away from succession planning, including fear: fear of change, of creating conflict within the family, of losing one's identity as a farmer, and of confronting the fact that not even the healthiest among us live forever. Then there's the time required to craft a plan and implement it when there are still animals to feed, seeds to plant and suppliers and customers to work with, plus all the other tasks that contribute to a farm's long-term success. Perhaps one of the most significant barriers, though, is the daunting scope of work the term "succession planning" entails.Though we can't do that work for you, the editorial teams behind Agrobiomass, Canadian Poultry, Fruit & Vegetable, Manure Manager, Potatoes in Canada and Top Crop Manager have partnered to help ease the way with our first annual Succession Planning Week.From June 12 to 16, we'll be delivering a daily e-newsletter straight to your inbox, packed with information and resources to help you with succession planning in your operation. Each e-newsletter will offer practical advice and suggestions you can use, whether you're an experienced farm owner wondering if your succession plan needs some tweaking or an aspiring successor wondering how to start the succession conversation.But that's not the only conversation we want to kick-start. Share your succession planning tips and success stories on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #AgSuccessionWeek. The best of the best will be published on our website (FamilyFarmSuccession.ca) and included in Friday's e-newsletter.We hope Succession Planning Week offers valuable information to help you keep your operation growing, now and for generations to come.
June 9, 2017, Washington, D.C. - Nominations are now being accepted for the 20th annual Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award, which is co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Herd Management magazine. The winner will be honored at Dairy Forum 2018, January 21-24 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Springs in Desert Spring, Calif. Nominations must be submitted by August 25, 2017, and there is no fee to enter.The call asks for nominations of active U.S. dairy farms that are improving on-farm efficiency through progressive management practices, production technologies and/or marketing approaches. Nominees will be judged on current methods as well as their positioning to meet future economic and business challenges.The award recipient will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Dairy Forum to attend a special presentation ceremony held during the program. The person nominating the winner will receive complimentary registration to Dairy Forum.In addition, the winning operation will be highlighted in the January 2018 issue of Dairy Herd Management. Dairy Forum is widely recognized as the most important processor and producer conference of the year for the U.S. dairy industry. The 2017 event drew an impressive crowd of more than 1,100 industry participants.  For more information, visit: http://www.idfa.org/docs/default-source/awards-documents/2018_innovative_dairy_farmer_form.pdf?sfvrsn=e9f2caa5_2 
June 8, 2016, Calgary, Alta. - Livestock Water Recycling is one of seven Calgary based technology companies who will receive over $2.5 million in federal government support to help bring their technology to the global marketplace.The LWR System is a disruptive technology that is used by dairy and hog producers to recover nutrients and recycle water from livestock manure.There are many benefits to managing manure in this way; these include cleaner sand for bedding, increased crop yields due to strategic nutrient application, and a much easier path to expansion should a producer so choose.This funding will be used to further develop a new module for RO cleaning that will reduce consumable costs and increase flow capacity. Not only will this advance manure treatment, but could potentially have applications across a variety of industries beyond livestock production.David Lametti, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, made the funding announcement last week on the Minister's behalf during a visit to Innovate Calgary.The funding supports western-based companies that develop cutting-edge technology, create jobs, and spur the economy. The Government's Innovation Agenda aims to make Canada a global centre for innovation – one that drives economic growth by creating better jobs, opportunities, and living standards for all Canadians.
June 8, 2017, Linn, Kan. - Handling manure can be costly. A farm in Kansas was spending up to $90,000 each year to pick up manure solids, but now the costs have dropped significantly.Since November of 2000, Lee Holtmeier has been managing the Linn Willow Creek Dairy LLC outside Linn, Kan. Prior to that, he'd worked 20 years for Farmland Foods buying hogs and grew up auctioneering cattle and hogs at his family's sale barn business in Nebraska. The only experience he'd had with dairy cows is when he started breeding cattle for Willow Creek Dairy when the dairy began operations in 1999.While he didn't know some of the intricacies of dairy farming, Holtmeier did know how to manage people and spot problems. "We've changed a lot of things and moved some things around," Holtmeier says of his time at the farm the past 17 years.One of those major changes was improving how manure was handled. Prior to 2007, the dairy was spending anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000 per year hiring dump trucks and excavators to take out the manure solids from three settling bays and three lagoons in the spring and fall. Not only was it costly, it also had a larger environmental footprint with several heavy machines being run to pick up manure. READ MORE
May 31, 2017, Orange County, Cali. - In the "Back to the Future" film franchise trilogy, Dr. Emmet Brown replaced the plutonium-based nuclear generator in the De Lorean time machine with a "Mr. Fusion" generator from the future that uses garbage as fuel. CR & R Environmental Services has a similar dream for the future – turning waste into energy through an advanced technology called anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion produces "biogas" from organic waste in a zero waste, 100 percent renewable process.At a recent Economic Workforce Development Committee luncheon hosted by the Lake Elsinore Chamber of Commerce at the Diamond Club at Storm Stadium, Alex Braicovich, senior regional vice president at CR & R, shared the vision, the process and the progress of their initiative of "Turning Today's Waste into Tomorrow's Energy."CR & R, a full service, privately held, integrated waste management company based in Orange County, California, was founded in 1963 with one truck in a waste-hauling operation and later added two recycling trucks. Today, the company has grown to include 50 municipal contracts in Southern California and southwestern United States. They have 12 processing contracts and utilize 1,000 trucks every day with 1,600 employees that serve 2.5 million residential customers and 50,000 commercial customers. They have two solid waste facilities, five transfer stations and two landfills – a large one in Yuma, Arizona, and a smaller one serving Catalina Island.The company has always been on the leading edge, including having the first recycling buy-back center in Orange County, the first three-can, fully automated curbside collection system, the first network of Material Recovery Facilities and one of the first bio-filtration systems. READ MORE
May 25, 2017, Calgary, Alta. - Livestock Water Recycling has been named finalist for a Water Industry Achievement Award for Water Resource Management Initiative of the Year. Organized by WET News and Water & Wastewater Treatment, the awards celebrate innovation and best practices in the water sector, and are highly prized within the industry. Dairy and hog producers install the LWR System when they want smart, flexible, on-site nutrient recovery that allows them to expand their herds. The LWR System holds the industry record for the most installations and is helping producers make valuable nutrient products that are easy to export while recycling clean water that is used to clean sand, irrigate crops, and even water back to the livestock. "We are always pushing ourselves to consistently deliver leading-edge technologies to our customers while going above and beyond the call of duty," says Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks. "It is truly an honor to be recognized on this short list of companies who are each changing the water treatment landscape in their respective fields." LWR has created the only proven system on the market that segregates and concentrates manure nutrients while recycling clean water that can be used back on the farm. Today, over 590,000,000 million gallons of manure can be treated annually through LWR Systems that are currently installed across North America. Not only are nutrient values maximized, but this method of manure treatment currently results in the potential recovery of over 400 million of gallons of clean, reusable water. Enough water to fill 639 Olympic sized swimming pools, or the equivalent of the annual water consumption of over 13,000 Americans - and that number rises with every new installation. "To be recognized among the water industry's elite is a result of our ongoing desire to provide the livestock industry with proven, reliable technology that truly adds value to farming operations. We are excited to showcase our technology on the world stage" adds Brooks.
May 15, 2017, Raleigh, NC – PrairieChar, a Kansas company developing a system to convert animal manure into useful products, won the $10,000 cash prize and $3,500 in legal and financial advice at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center's 2017 Ag Biotech Entrepreneurial Showcase.PrairieChar Chairman and CEO Robert Herrington said he started the company because his wife made him buy her a horse farm. He suffered a broken back when a tree fell on him as he was clearing a pasture. Lying in bed recuperating, he called friends in California and asked them to send him business plans to review. One caught his eye."We're in the manure business," Herrington said of what has become his new adventure. "We take something you don't want and turn it into something you do."Manure is a cost center in the cattle, swine and poultry industries. It causes disposal and environmental problems. In North Carolina, one of the top swine producers in the nation, manure from swine and poultry adds up to 40 billion pounds a year. Swine manure put into lagoons causes odor and environmental problems that Herrington believes can be solved with PrairieChar's technology.PrairieChar, which Herrington said was engineered to be a scalable, cost-effective solution, is developing machines the size of cargo containers that can be placed next to a manure pile. The manure never has to be transported more than 300 feet. The company's revenue-share model means it gets the manure for nothing and farmers turn a cost center into a revenue stream.The machines turn the manure into two valuable sterile products, he said. The process eliminates emissions into the air and removes soil and water hazards. One product produced is a "100 percent OMRI organic fertilizer that can reduce conventional fertilizer needs."The other is a sustainable, renewable coal substitute that produces an ash that is actually valuable instead of being an environmental hazard like coal ash. It is 90 percent pure phosphate that can be sold for 25-cents to one-dollar a pound."We can change the way we're dealing with environmental issues," Herrington said. "We could convert manure into 33 million tons of our products annually."It would also create jobs paying $50,000 to $70,000 annually in rural America, he added.The machines cost $550,000 to build. The company recently opened a Series A round looking for $5 million. Although the company currently plans to begin operations on cattle manure in Kansas, Herrington said that if enough of its funding comes from North Carolina, it will target swine manure "sooner rather than later."
May 10, 2017, Bonduel, WI – While AgSource Laboratories is not "older than dirt," the organization does have a 50-year history of analyzing soil and contributing to the overall health and productivity of thousands of acres of land.What started as a county extension milk lab has grown into a full service agronomy lab, complete with nutrient management planning and GPS soil sampling services.AgSource Laboratories, in Bonduel, Wis., became a part of AgSource (then called ARC, Agricultural Records Cooperative) in August 1967. That first year, the lab processed just 5,301 soil samples. Today, the lab can analyze that many samples in under two days."We're very proud of the lab's long history," notes Steve Peterson, AgSource Vice President of Laboratory Services. "Bonduel has been a great community to work in. Thank you to our friends in Bonduel and thank you to our customers for 50 terrific years!"Over the years, the laboratory has specialized in forage, soil, plant tissue and manure testing. While forage testing is no longer offered, agronomy services have expanded to include VRT fertilizer recommendations, GPS soil sampling and nutrient management planning."Every day in the lab is different, which keeps things fun," comments Peterson. "It should be interesting to see how we continue to adapt and grow in the future."AgSource Laboratories, in Bonduel, Wis., will officially celebrate 50 years of soil testing services this August 2017. Customers, friends and community members are welcome to attend several special events this summer at the laboratory, located at 106 North Cecil Street. Stay tuned for more fun, 50th celebration announcements.• June Dairy Month Ice Cream Social – Wednesday, June 14, 2-4 pm• Anniversary Celebration Open House – Wednesday, August 16, 2-5 pmFor more information, visit, http://agsource.com/
April 18, 2017, Ames, IA – Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture would be closed under a House-Senate agriculture bill unveiled April 12. The bill would cut the state's general fund budget for state agriculture and natural resources programs by 5.6 percent compared to the current fiscal year.
March 29, 2017, Des Moines, IA – Ben Puck, owner of Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) in Manning, Iowa, was recently named Iowa’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year.
February 3, 2017 – Kuhn North America, Inc. is looking for customers and dealers to submit high-quality photos of their Kuhn branded equipment to be featured in an upcoming calendar. Photos need to be in .JPEG format (minimum of 2,000 pixels wide, 300 dpi) and should be submitted to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text91015 ); document.write( '' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it All entries are due to Kuhn North America, Inc. no later than June 30, 2017. Up to 15 entries will be selected as winners at the discretion of the Kuhn North America marketing department. Winning entries will be announced the week of July 3, 2017. Winning contestants will each receive a calendar featuring their winning photo and a $75 gifts and gear promotional gift certificate. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries. If you have questions, please contact the Kuhn North America at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or send a message to the Kuhn North America Facebook or Twitter pages. To view the full contest rules, please visit the following website: http://www.kuhnnorthamerica.com/us/news-kuhn-calendar-photo-contest.html.
Custom manure applicators often describe their work in colorful ways, using such terms as “traveling circus” and “hopscotch system” to explain what they do on a day-to-day basis. Lately, many have added a new term to their vocabulary and that is “frac tank.”
May 11, 2017, Madison County, OH – A new hog barn in Madison County has thousands of color-changing LED lights, sophisticated computer ventilation controls and an automated feeding system that can serve thousands of pigs with the flip of a switch, but it is what lies 10 feet beneath the 733-foot-long barn that is exciting. Two large pipes jutting out of one end of the barn – the visible piece of a system called mass agitation – allow the farm team to pump 7,000 gallons of water a minute into the pit beneath the barn where the excretions of 5,000 or so pigs collect. The water, which feeds through the two pipes and into other branches throughout the pit, stirs things up, which should make for better manure to spread on farm fields and also reduce the smell. READ MORE
In 2015, Manure Manager reported on the dribble bar, a method of applying liquid manure for dragline units that is very popular in Europe, with thousands of units sold there by its Germany-based manufacturer, Vogelsang, which has a U.S. office in Ravenna, Ohio.
May 5, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – An effort to automate the cleaning and disinfection of swine transport vehicles is about to move into the next phase.A team of engineers and scientists, working on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, is preparing to move into phase three of an initiative to adapt hydrovac technology to speed up and reduce the cost of washing and disinfecting swine transport trailers.Dr. Terry Fonstad, a professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, explains swine transportation has been identified as the primary risk for transferring disease-causing pathogens.Prairie Swine Centre is involved in doing a trailer inventory.They went out and looked at all the trailers that are being used and then looked into both animal welfare and cleanability aspects of those trailers," Dr. Fonstad says. "PAMI is developing with us a cleaning system based on a concept of using vacuum and pressure washers.""VIDO is working on the side of pathogen destruction and giving us the engineering parameters that we need to destroy pathogens and verification of that.""Then, on the engineering side at the University, we're looking at measuring those parameters in the trailers to verify that we're meeting the conditions that'll destroy the pathogens," he says. "I think this is a bit unique for research in that it's industry led, industry driven.""One thing that we did made sure that we put in is an advisory team that's everywhere from producers to veterinarians to people that actually wash the trucks and we get together every six months and have them actually guide the research," Dr. Fonstad adds. "I think that's been part of the success, is having that advisory team that's made up of that diverse group of people."Dr Fonstad says a less labour-intensive prototype hydrovac system, which requires less water that cleans the trailers to a level that facilitates effective disinfection and pathogen deactivation using heat has been developed.He says the next step is to automate or semi-automate the system.
May 3, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Scientists with VIDO InterVac have confirmed the application of heat to swine transportation equipment is an important step in ensuring pathogens will be rendered incapable of transmitting disease.As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, scientists with the University of Saskatchewan, the Prairie Swine Centre, the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute and VIDO-InterVac are working to automate the cleaning of swine transport vehicles to speed up the process and cut the cost.VIDO-InterVac is responsible for identifying approaches to inactivate the key pathogens responsible for the transmission of disease.Dr Volker Gerdts, the associate director of research with VIDO-InterVac, said in this project scientists focused on temperatures and the amount of time at those temperatures needed to inactivate 12 pathogens, six bacteria and six viruses, considered important to the swine industry."Viruses in general are a little bit more difficult to inactivate because they are inside the cell but we also had a few bacteria, Streptococcus suis for example, which is also relatively resistant to heat," Dr. Gerdts said."If you were able to use a very high temperature, like 80 degrees, all of these pathogens will be destroyed within a very short period of time," he said. "Going lower, like at 60 or 65 degrees Celsius, then it would take much longer so it's really a combination of temperature and time."I can't really give you all of those but, if you were to go with a high temperature, like 80 degrees for example, that would be sufficient to kill most pathogens within minutes," he added. "If you were going to go with 70 or 65 degrees then you're probably looking more at 15 minutes or something like that."Dr Gerdts noted the industry is using this approach already.He said after cleaning, washing and disinfecting, they're baking the trailers but the various units are using slightly different temperatures and slightly different schedules.
May 1, 2017 – When is the best time to spread manure for optimal crop production and minimize environmental losses?The simple answer is it depends on many factors. While not exactly a satisfying answer to a complex scenario, it truly depends on the manure handling system, cropping system, field conditions, weather forecasts, time and labor available, volume of manure in the pit and many more factors. What is the right decision when there are so many factors out of our control? The best answer is to know the risk factors during the time of manure application and minimize those risks while optimizing crop production with those additional manure nutrients.To help solve this complex scenario, a new tool is available for Michigan livestock producers to use when making decisions on when and where to spread manure. The Michigan State University EnviroImpact Tool is part of the Michigan Manure Management Advisory System that was been developed through a partnership between National Weather Service/NOAA, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), Michigan State University (MSU) Institute of Water Research, Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension. The MSU EnviroImpact Tool provides maps showing short-term runoff risks for daily manure application planning purposes; taking into account factors including precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and landscape characteristics. Anyone handling and applying livestock manure in Michigan can use this tool to determine how risky it will be spread manure on their fields.Key features of this tool include: Ability to sign up for e-mail or text message alerts specific to your field locations for high-risk runoff days. Easy visualization of the short-term risk of manure runoff. Ability to zoom in on the map to your field(s) and click on the location to determine the potential risk of runoff from manure application. Capability to login to the tool to draw and save your fields on the map to determine risk of runoff at any time. Automatic daily runoff risk forecast updates from the National Weather Service. Access to additional resources on manure management. While the purpose of these maps are to help reduce the risk of applied manure leaving the fields, it is very important to follow your farm's Manure Management Plan and to assess the risk for each field prior to manure applications. Always apply your own knowledge of your fields and landscapes when assessing the risk of runoff from manure applications. Remember this tool is just one of many in your own toolbox.Additional Manure Application Considerations:Risk increases with soil moisture. If you know that your fields are particularly wet, you should know that the risk of runoff from your fields would be higher than what is shown on the risk map. The opposite may hold true if you estimate that your soil moisture values are lower.Even if the map shows low risk of runoff, your fields may not be dry enough to spread manure. Applying liquid manure (typically equivalent to 1/3 to 1 inch or more of rainfall) to wet fields could lead to a direct manure runoff, even if the field is otherwise a low risk site due to low slope, etc. Make sure your fields are dry enough to accept additional moisture. Additionally, operating field equipment on wet fields could lead to soil compaction.Liquid manure applications increase soil moisture. An application of 27,000 gallons per acre of liquid manure is the equivalent of adding approximately 1 inch of water to your fields. A liquid manure application effectively increases your soil moisture, and therefore the risk of runoff from fields receiving liquid manure could be higher than what is shown on the risk map.Snow-covered and frozen fields are high risk. If you have snow on your fields, the risk of runoff from your fields could be higher especially if spreading manure in the later winter months of February or March (due to snowmelt or rainfall).Some fields are always higher risk areas. These are areas of concern on your farm, and might include fields with higher slopes, tighter soils (clay), poor drainage or close to sensitive areas such as surface waters, etc. Many of these areas should be identified in your Manure Management Plan and/or sensitive area maps. Use caution when applying manure in these areas, regardless of what the risk map indicates.Livestock producers and manure applicators should contact their local Conservation District MAEAP technician for help in developing a Manure Management Plan that takes into account a manure-spreading plan, sensitive area field maps and alternatives to spreading if necessary. Another great resource for making manure application decisions is MDARD's Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices (GAAMPs) specific to Manure Management and Utilization.The MSU EnviroImpact Tool is currently under development and will be available soon. Livestock producers, manure applicators and others are encouraged to preview the tool and provide feedback. If you interested in accessing the tool and providing feedback, please contact either Shelby Burlew, MSU Extension, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Jason Piwarski, MSU Institute of Water Research, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for access to the tool's website
April 27, 2017, Lethbridge, Alta – The beef industry is facing opportunity and a dilemma. Consumption of animal protein is expected to increase more than 60 percent over the next 40 years according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Ruminants are a key to meeting this demand because they can convert forage to protein-rich food and make use of land not suitable for arable crops. The dilemma is ruminants are also a significant environmental problem, producing large amounts of methane from that forage consumption. There are no silver bullets to deal with methane and ammonia emissions but there is real promise for significant improvement on the horizon say Dr. Karen Beauchemin and Dr. Karen Koenig, two researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Here are three examples. New product Perhaps the most dramatic methane control option is a new product in the pipeline designed specifically to manage methane production in ruminants. "Methane is lost energy and lost opportunity," says Beauchemin. "The inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (NOP) is a new compound synthetized by a company out of Switzerland specifically to control methane. A feed additive, it interferes with normal digestion process reducing the ability of rumen organisms to synthesize methane, shifting methane energy to a more usable form for the animal." Research by the Lethbridge team showed adding NOP to a standard diet reduced methane production 40 percent during backgrounding and finishing of cattle. Trials have been done in commercial feedlots and it is moving into the registration channels in North America. "Obviously there are hoops to go through in registration and questions such as pricing and mode of use in the cow calf sector that would affect industry uptake, but it is a very promising emission control alternative that could be available within three to five years," says Beauchemin. New techniques Diet manipulation is also promising. For example, increasing the nutritional digestibility of forages through early harvesting increases animal efficiency and reduces methane emissions, says Beauchemin. "We're also overfeeding protein in many cases which increases ammonia emissions," says Koenig. "For example, distillers grains, a by-product of the ethanol industry, are commonly fed in feedlots. But the nutrients are concentrated and when added to diets as an energy supplement, it often results in overfeeding protein, which increases ammonia emissions." One new area of research that may mitigate that, she says, is using plant extracts such as tannins that bind the nitrogen in the animal's gut and retain it in the manure more effectively. That retains the value as fertilizer. "There are supplements on the market with these products in them already, but we are evaluating them in terms of ammonia and methane management." New thinking A new focus in research trials today is thinking "whole farm." A new research nutrient utilization trial in the Fraser Valley of B.C. is looking at crop production in terms of selection of crops, number of cuts, fertilization and feed quality. "We are looking at what is needed to meet the needs of the dairy cow," says Koenig. "It's a whole farm system that does not oversupply nutrients to the animal." Road ahead Basically, most things that improve efficiency in animal production reduce methane and ammonia production, says Beauchemin and Koenig. They emphasize that while forage does produce methane, forage is a complex system that must be considered as whole ecosystem with many positive benefits. The biggest opportunity for improvement in methane emissions is in the cow calf and backgrounding sector because they are highly forage-ration based. But the low hanging fruit and early research in emission management is focused on the feedlot and dairy sector because diets can be controlled more easily. Related scientific paper here "Effects of sustained reduction of enteric methane emissions with dietary... ."
April 20, 2017, Ithaca, NY – For many parts of New York State, not for the first time, March 2017 provided both deep snow and saturated wet conditions that presented significant manure related challenges, especially to daily spread and short term storage operations. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation recently issued a warning about risky manure spreading.While the conditions are still fresh, every operation should take stock of manure storage options and look for ways to avoid application in these situations. Over the last few weeks, I have heard more comments than usual from farm and non-farm folks alike about seeing neighbors spreading manure on barely trafficable fields or even from the edge of the road.If you find your operation in this situation, or if you strained to find fields that can hold up the tractor and spreader without getting stuck, runoff risk is likely to be high and application should be avoided whether you are a regulated farm or not. Spreading just before rain or snowmelt can be just as risky, even if a field can be driven on without getting stuck.For stackable manure in the short term, temporary pile locations can be identified with the help of SWCD, NRCS, or private sector planners until better storage options can be installed.New York State and federal cost share options are available annually; meet with your local SWCD and/or NRCS staff to start the process. The Dairy Acceleration Program can help with cost of engineering on farms under 700 cows.Position your operation for the future: evaluate manure storage needs and implement solutions.
July 12, 2016, Columbus, OH – The North American Manure Expo is about to land in Ohio. The big event, covering the serious business of using farm animal manure to help grow crops, while doing it safely and greenly, is August 3 and 4 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio, about 25 miles west of Columbus.
May 25, 2016, State College, PA – An online tool has been developed to help save the lives of people who enter manure storage facilities on the farm. Dennis Murphy, Nationwide Insurance professor of agriculture, safety and health, says pits are designed for the safety of animals but there are complicated computations for designing adequate ventilation for people. That’s where the tool comes in for builders, designers and engineer. READ MORE
  Back in mid-November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plus 20 business and association partners made an exciting announcement. They launched a challenge – the Nutrient Recycling Challenge – a competition aimed at developing affordable technologies that can recycle nutrients from livestock manure. The main idea behind the challenge is to encourage participants to develop affordable and useable technologies that can extract nutrients from manure and generate products that can benefit the environment and be sold or used by farmers. “Scientists and engineers are already building technologies that can recover nutrients but further development is needed to make them more effective and affordable,” stated Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, when the challenge was launched. “The Nutrient Recycling Challenge will harness the power of competition to find solutions that are a win/win for farmers, the environment, and the economy.” The competition has been organized into four stages. Phase I (January 15, 2016) calls for concept papers outlining the idea behind the technology. Phase II (Spring 2016) will involve designing the technology. Phase III (Summer 2016) involves the development of prototypes and proof of concept. Final submissions are due by Fall 2016 with an awards ceremony expected January 2017. Phase IV (Spring 2017) will involve placing the final participants’ technologies on pilot farm operations. Already, the first phase of the multi-year competition has been completed. During Phase I, as much as $20,000 in cash prizes will be split between up to four winning concepts. As well, according to the challenge website (nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org), promising applicants will also be invited to an exclusive two-day partnering and investor summit in Washington, DC, being held in March 2016. They can also gain entry into further phases of the challenge, which will include potential awards such as further funding, incubation support, connection to investors, media and publicity plus the opportunity to have the technology demonstrated on an operational farm. Since the project was launched, discussion about the challenge has been quiet with the event website’s discussion area posting links to articles announcing the competition. As of the end of December 2016, only seven people were following the challenge on its website. Even many of the event partners have been mute about the competition, except for Smithfield Foods, which released a press release promoting its involvement in the challenge. “Our goal in partnering in this competition is to encourage innovation and identify additional opportunities for continuous improvement in management of livestock manure,” said Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of environmental compliance and support operations of Smithfield’s hog production division. I look forward to the announcement of Phase I winners in March and will be following the competition through all of its phases. Be sure to check back with Manure Manager for updates.      
June 12, 2015, Chambersburg, PA – Agriculture, like most industries, is in constant flux. Consumer trends shift, new discoveries are made, technologies advance, and regulations change. The manure handling and application industry is no different. The North American Manure Expo prides itself on helping livestock producers and custom manure applicators stay in the know. This year’s event – being held July 14 and 15 in Chambersburg, Penn. – provides attendees with more than 30 different education sessions to choose from to help them stay informed. On July 15, the knowledge sharing begins at 8 a.m. with the first round of seminars on the expo grounds. Subdivided into five different areas of interest, they include: Commercial Hauler Seminar Application of Food Processing Residuals – Linda Housel, Jeff Olsen Economic Considerations of Manure Transport with Frac Tanks – Eric Dreshbach Road, Field & Shop Safety – Eric Dreshbach Manure & Corn Seminar Shallow Disk Injection Versus Broadcasting of Manure: A Field Study Comparison – Emily Duncan Manure Injection in Corn: NY Experiences – Karl Czymmek Drag-lining Manure into Emerged Corn: What’s Working in Ohio – Glen Arnold Poultry Focus Seminar Biosecurity & Avian Influenza Update – Gregory Martin Poultry Litter & Biosolid Injection – Amy Shober Poultry Litter Auction: The Story of Cotner Manure Auction – Dean James Management Basics Seminar 4Rs in the Real World: making Sure Your Manure’s All Right – Brooke & Eric Rosenbaum Manure Composting – Jean Bohnotal Mortality Composting – Jean Bohnotal Dairy Focus Seminar Factors Effecting Manure P Excretion on PA Dairy Farms – Dan Ludwig, Virginia Ishler How Practical is Dairy Manure Injection? – Rory Maguire Utilizing Fall Manure to Double Crop Winter & Summer Annual Forages – Rachel Milliron These same five sessions will also be repeated later in the afternoon, starting at 5 p.m. Other education seminars being held over the course of the day include: Responsible Ag (9:30 a.m.) Helping Fertilizer Retailers be Safe, Secure & Compliant – Wade Foster Gas Safety Seminar (9:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.) Hydrogen Sulfide Production in Manure Storages at PA Dairy Farms that use Gypsum Bedding – Mike Hile Demonstration of Penn State’s gas trailer – Dave Hill Agriculture Road Safety (9:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.) A review of road safety with Officers Mitchell Saflia & Greg Fisher PA One Stop Mapping (10 a.m. & Noon) Presented by Rich Day & Bob Neiderer Regulation Changes (Noon) Clean Water Act and the “Waters of the United States” Rule: Potential Effects on Nutrient Application – Wade Foster Maryland Manure Application Regulation Update – Dwight Dotterer Ohio’s New Manure Application Regulations for the Western Lake Erie Watershed – Glen Arnold Legal Liability Issues Related to Manure – Matt Royer Poultry Tour Seminar (12:30 p.m.) Two Hundred Years of Manure Management at Lesher’s Poultry – Leslie Bowman Recycling Mineral Nutrients from Egg Layer Manure: The Gettysburg Energy & Nutrient Recovery Facility – Pat Topper Equine Seminar (2 p.m.) Equine Manure Composting & Storage Options – Ann Swinker Not So Good to Best Management Practices: Manure Handling Improvements that Really Work for Horse Farms – Jamie Cohen Equine Parasites in Manure – Donna Foulk Attendees will also have lots of opportunities to learn in the field. On July 15, attendees can watch solid and liquid manure application plus compost turner demonstrations, take part in a spreader calibration exercise plus learn how to respond during an unexpected manure spill. And don’t forget the full day of dairy/agitation and equine/beef small farm tours on July 14 plus the trade show – a mini manure city constructed in a field of wheat stubble. The North American Manure Expo is the perfect opportunity for attendees to talk to manufacturers, dealers and other experts in the manure industry and view side-by-side demonstrations of equipment. Nowhere else can the audience view and compare technologies while kicking the tires in such a large, industry-specific forum. To learn more about the 2015 North American Manure Expo and register for events, visit manureexpo.org.  

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