Chicken litter is natural  fit for field fertility

Chicken litter is natural fit for field fertility

People in the poultry industry have been on the fast-track

Manure benefits without the hassle

Manure benefits without the hassle

For years, Fair Oaks, Ind.-based Prairie’s Edge Dairy Farms, LLC, had been trying to find the right technology

From hand hauling to high-tech automation

From hand hauling to high-tech automation

One back surgery and 30 years later,

December 14, 2017, University Park, PA – Changing weather patterns pose significant challenges for modern dairy farmers. Deciding how best to react to those changes to ensure the vitality of dairy farms — while being good stewards of the environment — can present a bit of a conundrum for some farmers, especially if they are pressed for time and resources. What are the best management practices? Are there technologies that can help? Is there current research on the subject? Now, those farmers can see sustainability principles in action with just a few mouse clicks, thanks to an interactive "virtual farm" website developed by researchers in Penn State University's College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension, in partnership with the project's lead, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University and the Dairy Innovation Center. "The objective of this project is provide a 'one-stop shop' for all dairy sustainability information," said Eileen Fabian, professor of agricultural engineering and environmental biophysics in Penn State's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. "The beauty of it is that one can take a tour of a sustainable dairy farm without stepping foot on an actual farm. The resources are accessible, free and can be viewed anytime from anywhere." Fabian explained that the catalyst for this major undertaking was a growing movement in the dairy industry to adopt practices that mitigate the negative effects of agricultural operations on the environment, while securing the future sustainability of farms. In Pennsylvania alone, there are 6,650 dairy farms — the second largest number of dairy farms nationally — according to the Center for Dairy Excellence. In addition to producing 10.7 billion pounds of milk annually, the state's dairy industry provides 60,000 jobs and has an estimated annual economic impact of $7 billion. "It's a tremendous industry, and its people really care about the environment and their farms," Fabian said. "Those farmers want to do their part to protect the integrity of soil, water, air and animal habitats and to keep agriculture a strong industry. And it's our mission at Penn State to help them do just that — we believe this website will really help to move the needle." The website, designed and developed by the creative services team at WPSU Penn State, has two virtual farms: One is a model of a 1,500-cow facility, while the other is a smaller-scale operation of 150 animals. Users can click on the various aspects of the farm, such as pastures, housing, manure storage facilities, feed silos, milking facilities and more, and information related to that specific area will pop up, allowing for further exploration. Topics include herd management, feed management, milk production, crops and soils, manure management and greenhouse gases. The site's database includes a broad range of articles, extension fact sheets, models, images and graphics. The layers of information range from exploration of the farm site with basic information to higher levels of technical and research information, data, and models. For example, if one clicks on the manure storage facility, several links will appear, enabling viewers to scan information on manure management plans, potential hazards caused by improper treatment, preventing infiltration into surrounding water sources, and other subjects. "The site is user-friendly, meaning it's fairly easy for users to interact at a level they feel comfortable with," Fabian said. "They can keep it simple or dig down deep and find peer-reviewed research papers." Fabian said a project of this magnitude requires interdisciplinary collaboration, and she acknowledged the support of Penn State researchers Daniel Hofstetter, extension and research assistant in agricultural and biological engineering; Tom Richards, professor of agricultural and biological engineering; Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production/ecology; Douglas Beegle, distinguished professor emeritus of agronomy; and Robert Nicholas, research associate, and Chris Forest, associate professor of climate dynamics, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Now that the team successfully has launched its website, Fabian sees great potential in creating additional virtual farms, perhaps focusing on poultry production and animal welfare issues. The five-year project received a $10 million grant from the Coordinated Ag Project Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. To tour the farm, visit virtualfarm.psu.edu. Additional information about best practices and sustainability information can be found by visiting the Penn State Extension website.
December 8, 2017, Mankato, MN – The last acres of Minnesota’s corn crop are being harvested and as the fields are cleared, swine producers are getting anxious to empty their pits and lagoons. The late harvest and now the colder-than-normal temperatures are starting to close an already narrow window. “I have not had direct contact with any pumpers in the last week or two, but I know things are going on, I know things are going slowly and I know things are quite delayed,” said Brad Carlson, University of Minnesota Extension educator, during a mid-November 2017 phone interview. READ MORE
December 5, 2017, Portland, OR — Representatives of Oregon agriculture say they are wary of a proposal to reduce the state’s carbon emissions. While farmers could attract new revenue under the system, they could also face higher costs for fuel, electricity and other inputs, they say. Oregon lawmakers in the House and Senate are currently devising carbon emission “cap-and-invest” bills to be introduced during the 2018 legislative session. The goal is to mitigate climate change by reducing the amount of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide that gets into the atmosphere. READ MORE
December 1, 2017, Princess Anne, MD – A new public-private partnership between University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a western-shore based recycling startup company proposes to solve some of Delmarva's most pressing problems. With no incineration, leaving behind no waste or byproducts and in just 30 minutes, ReGreen Organic's innovative recycling process transforms waste into clean, sanitary, odor-free and marketable products: Fertilizers, compost, animal feed and fuel pellets. READ MORE
November 30, 2017, Idalia, CO – Colorado boasts more than one hundred cattle feedlots capable of holding over a thousand animals, according to the state’s Department of Public Health and Environment. Many of those operations are close to waterways. Like in other states, it’s up to cattlemen and regulators to keep manure out of streams and groundwater. Environmentalists worry that will get trickier as historic rain events become more common. Such a situation has become a legal drama for 5 Star Feedlot. READ MORE
November 29, 2017 – Liquid manure is one of your least expensive and most beneficial sources of crop nutrients. Sadly, it’s often applied to cropland as an afterthought, something to get rid of. John Yoder, vice president of waste-handling equipment at Eldon C. Stutsman, Inc., in Hills, Iowa, offers these five tips for maximizing the value of livestock manure for crop nutrients. READ MORE
November 27, 2017 – The costs of managing horse manure were found in a Swedish study to be similar to feeding costs. University of Gävle researchers Åsa Hadin, Karl Hillman and Ola Eriksson set out to examine the prospects for increased energy recovery from horse manure, carrying out a case study in a Swedish municipality. The trio examined management practices, environmental impact and costs. READ MORE
November 21, 2017, Harrison, AR – A 2,400-hog farm in the Buffalo River watershed must clean up the manure on its property within the next 60 days, a Boone County circuit judge has ordered. The Newton County operation must empty a barn of dry pig manure, revegetate land and keep the hogs on its property, Judge Gail Inman-Campbell said. READ MORE
November 21, 2017, Abbotsford, WI – Dukestead Acres is no stranger to technology, using automated calf feeders, cow brushes and alley scrapers on their farm. More recently, the rural Abbotsford farm installed an automated bedding machine, one of the first in the U.S. The farm is a family-owned and -operated dairy that milks 390 cows twice a day. When the family decided to expand their barn earlier this year, they began looking at moving away from sand bedding. READ MORE
November 21, 2017, Lowville, NY — A 32-year-old Lewis County man died after being pulled into a manure separator at an area dairy farm Monday morning. State police said the man was tending to a large integrity manure separator at the farm when his head became trapped by a roller inside the machine. READ MORE
November 20, 2017, Saskatoon, Sask – Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatchewan is offering a four-hour Hydrogen Sulfide Awareness Training Workshop for anyone working in an intensive livestock operation or anyone involved with the handling of liquid manure, specifically employees and owner-operators in the swine, dairy and liquid manure transportation industries. The benefits of attending the workshop include increased workplace safety by increasing awareness of hydrogen sulfide, knowledge on the latest information regarding strategies to reduce hydrogen sulfide exposure, and the opportunity to share hydrogen sulfide related experiences that may help save lives. To find out more information, visit here: http://www.prairieswine.com/training/h2s-awareness-training/ .
November 17, 2017, De Forest, WI – As farmers across the state clear their corn and soybean fields, those with livestock may list the next job on their “to-do” list as spreading manure. For livestock operations with larger numbers of animals, that fall project may include liquid manure. Spreading those liquid nutrients effectively and efficiently should be done with safety in mind says one man who has made manure spreading and farm safety his life’s work. Rick Martens, executive director of the Minnesota Custom Applicators Association travels the country trying to help farmers and hired manure applicators change their perspective on safety. He’s got nearly 35 years experience in the business – his family’s business is Martens Manurigation — and he’s learned a thing or two he wants others to be aware of. READ MORE
December 14, 2017, Towanda, PA – Calling all farms! Get help with your manure management plan on Dec. 15 from the Bradford County Conservation District in Wysox. Manure management plans are required in Pennsylvania for anyone who mechanically applies manure or pastures animals. The Bradford County Conservation District will hold an informal “open door” day on Dec. 15 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for anyone needing help getting this document in order. The Manure Management Manual is a fairly easy and short document that will not only bring you into compliance, possibly save money on your fertilizer bill, and increase yields; but will help cover you in the event of a complaint. Most information can simply be filled out by the animal’s owner. However, you may benefit from the conservation district’s help with maps and more detailed information. This “open door” day will allow anyone to walk in at their convenience and get the help they need without spending any more or less time on it than necessary. Important to note is that these plans belong to you. There is no requirement to submit a copy of this plan to any government agency. They are for your use and are required only to be kept on file at the farm. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has been inspecting Bradford County farms in recent weeks. Your manure management plan is one of the first things they would ask to see. You want to be ready if they show up at your farm. DEP is responsible for enforcing Pennsylvania’s regulations requiring farms to implement manure management and erosion control plans. You can call or just drop in. We will be glad to help you put the finishing touches on this plan for your farm. Light refreshments will be available. Let us help you with your manure management needs. Contact the Bradford County Conservation District with any questions at 570-265-5539 ext. 3105 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information about the Bradford County Conservation District, visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.
December 12, 2017, Reynoldsburg, OH – With the winter season upon us, the Ohio Department of Agriculture Division of Soil and Water Conservation would like to remind producers and nutrient applicators of laws and restrictions on manure application. Signed into law in July 2015, Ohio Senate Bill 1 clarifies and enhances the restrictions on manure application within the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Application restrictions in the WLEB include: On snow-covered or frozen soil; When the top 2 inches of the soil are saturated from precipitation; When the local weather forecast for the application area contains greater than fifty percent chance of precipitation exceeding one-half inch in a 24-hour period. Applicators are responsible for checking and keeping forecast information before application. Any source of weather prediction is acceptable. Restrictions do not apply if: The manure is injected into the ground; Manure is incorporated with 24 hours of surface application, using a tillage tool operated at a minimum of 3-4 inches deep; The manure is applied onto a growing crop; The chief of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation has provided written consent for an emergency application. Contact the division in case of an emergency. Producers in the Grand Lake St. Marys watershed are also reminded of the manure application ban that starts on December 15. Producers and manure applicators shall not apply manure between December 15 and March 1. Producers are also banned from surface applying manure on frozen ground or ground covered with more than one-inch of snow outside of the December 15 and March 1 dates. Producers in other areas of the state are reminded to use best management practices when applying manure and follow USDA NRCS Field Office Technical Guide Standard 590. For more information about manure application, producers and applicators can contact the ODA Division of Soil and Water Conservation at 614-265-6610 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
December 12, 2017, Loveland, CO – A dairy farm near Loveland is being investigated by public health officials who say the facility allowed runoff from manure piles to leach into the Big Thompson River without a permit. A November 2015 inspection by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment revealed two wastewater ponds overflowing into a drainage ditch that flowed into the Big Thompson River. The inspector observed that the leakages from the farm “were likely ongoing for a significant period of time.” READ MORE
December 8, 2017, Madison, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources could adopt regional restrictions on manure spreading to help protect drinking water. Fifteen counties with bedrock consisting of Silurian dolomite and shallow topsoil are targeted: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha. New restrictions would affect the time and place where manure can be added on cropland. Areas with bedrock depth of two feet or less would not be able to have manure – liquid or solid – added. READ MORE
December 8, 2017, Willey, IA – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently received a report from a manure applicator that a manure tanker tipped over near a ditch near Willey, Iowa, in Carroll County. DNR staff investigated the incident and it was observed that manure spilled on the road. Some manure reached the Willey Branch. ​Berms were quickly ​constructed to stop the flow in the ditch and equipment was used to clean up the remaining manure on the road. The amount of manure spilled is unknown. Water samples were collected and submitted for analysis. The investigation is ongoing and further enforcement may be considered. ​​
December 5, 2017, Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has refused to amend a rule regulating confined animal feeding operation emissions in the state. Submitted to the Missouri Air Conservation Commission by a law firm for Callaway County-based Friends of Responsible Agriculture and other groups, the petitions requested changes to a regulation nicknamed the "odor rule," which requires Class IA CAFOs to implement an odor control plan. READ MORE
December 1, 2017, Annapolis, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture reminds farmers that December 15 is the last day to spread manure and other organic nutrient sources on cropland. Under modified Nutrient Management Regulations approved earlier this year, farmers statewide are now prohibited from spreading manure between December 16 and March 1. “The fall spreading date for manure and other organic nutrient sources has been extended through December 15 to reflect warmer weather patterns and reduce the amount of time farmers need to store manure over the winter,” said Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “The extra time allows farmers to empty their storage structures ahead of winter. Ultimately, our goal is to avoid application of nutrients in the winter when fields are at the highest risk for runoff.” An emergency provision in the modified regulations allows the department to work with farmers to prevent an overflow from liquid manure storage structures during winter, when spreading manure is otherwise prohibited. This exemption is only for on-farm generated liquid manure that the farmer cannot store due to extraordinary circumstances. It does not apply to biosolids or food waste. A 100-foot setback from surface waters is required for any emergency spreading that takes place in winter and farmers are prohibited from applying manure if the ground is frozen or snow covered. Livestock farmers seeking this exemption should contact their regional nutrient management specialist for assistance. Maryland’s Nutrient Management Regulations allow farmers to apply poultry litter to crops in the fall. Farmers may apply other types of manure in fall for spring crops planted before June 1. Farmers should review their Nutrient Management Plan, talk to their nutrient management consultant, or contact the nutrient management specialist serving their county. For more information, contact the Nutrient Management Program at 410-841-5959 or visit the program’s website.
November 30, 2017, University Park, PA – A new study of methane emissions from livestock in the United States – led by a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences – has challenged previous top-down estimates. The research was conducted because serious discrepancies exist between top-down estimates that suggest the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is underestimating agricultural methane emissions by up to 90 percent, and bottom-up estimates accepted by the federal government showing lower emissions. Top-down emissions estimates involve monitoring atmospheric methane concentrations by satellites or from air samples collected at high altitude by planes, and using models to estimate the sources of emissions. Bottom-up estimates take into account livestock populations and animal emission factors. In their detailed analysis, researchers used a spatially explicit, bottom-up approach, based on animal inventories and feed-intake-based emission factors, to estimate enteric methane emissions for cattle and manure methane emissions for cattle, swine and poultry for the contiguous United States. The researchers estimated methane emissions using a "gridded" approach, dividing the U.S. into 0.1 by 0.1-degree GIS units, which created cells from 31 square miles in the northern United States to 42 square miles in the southern part of the country. "This level of detail enabled us to more accurately assess agricultural methane emissions based on activities involving livestock," explained lead researcher Alex Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition, who is a member of the current National Academy of Sciences Anthropogenic Methane Committee. "We must have more specific information about methane emissions that combines local livestock populations and characteristics with distribution of landscape features – and a gridded inventory approach provides that," he said. According to the EPA, the top three sources of anthropogenic methane in the United States are the combined energy sector – natural gas, petroleum systems and coal mining – which makes up 40 percent of the total; livestock, 36 percent of the total; and landfills, 18 percent of the total. Methane emissions from livestock operations are the result of microbial fermentation and methanogenesis in the forestomach of ruminants and similar fermentation processes in manure from both ruminant and non-ruminant farm animals. Methane is also produced from enteric fermentation in the digestive tract of non-ruminant herbivore species, such as horses, donkeys and mules, as a result of fermentation processes in their hindgut. However, "hindgut fermenters" do not produce nearly as much methane per unit of fermented feed as ruminants, so enteric or manure emissions from equine species were not included in this analysis. Neither were emissions from small ruminants such as sheep and goats, which are negligible in the U.S. County-level, annual enteric methane emissions for all states were estimated for cattle only. A total of 3,063 counties in the contiguous U.S. were included in the cattle methane emission database. Cattle inventories by county were obtained from the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which is the last census data currently available. Body weight data for cattle was derived from EPA records and dry matter feed intake was estimated based on National Research Council prediction equations for the various categories of cattle. Methane emission yield factors were calculated for each cattle category. Overall, the research, which was published this month in Environmental Science and Technology, yielded total U.S. livestock methane emissions of 19.6 billion pounds per year. However, uncertainty surrounding that total is high, researchers acknowledged. Compared with enteric methane, predicting methane emissions from manure is a more complex process and carries a larger uncertainty in the estimates, the researchers pointed out. Manure composition, type of storage facilities and manure retention time, and environment – particularly temperature – are among the factors that affect methane emissions from manure. There is great uncertainty in both enteric and manure methane emissions from livestock, Hristov conceded. He said that research around the world has shown that variability in enteric methane emissions largely can be explained with variability in feed dry-matter intake. Nutrient composition of the feed is also important but has a lesser impact on enteric methane production. "If methane emissions from livestock in this country really are twice as high as what is estimated now — and we don't believe they are — that would put a big target on agriculture to take measures to cut these emissions," said Hristov. "Having an accurate and spatially explicit assessment of methane emissions from livestock is critical for reconciliation of top-down and bottom-up approaches, and it's the starting point in any mitigation effort." "Our analysis showed that the EPA’s estimates are close to reality, but there is a discrepancy in the spatial distribution of emissions. And, our research revealed a great discrepancy with global models such as the EDGAR (Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research) inventory." ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company partially funded this research.
November 28, 2017, Saint Paul, MN – Under an agreement between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program in Louisiana, eligibility for loans to implement Agricultural Best Management Practices (AgBMP) in Minnesota will be expanded to include larger livestock operations. A formal letter of understanding was recently signed recognizing the importance of coordinating pollution prevention efforts throughout the Mississippi River watershed both locally in Minnesota and in distant downstream areas including the receiving waters of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary has developed a Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan recommending practices that can be implemented from the headwaters of the Mississippi River to the delta that will ultimately reduce sediment and nutrient loading to the estuary area and the gulf. With Minnesota’s formal recognition of the Barataria-Terrebonne management plan, eligibility for the MDA’s AgBMP Loan Program will be expanded to include livestock operations holding National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits or those operations with more than 1,000 animal units. “All along the Mississippi River, we need to work with our partners and follow the same road map to manage the watershed while still recognizing that people and communities use the land in a variety of ways,” said MDA Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Expanding the number of farm operations eligible for AgBMP loans here in the Mississippi River’s headwaters state is another step toward managing and protecting this important watershed.” This letter of understanding recognizes that pollution does not stop at state boundaries and that a multi-state perspective should be considered when addressing pollution problems. In addition to the expanded eligibility options and guidance, the understanding establishes regular reporting and communications between the two organizations.
November 28, 2017, Hurlock, MD – On Mary Lou Brown's farm in Hurlock, tractors were rolling over giant concrete pads and dumping mounds of chicken compost in her manure shed. Things that Brown says don't come cheap. But now, more money could be on its way. U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD, recently introduced the Chesapeake Bay Farm Enhancement Act of 2017. READ MORE
November 28, 2017, Washington, DC – On November 22, 2017 – in response to a request from the Environmental Protection Agency – the DC Circuit Court of Appeals extended the deadline for farmers to report air releases of hazardous substances from animal waste at livestock operations until January 22, 2018. The decision postponed the effective date of the court’s April 2017 decision vacating an EPA rule that exempted these farms from certain statutory reporting obligations. “EPA is committed to providing America’s farmers and ranchers – people committed to conserving the land and the environment- the clarity needed in meeting their reporting obligations required by law,” said Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator. The EPA sought this additional time in order to provide compliance assistance to farmers, update its guidance, and develop a more-streamlined reporting form. With the court’s decision, farmers are not required to report emissions from animal waste at these facilities until after the court issues its mandate, expected no sooner than January 22, 2018. On April 11, 2017, the DC Circuit Court vacated an EPA rule finalized on December 18, 2008, that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in two statutes, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). In response to a request from the EPA, the DC Circuit Court extended the effective date of its decision to vacate the 2008 rule to November 15, 2017. In response to a second request from the current administration EPA, the DC Circuit Court further extended that date to January 22, 2018. As such, farmers now do not need to report emissions under CERCLA until January 22, 2018 at the earliest when the D.C. Circuit Court is expected to issue its mandate. The EPA has prepared guidance that includes links to resources that farmers can consider when calculating emissions for specific species of livestock. To view EPA’s guidance and Frequently Asked Questions on reporting air emissions from animal waste: https://www.epa.gov/epcra/cercla-and-epcra-reporting-requirements-air-releases-hazardous-substances-animal-waste-farms.
November 21, 2017, Crawfordsville, IA – A failed hose connection led to a manure spill on the western edge of Louisa County late Nov. 17. An estimated 7,500 gallons of manure spilled into a crop field before the pump shut off. The owner tried to block tile intakes, but manure had already entered the underground tiling and flowed into the upper end of Buffington Creek. He did prevent manure from moving downstream by temporarily damming the creek. The Iowa Department of Natural Nesources (DNR) investigated the spill site Nov. 18, finding the creek was mostly dry and the manure contained. The DNR will monitor cleanup activities and consider appropriate enforcement action.
December 12, 2017, Benson, MN – State regulators said they are investigating the death of a worker who fell to his death at a soon-to-be-closed biomass plant in central Minnesota that supplies power to Xcel Energy. The man fell into a hopper at the Benson Power plant, formerly known as Fibrominn, in Benson on Dec. 6, according to Minnesota's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). READ MORE
December 11, 2017, Deerfield, MA – A $5 million methane digester-power generator that went online last March is finally showing signs of being fully connected at Bar-Way Farm, nine months after the 1-megawatt generator was supposed to have been churning out electricity for the power grid. Eversource crews were at work at the dairy farm, where farmer Peter Melnick had complained in September that the utility had failed to meet several promised dates for hooking up the methane-burning generator to the electric grid. READ MORE
December 1, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – Toyota plans to build a power plant in California that captures methane gas from dairy cattle manure to generate water, electricity and hydrogen. The company announced the project Nov. 30 at the Los Angeles auto show. The Tri-Gen Project at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., will be the world’s first commercial-scale 100 percent renewable power and hydrogen generation plant. Toyota is betting heavily on fuel-cell technology, especially in Japan. READ MORE
November 21, 2017, Middlebury, VT – A Salisbury farm will soon be turning on-site cow manure and Addison County food waste into renewable energy that will push Middlebury College’s campus beyond its goal of carbon neutrality. The Goodrich Farm will host a Farm Powered-brand anaerobic digester that will, on a daily basis, process 100 tons of manure from the 900-cow farm and 165 tons of organic food waste per day. READ MORE
Oil and gas wells and even cattle release methane gas into the atmosphere, and researchers are working on ways to not only capture this gas but also convert it into something useful and less polluting.
November 13, 2017, Madison, WI – Dane County plans to stop making electricity with natural gas extracted from heaps of garbage and manure so that it can sell the gas through an interstate pipeline for use as environmentally-friendly automobile fuel. The $23.5 million project at the county landfill would be the first of its kind in the state. READ MORE
October 20, 2017, Portland, OR - At its recent annual conference, the American Biogas Council (ABC) announced the winners of the Biogas Industry Awards, presented at a sold out dinner celebration at BIOCYCLE REFOR17. The winners included four biogas systems, one innovation and one individual all recognized for their contributions to the growth of the U.S. biogas industry. In addition, 12 projects received the ABC's longevity award, an earned by biogas systems which have been continuously operating for more than five or ten years. The award ceremony followed the announcement of 12 projects and innovations which made the ABC's shortlist, the finalists for the Biogas Industry Awards – all laudable in their own right. "Our award this year recognize projects that are great examples for future projects a great new tool for finding nutrient recovery technologies and a champion for the biogas industry," said Patrick Serfass, ABC executive director. "We are so proud to be awarding these shining stars of the industry." Biogas systems turn organic material into soil amendments and gaseous fuel by using anaerobic digestion, a natural, biological process in a sealed tank. There are more than 2,200 operational biogas systems in the U.S. today with the potential for more than 13,500 new systems to be built. Project of the Year Monogram Clean Energy Plant | Martinsville, VA Monogram Foods operates a production plant in Martinsville, Virginia, that produces beef jerky and other meat snacks. In 2016, to support the expansion of its production plant and address waste treatment needs, Monogram initiated construction on a new Clean Energy Plant (CEP) that principally uses an Anaerobic Digester (AD) to treat its wastes. The CEP was completed in June 2017. It was conceived by Monogram staff, its engineers, and its financial representatives to address waste and wastewater treatment needs in a sustainable fashion. The biogas is used to produce both heat and power for plant operations. Pine Island Farm Digester Facility | Sheffield, MA Pine Island Farm is a large dairy farm in Sheffield, Massachusetts. To address problems of large scale farming, such as manure management, groundwater protection and odor control, Pine Island Dairy Farm installed an on-farm DVO anaerobic digester. The AD system generates electric power and heat. The electric power is being used at the farm and net metered to other commercial consumers. Waste heat is reclaimed from the gen-set and utilized to heat the digester and other areas of the dairy operation. Digestate reuse has eliminated the need for the farm to buy bedding and the nutrients in the liquid are increasing crop yields while decreasing the need to invest in herbicides to combat weed seeds. Reinford Farms Anaerobic Digester | Mifflintown, PA Reinford Farm hired RCM, now part of Martin Construction, to reduce odor and better manage the manure supply on their 750-head dairy. The system was over-sized intentionally to prepare for a herd expansion, but shortly after startup, the farm decided to use the excess capacity to co-digest food waste with the manure. The farm is utilizing the full potential of the digester system by not only producing and selling electricity but utilizing waste heat to operate a grain dryer and heat several farm buildings including their home. The digestate solids are used for bedding and the liquid is used for fertilizer. Synergy Biogas | Covington, NY In 2011, CH4 Biogas built a 400 ton/day mixed waste biogas facility at Synergy Dairy in New York. The facility digests manure from about 2,000 milking cows with food-grade organic waste. Biogas from the digester fuels a 1426 kWh generator. In addition, the facility produces about 16,000 yd3/yr bedding for the dairy, 30 million gallons liquid fertilizer for land application and 8000 tons CO2 emission reduction credits. The project was originally built as a full-scale demonstration project meant to showcase advanced European AD technology that maximizes energy output. Facility performance was evaluated by Cornell University, which found it to be the most efficient digester in NY. Friend of the ABC Dr. David Babson Throughout the most recent parts of his career at the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the US Department of Energy, and now the US Department of Agriculture, David Babson has been a tireless advocate for anaerobic digester-produced biogas in the EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), guiding ABC members through the maze of RFS terms, RIN calculations and more. He regularly helps to educate and guide industry through conferences and events, and one on one guidance related to a number of biogas related topics in the federal government.    Innovation of the Year Newtrient LLC Technology Catalog In March of this year, Newtrient launched an open-source, technology catalog that provides a comprehensive analysis of relevant dairy manure-management technologies in the United States. To help industry, especially dairies, choose the manure-management solution that might best work at their site, the Newtrient Technology Catalog provides a reliable, third-party technology evaluation tool covering over 180 technologies related to biogas production or digestate management. Longevity Awards Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 10+ years: Castelanelli Bros Dairy Digester Schrack Farms Anaerobic Digester Biogas systems that have been continuously operating for 5+ years: BioTown Ag  Dairy Dreams Double A Dairy  DuBois Energy Flint Biogas Plant  Kane's Cow Power Monument Farms  Pine Island Farm Digester Reinford Farms  Synergy Biogas
October 4, 2017, Finland – The electricity used at this year’s Helsinki International Horse Show will be produced entirely with horse manure at Fortum’s Järvenpää power plant. The electricity consumption of the event is expected to be about 140 MWh, and the origin of the electricity will be verified by the Guarantee of Origin system maintained by Fingrid. Producing the energy needed for the event requires the annual manure output of 14 horses. This is the first time in the world that the electricity for a major horse show will be produced entirely with horse manure. “I am really proud that electricity produced with horse manure can be utilized for an event that is important to equestrian fans and the horse sector,” said Anssi Paalanen, vice president of Fortum HorsePower. “It is great that Finland’s biggest and best-known horse show is a forerunner in energy and environmental issues.” “It’s great to participate in electrifying the pilot event of the Fortum HorsePower concept with horse manure,” said Tom Gordin, event director. “Overall, the concept is fascinating and creates tremendous opportunities for the entire horse sector in Europe. This is also an important part of our own Horse Show Jumps Green environmental project.” Fortum HorsePower is a bedding and manure management service for stables, with the manure generated at the stables transported for use in energy production. The service has been operating in the Uusimaa region for a couple of years, and the service area is expanding all the time. In addition to the Helsinki metropolitan area, it now covers much of southern and western Finland. The Fortum HorsePower service was launched this autumn also in Sweden, where there are already close to 3,000 horses leaving green hoof prints and producing energy through the service. During the event, Fortum HorsePower will deliver wood-based bedding for the 250 or so horses that will be staying in temporary stalls. The manure-bedding mixture that is generated will be transported to Fortum’s Järvenpää power plant where it will be utilized in energy production. An estimated 135 tonnes of manure-bedding mixture will be generated during the event. The Helsinki International Horse Show will be held on October 18 to 22.
September 21, 2017, Portland, OR – U.S.-based private investment fund Climate Trust Capital has reached agreement on its first carbon investment in the biogas sector – the West-Star North Dairy Biogas Project. More than $862,000 of Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I was invested in a covered lagoon digester that will destroy methane and produce carbon offsets under California’s cap and trade system. Fund I was launched in October 2016, seeded by a $5.5 million investment from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and supported by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “This has been an exciting year, with marked progress toward the deployment of the $5.5 million that makes up Climate Trust Capital’s Fund I,” said Sean Penrith, executive director for The Climate Trust. “We have officially made investments in each of our three preferred sectors – forestry, grassland conservation, and livestock digesters – and are pleased to see our investment strategy come to fruition with high-caliber partner, California Bioenergy.” The investment is based on the anticipated 10-year value of carbon credits from a livestock digester project located at West-Star North Dairy, a 1,500-acre farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Project partner, California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio), has built three other dairy digester projects, including the state’s largest, with many more scheduled for development. This project investment is expected to begin generating carbon offsets in January 2018 with initial cash flow from the sale of these offsets in 2019. “Realizing the potential cash flow from the future sale of a dairy digester’s environmental attributes is a complex process involving a high level of project expertise, careful monitoring, and the management of regulatory and market risk,” said Ross Buckenham, CEO for California Bioenergy. “The Climate Trust is a sophisticated carbon investor and together we are able to harness the value of these environmental benefits. The Climate Trust’s willingness to invest in a significant portion of the future attributes further reduces risks to the famer and project. We are grateful for their support as well as the support of the California Energy Commission and the California Department of Food and Agriculture.” Farms have historically flushed their manure into uncovered lagoons, which generate methane and release it to the atmosphere. The West-Star North digester will treat the manure by installing CalBio’s patented dairy digester design – excavating two new lagoons in the process – and then covering the lagoons with a flexible, high-density polyethylene cover. Captured methane will be stored and then combusted in a high-efficiency generator that delivers renewable electricity to Pacific Gas and Electric. In addition, the digester will be double lined and enhance ground-water protection. Effluent from the digester will be used to irrigate fields and will also be part of a USDA drip irrigation study. “Digester projects offer a host of beneficial revenue streams, from improving the economic and environmental performance of dairies, to clean energy, scheduled electricity delivery, improved soil nutrient management, and diverting waste from landfills,” said Peter Weisberg, senior portfolio manager for The Climate Trust.
September 21, 2017 – Join AgSTAR at the BioCycle REFOR17 conference and attend the program’s “States Advance Digester Development” session. During the session – being held from 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 17 – participants will explore state policies and incentives that support and advance anaerobic digestion (AD). Speakers will include: Alex DePillis, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets - Anaerobic Digestion Policies in Northeast States Jenny Lester Moffitt, California Department of Food and Agriculture - Policies and Incentives to Advance AD in California Daniel Avery, Oregon Department of Energy - Oregon Inventory of Biogas and Renewable Natural Gas Resources Jim Jenson, Washington State University - Biomethane Roadmap for Washington State Speaker presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion examining: State-level goals and how states are achieving them Successes and setbacks related to AD policies Challenges facing the potential expansion of digesters Potential opportunities in the AD market BioCycle REFOR17 is being held October 16 to 19, 2017 in Portland, Oregon, at the Red Lion Hotel on the River. This national biogas conference offers hands-on information and tools to position companies or organizations for success in AD, biogas markets, composting, manure, food waste, and renewable fuels. The event will feature plenary and technical sessions, an exhibit hall, a site tour, and workshops. View the BioCycle REFOR17 website for more information.
September 20, 2017, Deerfield, MA – A loud humming, two flares more than a dozen feet off the ground and a pair of rubber bladder domes, fully inflated, are a sure sign that the methane digester is running smoothly at Bar-Way Farm, where the sign along Mill River Road boasts its “Farm Powered” system is at work churning and burning manure and food waste into energy. But the fact that those flares have been a constant since the $5 million system went online at the beginning of March is also a sign that nearly all of the power produced by the 1-megawatt generator every day is wasted. Eversource, according to farmer Peter Melnick, has failed to meet several promised dates for hooking up the methane-burning generator to the electric grid. READ MORE
September 20, 2017, Australia – A family-owned piggery in northern Victoria is about to unplug from the grid and rely on a $1 million biogas system for all its power. The biogas system is expected to save the business operators at Yarrawalla hundreds of thousands of dollars. READ MORE
December 14, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – Effective March 2018, the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative (MLMMI) will disband and its activities will be rolled into a more broadly mandated provincial research organization created under the new federal-provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership. John Carney, executive director of the MLMMI, said work over the past almost 20 years has included odor mitigation, odor measurement and quantification, nutrient management including manure separation and manure nutrients in crops, the feasibility of a manure pipeline to transport manure, pathogens in manure and barn worker health and safety. “Certainly, there's been quite a bit of work done in odor management,” he said. “We have a model that is very helpful for predicting odor plumes and there's actually some refinements going on with that as we speak.” “We fully investigated five different technologies for manure separation as part of redistributing nutrients from areas that don't have enough spreadable acres.We looked at alternatives and costs of manure transportation.” “I think it's important to note too that we don't just consider our success when we find something that works,” Carney added. “When we find that it's not the answer, I think that's just as valuable as when you find something that is what you hoped it would be.” “Our research has the capabilities of saving a lot of producers the time, money and frustration of implementing technologies or strategies that it turns out don't work in Manitoba conditions.” According to Carney, under the new program, this research will be broadened to cover all forms agriculture. He said there continues to be opportunities for Manitoba to produce more livestock so manure research will continue to be an important focus.
November 29, 2017, Tampa, FL – MagneGas Corporation, a clean technology company in the renewable resources and environmental solutions industries, recently announced it has formally launched a U.S. Department of Agriculture sterilization pilot program at a dairy farm based in Bowling Green, FL. The primary purpose of the pilot is to evaluate the efficacy of the MagneGas patented plasma arc sterilization process for cow manure. The pilot is jointly funded by the USDA through a $432,000 USDA grant and provides MagneGas Corporation a unique opportunity to further validate the sterilization process. MagneGas previously conducted similar pilot programs for the hog industry in Indiana in 2016. The data gathered from that program was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA for review. The current grant was a direct result of the prior pilot study. The company believes that with the additional data gathered as a result of the current pilot in Florida, it will be in a position to move ahead with the broader commercialization of its sterilization process within the agricultural industry. "Our USDA pilot program is a major milestone in the progression of our sterilization business and the culmination of many years of hard work and engineering," said Ermanno Santilli, CEO of MagneGas Corporation. "Sterilization has been a core focus for the MagneGas technology since our formation. The USDA pilot further validates the progress we are making, and we believe it will serve as a key catalyst for market acceptance in the agricultural industry and a major financial opportunity for MagneGas. We are working diligently towards completing the setup of this USDA pilot for the dairy industry and, at the same time, are working towards establishing a commercialized pilot in North Carolina to service the hog industry. We also remain on track to launch our commercial program for the sterilization of leachates in landfills with our Italian partners in early 2018." "We are very pleased to take these next steps with the USDA and our sterilization business," said Scott Mahoney, CFO of MagneGas. "As we head into 2018, we are focused on accelerating the launch of our sterilization technology as well as other emerging applications we are developing. The key financial metric we have imposed in the commercialization process has been to proactively seek out non-dilutive capital solutions that enable these programs to move forward efficiently. The USDA pilot is an excellent example of these efforts. We will have 50 percent of all pilot costs offset through the USDA grant awarded in June of 2017. We will continue to seek similar grants, joint venture programs and other structures that will enable MagneGas to advance our technologies in the near term."
October 20, 2017, Green Bay, WI – The Dairy Business Association (DBA) has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for legal overreach on regulations. The settlement, reached Oct. 18 between the association and DNR, will bring immediate relief for dairy farmers facing uncertainty and costly changes, and will provide assurance that the DNR will create future rules only according to the law. “More than anything, this is a victory for the rule of law,” said Mike North, president of the DBA. “The DNR or other state agencies can’t make up the rules as they go along. There is a process that must be followed, and that process promotes public participation, legislative oversight and transparency. That is good for everyone.” The dairy group prevailed on the central claims of the suit — that the DNR illegally changed rules for how farmers manage rainwater that comes into contact with feed storage and calf hutch areas. More broadly, the settlement reaffirms the significance of Act 21, a 2011 state law that requires agencies to follow a specific method of rulemaking. In reaching the deal, the DNR admitted that it overreached its legal authority, vowed to follow the proper rulemaking process and agreed to rescind the blanket change in standards for vegetative treatment areas (VTAs) and calf hutches. Instead, the agency will order changes on a case-by-case basis if a farm’s conditions warrant. “Farmers’ investments will be protected by this victory,” North said. “Current practices will continue where they are working. A farm-specific approach will save farmers time and money. And we will have better and longer-lasting environmental outcomes.” All environmental safeguards for water quality remain in place, North said, noting that existing standards found in state and federal law are not changed by this settlement. “This lawsuit was never about rolling back regulations. It was about creating regulations according to a legally prescribed process,” North said. The suit, filed July 31, was a first for the DBA and came only after years of rebuffed efforts to work with the DNR on its approach, North said. The VTA and calf hutch issues were the last straws. For its part, the DBA agreed to drop a third claim related to a large farm’s duty to apply for a permit. The association had argued in the lawsuit that the DNR was contradicting a state law by exceeding federal standards that require a specific type of permit only if the farm discharges nutrients to a navigable surface water. North said the dairy group expected that its duty-to-apply claim would result in a harmonization of state and federal laws while still providing for environmental oversight of farms. But, he said, the association realized this claim would be the most challenging to prevail on in court even though there was sound basis. “We are pleased we could help secure a more certain future for Wisconsin dairy farmers and send a strong message that state agencies must follow the rule of law when creating regulations,” North said.
October 19, 2017, The Netherlands – In 2016, the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reported that China consumes around 28 percent of the world’s meat. A lot of this meat is nationally produced, so a huge amount of livestock is needed. News outlets report that China raises around nine billion chickens for meat consumption. But besides space, feed and resources, another serious problem is manure management. Developing and implementing safe, cost-effective and sustainable ways is necessary and the Netherlands can play an important role. Within the Chinese government, there is an urgency to accelerate the transition to a circular, bio-based agriculture. The modernization of agriculture is a prominent topic in the 13th five-year plan and billions of euros will be invested in bio based and organic waste recycling over the next few years. Manure utilization is often not optimal in China, which has negative effects on the environment. At the same time, this also offers opportunities for foreign parties to enter the market. Therefore, a Dutch mission visited China in early October to gain a better understanding of the latest developments and to explore opportunities for long-term cooperation. “China has a large demand for agri-food technology and know-how,” said Epi Postma, director of B&E BV and one of the participants. “So there is a lot of supply and demand. Agri-food is a top-priority for the Chinese government. The Netherlands has much to offer and the Chinese know it. However, active involvement of the Dutch Embassy and Wageningen University for Sino-Dutch cooperation is imperative for opening doors.” Wageningen University (WUR) has close ties with several Chinese agricultural institutes such as the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the China Agricultural University (CAU). Last year, WUR and CAAS together established the Sino-Dutch Livestock Waste Recycling Center. “We want to set up projects which link research institutes and the business community,” said Roland Melse, senior environmental technology researcher who also accompanied the mission. “Another good example of such a cooperation is the Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Center where WUR, FrieslandCampina, Rabobank and other companies are participating on the Dutch side.” In the Netherlands, solving the manure problem is a process that is already in the spotlight for many years. Further reducing emissions and raising resource efficiency are important challenges as well, now that the Netherlands has the ambition to become a full circular economy by 2050. Furthermore, the sector needs to adapt to changing natural conditions caused by a changing climate. Thus, getting insight on the available knowledge and the innovation ecosystem in China can also provide solutions for the Dutch situation. Of course, this is not applicable one-on-one. “Operating on such a large scale as China’s needs long-term investments in time and capital,” said Melse. “So that is quite a challenge for smaller companies.” On the other hand, the technology and tools that the Netherlands can offer are very interesting for China. Eijkelkamp Soil & Water Export, for example, “provide solutions that make sustainable soil and water management easier,” said Winnie Huang, export manager. “Looking at manure nutrient management, our technology has environmentally friendly solutions for the whole value chain. The Netherlands [is a] pioneer with this technology.” But it is not all about technology. “Rules and regulations are another important factor in further developing this industry,” said Melse. “When there are stricter laws, companies will have to follow them. For example, recently we organized a seminar with 20 Chinese CEOs from large meat producing companies and you could see that Chinese companies are preparing themselves for the future. They are interested to see which future possibilities there might be for cooperation or which products and technologies are available on the market. So the Chinese government also plays a role in strengthening Sino-Dutch cooperation.” “We hope to have government support for developing or demonstrating the Dutch expertise in manure management,” said Huang. “Our sensors and data enhance nutrient management, thus making manure a useful resource for the entire value chain. Learning the Dutch approach and adapting to Chinese practice will deliver mutual benefits to both countries in this sector.”
October 11, 2017, Madison, WI – Ten winners were honored from 30 finalists and more than 230 nominees during the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, held recently at the Wisconsin Union Terrace. The agriculture winner was Midwestern BioAg and its TerraNu Nutrient Technology, a manufacturing process that gives crop producers access to manure-sourced nutrients from livestock farms. The ceremony recognized the state’s most innovative products and services from nine industry categories. The 2017 winners were selected from a panel of 23 experts from around Wisconsin, and span all business sectors – technology, food, healthcare, agriculture, nonprofits, education, government, and the like – throughout the state. “The Wisconsin Innovation Awards seek to celebrate and inspire innovation, and highlight the creative spirit from the state’s leading public, private and nonprofit sectors,” said Matt Younkle, co-founder of the awards and CEO of Cardigan, LLC. “We want to congratulate all finalists and winners from the 2017 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, and look forward to encouraging an even greater environment of innovation in the year to come.”
October 10, 2017, Abbotsford, BC – Trident Processes recently received the Canadian Business Excellence Award for Private Businesses for 2018. The award is given annually to 25 private businesses across Canada. Trident, headquartered in B.C., has commercialized a unique process for recovering and repurposing valuable resources from livestock manure and municipal wastewater. Its technologies recover nutrients and other resources, a growing focus of agricultural, municipal and industrial wastewater industries. "I continue to be amazed at the level of recognition our company has been able to achieve the past couple of years," said Kerry Doyle, CEO of Trident Processes. "Who would have thought a small company that processes dairy manure and municipal wastewater would be receiving an award alongside big consulting firms, bankers and IT professionals?" "It highlights the importance of the work we are doing," he added. The award is presented by Excellence Canada and PwC Canada as special recognition of Canadian businesses that demonstrate exemplary performance of strategic plans and exceptional achievement of their business goals. Applicant companies are evaluated by an independent adjudication committee from organizations that include BC Business Magazine, CEO Global Network, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Carleton University, CPA Canada, MaRS, PwC Canada, and Excellence Canada.
September 26, 2017, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) is now accepting nominations for the 2018 Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award. The award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production. Those eligible for the award include any family-owned poultry grower or egg producer supplying product to a USPOULTRY member or an independent producer who is a USPOULTRY member. Nominations are due Oct. 16. This year, the award was presented to exemplary family farmers in five regions of the country: Northeast, Southeast, South Central, North Central and Southwest. Nominations for the 2018 competition must be made by a USPOULTRY member or an affiliated state poultry association by completing the application provided by USPOULTRY. Each integrator or egg processor may nominate one grower or producer for each processing facility in each state supporting their operations. Five families received the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award in 2017. The winners were: Daniel Lausecker, Nature Pure, Raymond, Ohio, nominated by the Ohio Poultry Association; Tom and Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm, Rapidan, Va., nominated by Cargill; Tammy Plumlee, Lazy J Farm, Fayetteville, Ark., nominated by Cargill; Collins Bullard, Bullard Farms, Stedman, N.C., nominated by Prestage Farms; and Gary Fuchs, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farm, Cameron, Texas, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation. Three finalists were also recognized in 2017. They were Dennis and Yvonne Weis, Den-Yon Turkey Farm, Webster City, Iowa, nominated by West Liberty Foods; Greg and Carla Grubbs, Natural Springs, Clinton, Ky., nominated by Tyson Foods; and William and Lana Dicus, 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo., nominated by Cargill. "Best management practices are used by poultry growers to enhance environmental stewardship on their farms,” said Jerry Moye, retired president, of Cobb-Vantress, Siloam Springs, Ark., and USPOULTRY chairman. “The dedication and inventiveness that our award winners and finalists display each year through their environmental management practices is commendable.” All semi-finalists will receive a trip that covers travel expenses and hotel accommodations for two nights to attend a special awards ceremony that will take place during the 2018 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga. Each semi-finalist will also receive a Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award sign to display near the entrance of their farm. The overall winner of each region will be named at the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with IPPE, on Jan. 30, 2018. Each regional winner will also receive a $1,000 cash award. In addition, the farm for each regional winner will be spotlighted on USPOULTRY’s website, and the association will provide assistance in publicizing the farm’s award in local, regional and national media. Competition details are available on the USPOULTRY website at www.uspoultry.org/environment.
August 18, 2017, Indiana - Fair Oaks Farms co-founder Sue McCloskey now has a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for general awesomeness.McCloskey, who launched the hugely popular agritourism farm on the border of Jasper and Newton counties, was one of 15 women to receive an Awesome Women Award in the August edition of Good Housekeeping, which hits newsstands Tuesday. She was lauded for her work in turning manure into clean fuel that powers vehicles at the farm, as well as 42 delivery trucks of Fairs Oaks cheese and dairy products. READ MORE 
August 17, 2017, Chevy Chase, MD - If there is one point on which most Americans agree, it is that technology will play an increasingly important role in the way we live and work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that in just three years there will be 1.4 million computer science-related jobs, and only 400,000 qualified job candidates.In response, 4‑H, America's largest youth development organization, and Google are coming together for a first-of-its-kind computer science (CS) collaboration that will teach kids both technical skills like coding, and essential skills students will need in the future like, teamwork and resilience. But the program isn't just about programming computers, it's about helping students learn skills they'll need to approach problems in a fundamentally different way across every discipline from business to engineering to the arts.The collaboration is funded by a $1.5 million grant from Google.org to establish a CS program that will empower more than 100,000 young people across 22 states in its first year. The collaboration will include an effort to reach communities where youth traditionally have limited access to computers, internet or CS training. With Google's support, 4‑H will equip community educators with new funding, curriculum, training, devices and the support of Google CS experts. As with most 4‑H programs, the effort will feature teen-led, peer-to-peer mentoring.4‑H and Google publicly announced the collaboration today at a press conference at the Illinois State Fair, where they also debuted a new 4‑H-themed virtual reality Expedition showcasing 4‑H youth using technology to improve their communities."It is incredibly exciting to combine the power of 4‑H with the impact of Google's philanthropy, products and people," said Jennifer Sirangelo, President and CEO of National 4‑H Council. "Working together, our two organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of young people by making computer science education accessible and engaging. No matter where kids live or what they aspire to be, these are skills that will help them succeed."The collaboration between 4‑H and Google lays the groundwork for 4‑H to deliver computer science education across the organization, which reaches nearly six million kids in every county and parish in the United States. It establishes an official 4‑H Computer Science Career Pathway, which helps kids progress from casual interest in CS, to dedicated studies and ultimately career experience. Utah State University Extension's 4‑H program is a key partner in co-creating the 4‑H CS Career Pathway and developing tools for educators to implement the program."We are proud to be a part of this effort to bring hands-on programming to our nation's youth," said Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org. "It's important for kids to develop a wide range of skills, like computer science skills, analytical thinking and creative problem solving, and our work with National 4‑H Council will help ensure that kids across the country have access to a better future."In its first year, the program is available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.Parents and educators seeking more information on how to get involved can reach out to their local 4‑H office at HTTP://4-H.ORG/FIND/.
August 16, 2017, Sacramento, CA – CDFA will begin accepting applications today from non-profit organizations, California academic institutions and California Resource Conservation Districts that provide technical assistance to grant applicants in the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).Applicants may apply for funding ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. They must meet several minimum requirements, including holding at least one technical assistance workshop, reporting on workshop attendance to CDFA, and providing computers and internet access to allow dairy and livestock operators to complete AMMP applications.Technical assistance will be made available through a partnership between CDFA and the Strategic Growth Council to achieve the mutual objective of providing technical assistance to AMMP applicants. Technical assistance workshops that provide hands-on application assistance are critical to the success of AMMP and the reduction of methane emissions from dairy and livestock operations.Organizations that wish to receive funding to provide technical assistance must access the "Technical Assistance: Request for Applications" at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/ammp/. The Request for Applications contains detailed information on eligibility and program requirements. Applications must be submitted by email no later than August 16, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PDT. Grants will be awarded on a first-come-first-served basis beginning today.AMMP is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investment projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are made in disadvantaged and low-income communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments. This effort is in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council which provides technical and community outreach assistance funds from the California Climate Investments.
August 15, 2017, Madison, WI - The Wisconsin State Assembly will honor of the life a young farmer who died on this date a year ago as a result of a farming accident.Mike Biadasz, 29, went out to agitate a manure pit on his family's farm near Amherst, when the crust layer on top of the pit opened, hydrogen sulfide gas was expelled. He died on Aug. 15, 2016 after being poisoned by methane gas.The Assembly honored the young resident with a resolution that acknowledged his dedication to farming and the need for best practices to be established for manure pit agitation that mitigate risk and educate the public on hydrogen sulfide poisoning and other toxic gases.  The 2017 State of Wisconsin Assembly Resolution 6, reads:Relating to: honoring the life and contributions of Michael "Mike" Robert Biadasz.Whereas, Michael "Mike" Robert Biadasz was born on March 22, 1987, in Stevens Point and passed away on August 15, 2016; andWhereas, Mike attended Amherst Elementary and Middle School and graduated from Amherst High School in 2005; andWhereas, Mike dedicated his life to farming at a young age, attending Mid-State Technical College in Marshfield and Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton and advancing in the Farming and Agricultural program; andWhereas, Mike lived by the adage, "Live today like you are going to die tomorrow, but farm today like you are going to farm forever"; andWhereas, Mike enjoyed hunting and the outdoors and spending time with friends and family, and always loved to make people laugh; andWhereas, Mike was considered by many as a best friend and touched so many people throughout his life that more than 1,200 people attended his visitation to pay their respects; andWhereas, Mike will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and neighbors; andWhereas, Mike is survived by his parents, Robert and Diane Biadasz of Amherst, and three sisters: Amy (Tim) Tryba of River Falls and their children Everett, Bennett, and Hewitt; Lisa (Nathan) Grezenski of Rosholt and their children Jacob, Tyler, and Natalie; and Megan (Matt) Check of Wausau; andWhereas, Mike's legacy will live on in his family and friends, who are encouraging farmers to attend safety training classes for best practices in manure pit management and heightening public awareness of hydrogen sulfide poisoning along with other toxic gases; now, therefore, be itResolved by the assembly, That the members of the Wisconsin State Assembly declare August 15, 2017, Mike Biadasz Day and recognize that his lifelong passion of farming will live on in his legacy; and, be it furtherResolved, That the members of the Wisconsin State Assembly call upon all stakeholders in public health, agriculture, education, and training that best practices be established for manure pit agitation that mitigate risk and educate the public on hydrogen sulfide poisoning and other toxic gases. Resolved, That the assembly chief clerk shall provide a copy of this joint resolution to Robert and Diane Biadasz.
August 14, 2017, New Richland, MN - Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to double its swine facility located about four miles west of New Richland from 2,400 to 4,800 hogs.Due to the proposed expansion, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is conducting an environmental review and is accepting comments through August 23.The facility in Section 15 of Byron Township currently has one barn that holds up to 2,400 swine. Keith Schlaak of Hi-Way 30 Hogs proposes to build a second barn and double the size of the rural New Richland operation. READ MORE 
November 27, 2017, London, UK – The global manure spreaders market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to seven percent during the period 2017 to 2021, according to a new market research study by Technavio. The report presents a comprehensive outlook of the global manure spreaders market by distribution channel (offline stores and online stores). The report also determines the geographic breakdown of the market in terms of detailed analysis and impact, which includes key geographies. Improving farm mechanization is crucial because it facilitates timely, precise, and scientific farm operations, thereby increasing farm input and labor efficiency. Appropriate farm mechanization is necessary to achieve timeliness in field operations, increase productivity, cut down crop production cost, reduce post-harvest losses, and minimize farm drudgery. This also boosts crop output and farm income. The importance of mechanization for farm productivity is coupled with a rise in government support in terms of convenient policies and farm income. Vendors are coming up with advanced features such as fully automated processes, homogenous distribution of manure, multi-language user interfaces, and many more, which are expected to improve the performance of the machines and earn high profit margins. Such factors will increase the demand and sales of manure spreaders. “The launch of new manure spreaders can increase the use and sales of machinery in the coming years,” said Shikha Kaushik, a lead analyst at Technavio for agricultural equipment research. “The growing demand for advanced features, improved performance, and better capacity in machinery has contributed to the development of new machinery, which augurs well for the growth of the market.” The global manure spreaders market is fragmented with the presence of many medium and large-sized competitors. The market is anticipated to experience a sizable rise in production capacity as competitors embrace advanced technological methods to produce manure spreaders. Many competitors are adopting several strategic activities to increase their visibility and production capacities. The increase in production capacity will allow the competitors to meet the growing demand for manure spreaders. The Technavio report is available for purchase by clicking here.
Jaylor's M1480 commercial manure spreader is engineered to be simple and robust. Cambered commercial-grade highway axles and brakes are standard equipment along with oil bath hubs, making the chassis virtually maintenance-free. Rear Canopy with adjustable door for compost Grade 100 Heavy Duty Floor Chain Hydraulic Slide Axle for on-the-fly tongue weight ratio changes Many Flotation Tire options Digi-Star 8000i variable rate control scale system Guillotine door operated by vertical cylinders
October 30, 2017 – Are you at risk while pumping out your manure storage system? Without throwing out the “here’s your sign” card, the simple answer to the question posed is – yes! Many producers know and understand the risk associated with confined manure handling systems but accidents and deaths still occur because unwarranted risks are taken as manure is being handled and removed from the confined manure handling systems. Ask yourself these questions: Does every employee understand the risks associated with confined manure handling systems? Have they received proper training when dealing with confined manure handling systems? Do you have the appropriate hazard signage posted near the confined manure handling system, warning people of the dangers? Do you have the appropriate safety gear available and have you provided instruction to employees on using the equipment? Do you have employees with limited English speaking skills? Do they fully understand the safety risks and signage provided? Do employees and family members have the ability to communicate location directions in an emergency 911 call? These may seem like simple things, unfortunately they often go overlooked. We assume that everyone should know the risks and know what to do in an emergency. Taking the time to provide proper safety equipment, while simultaneously educating employees and family members about the correct safety protocols around confined manure handling systems helps prevent deaths and accidents. So what is the risk with confined manure handling systems? Understanding that there is risk associated with manure pits and manure lagoons is important. They both produce toxic gases as the manure undergoes anaerobic digestive fermentation. The gases produced and the characteristics of each are below: Methane – is an odorless gas that is flammable or explosive at concentrations of 5 to 15 percent by volume of air. The gas is lighter than air and typically found near the top of the pit and high enough concentrations can cause death by suffocation. Hydrogen sulfide – is an extremely toxic gas with a “rotten egg” smell at low concentrations and which at high concentrations can paralyze the olfactory senses. It is heavier than air and often settles towards the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and respiratory tract irritation. At high concentrations it can cause unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death within minutes. It is also explosive at various concentrations. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – is an odorless gas that is heavier than air and often settles near the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it causes labored breathing, drowsiness and headaches. In high concentrations it can displace enough oxygen and cause death via suffocation. Ammonia (NH3) - has sharp odor characteristics that irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Exposure to high concentrations can be fatal. Besides understanding the various types of gases produced in confined manure handling systems, you should also follow these guidelines when working around confined manure handling systems. Manure Pits These are enclosed manure storage structures, which should be equipped with ventilation systems. They are often found in dairies as manure is pumped out to a lagoon or in confined swine operation buildings or certain types of beef finishing operations that utilize a confined building. Follow these safety guidelines around manure pits: Keep all manure pits ventilated and fans working properly. Keep all manure pits covered with appropriately ventilated grating. Post hazard signs near all manure pit entry point locations. Never enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards are utilized. If entry into the pit is necessary, test the air for toxic gases. Never enter a manure pit unless someone is standing by and maintaining constant contact. The person standing watch should be able to lift an unconscious person wearing a safety harness attached to a lifeline. They should NEVER enter the pit trying to rescue someone and have the ability to communicate necessary information in case of an emergency 911 call. Always wear a safety harness that attached to a mechanical device such as a winch, hoist or pulley. This is your lifeline, so the person on the outside must maintain constant contact with the lifeline. Always wear a positive-pressure, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Provide a powered, explosion proof air ventilation system for each manure pit that will help bring in a continuous fresh air supply. NEVER enter a manure pit to attempt a rescue without a safety harness and proper respiratory protection! Manure Lagoons They also produce toxic gases in localized layers, which, especially on hot, humid days with little breeze can cause a health hazard and potential death. Gases are readily released when lagoons are agitated to remove manure to be incorporated as fertilizer into the fields. They often have a thick liquid, floating crust, which can make swimming and buoyancy difficult if you were to slip or fall into the lagoon. Additional safety guidelines for manure lagoons are as follows: Open-air lagoons should be fenced off around the perimeter with locked access gates to keep unauthorized people or unwanted animals from accidentally entering them. Hazard signs posted at entry points warning of toxic gases and drowning dangers. Wear a safety harness attached to a lifeline with someone on the other end that can drag you out if it is necessary to enter the lagoon. Rescue equipment such as flotation devices and lifelines attached to every manure pump. Move slowly around manure lagoons as the ground can be uneven causing a person to trip and fall. Never work alone but all other unnecessary bystanders should stay away from access points or pump-out points. No horseplay allowed in these areas. No smoking or open flames allowed near agitation or pumping areas due to the explosive gases that may be present. If equipment breakdown occurs during agitation or pumping shut it down and remove it from the lagoon area before servicing. Follow the same 911 emergency call guidelines as manure pits, be able to describe the situation, number of victims, location and directions. Safety is not a choice, it is something that we need to practice on a daily basis in agriculture. Enclosed manure hold facilities are one of many areas in livestock operations that have inherent risks. However, by following these recommended safety guidelines and training all involved we can be safer and live to see another day with loved ones and family.
October 20, 2017, Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets recently announced $1 million in funding for the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP). This financial assistance program is available to support farmers to acquire new or innovative equipment that will aid in the elimination of runoff from agricultural wastes to state waters, improve water quality, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. “Funding investments for equipment that will improve water quality is a vital aspect of our farm assistance programs,” said Anson Tebbetts, secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. “This program has historically supported many farmers in their transition to no-till or in improving their farming practices with precision agricultural equipment.” “We’re excited to offer a new phosphorus removal technology funding category which will offer financial assistance for the installation of both physical and chemical mechanisms for the separation of phosphorus from manure.” This year, funding is available through CEAP for a range of innovative equipment, such as phosphorus removal technologies, no-till equipment, manure application record keeping units, manure injection equipment, and more. Specific equipment that is eligible for funding as well as the corresponding funding rates and caps is available the agency’s website at agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap. The grant application opened October 18, 2017 and applications are due by 4 p.m., December 1, 2017. Eligible applicants include custom manure applicators, non-profit organizations, and farmers. For the complete CEAP application, program details and additional information, please visit agriculture.vermont.gov/ceap or call the agency at (802) 828-2431 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
October 4, 2017, Madison, WI – Dairy Herd Management recently announced LWR’s First Wave System among the Top 10 Products in the 2017 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards. The Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards recognize the best of the best in new products that will be game changers for dairy producers in the areas of efficiency, functionality and technology. LWR Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks says that the launch of the First Wave System was in direct response to the feedback that they were receiving from the dairy industry. “We are constantly listening to producers and we recognized that to fully service the dairy industry we needed to offer the same quality of manure treatment that you get with the LWR system, in a package that drastically reduces operating costs not only for smaller operations, but to an entire industry that has been battling low milk prices,” he said. “We also recognized that not every farm needs to make clean water, but that most want a different way to manage their manure. The First Wave System offers the same precise nutrient control as the full LWR system, and the beauty is that you can add the Second Wave Module at any time to start making clean water when the time is right.” “This dairy industry is fast-paced and ever evolving, these awards showcase the finest in the industry and the commitment industry partners make to keep the future of the dairy industry strong,” said Cliff Becker, vice president and publishing director of Dairy Herd Management. “We are pleased to recognize these top innovators at World Dairy Expo. “The LWR system was recognized as a Top 10 Product in the 2011 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards, and now to have the First Wave System on that list is a true testament to our longstanding commitment to the dairy industry,” adds Brooks. Entries were evaluated by Dairy Herd Management's panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts, and were judged on their originality within the marketplace, usefulness and value to dairy farmers.
September 25, 2017, Lancaster, PA – Fire and Penn Township municipal crews faced an extensive cleanup operation after a September 22 crash involving a farm vehicle spilled an unknown amount of the manure. Northern Lancaster County Regional Police said a tractor towing the liquid manure spreader – filled with 6,000 gallons of manure at the time – lost control and the rig overturned. READ MORE
It seems that sales of manure macerators are up, as they can be used with different types of injectors and help address the higher flow rate of manure pumps in North America. And new designs have improvements significantly over old ones.
The sun has set on another edition of the North American Manure Expo, which was held in mid-August at the University of Wisconsin’s Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc.
September 5, 2017, Manawa, WI - Although manure provides valuable nutrients, especially nitrogen, to high N-requiring crops such as corn, proper application is key to keeping those nutrients in the soil while reducing soil erosion.Methods of applying manure into the ground without significantly disturbing the soil were presented to area farmers at the recent summer field day sponsored by the Waupaca County Forage Council.During the morning presentations, speakers noted that a large portion of nitrogen, about half in typical liquid dairy manure, is in ammonium or urea form and can potentially be lost to the air as ammonia if the manure is not incorporated into the soil promptly.Historically, tillage has been the most common method of incorporation, but tillage and, to a lesser extent, standard injection reduce crop residue cover, leaving the field more susceptible to erosion.A common goal among producers is to find new methods for applying liquid dairy manure to maximize manure N availability while maintaining crop residue cover for erosion control.One of the field-day presenters, Dan Brick, of Brickstead Dairy near Greenleaf in Brown County, has become an active conservation leader, who's committed to finding solutions that maintain environmental quality while improving soil fertility.Through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQUIP), Brick invested in an additional 2.9-million-gallon concrete manure structure to contain manure and milk house waste through the winter until it can be spread safely as fertilizer in the spring on his 900 acres of crop and hay ground. READ MORE
August 18, 2017, Arlington, WI – The clock is ticking with less than one week before the North American Manure Expo begins.The 2017 edition of the annual show celebrating all things manure–related is being held August 22 and 23, 2017, at the University of Wisconsin's Arlington Agricultural Research Station, located about 20 miles north of Madison near Arlington, WI.Two action-packed days have been planned. On August 22, attendees can choose from one of three tours featuring visits to a local dairy-based anaerobic digester, examples of swine and dairy manure processing, plus composting and low disturbance manure application. The buses are filling up and space is limited. Tour registration costs $20 and is available online at manureexpo.org.Pit agitation demos will also be held that afternoon at the research center followed by a stop by some cover crop plots. The trade show will open at noon and industry sessions – including Puck's Pump School, a gas safety seminar plus a demonstration involving control of pit foaming – will be held starting at 4 p.m.On August 23, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a morning of educational sessions. Twenty-four topics will be presented in four separate tents.Manure safety and manure management tools• Improving safety practices around manure storages• Manure safety• Basics of gas monitoring equipment and procedures• Nutrient management planning for Wisconsin farms: SnapPlus software• Integrating erosion and P assessment with SnapPlus• Wisconsin's runoff risk advisory forecastManure as a fertilizer resource• Manure analysis trends and sample collection techniques• Dairy manure application methods• Secondary and micro-nutrients available in dairy manure• Maximizing nutrient value from manure storages• Microbial response to organic matter additions to soils• Use of nitrification inhibitors with manureManure application techniques and technology• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using drag hose• Manure application uniformity• Replacing commercial sidedress nitrogen with liquid manure on emerging corn using a modified tanker• Nutrient separation or improved hauling logistics• Slurry seeding of cover crops• Evaluating the environmental benefits and economic opportunities of windrowing composted dairy manureManure and environmental protection• How does manure application timing impact P runoff?• Manure during winter: How to manage• Nitrogen dynamics in manured systems• Minimizing manure and nutrient transport to tile systems• Public perceptions• Can cover crops and tillage help reduce erosion and P losses?Speakers include university researchers, manure management specialists, professional engineers, agricultural agency staff, and custom manure haulers. Twelve continuing education units (CEUs) have been approved by the American Society of Agronomy's Certified Crop Advisor Program. Other state- and association-specific continuing education or certification credits are also available. They will are listed on manureexpo.org.Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders plus compost turners are also planned during the afternoon of August 23.Registration is free (tours are $20) and available online at manureexpo.org.
August 10, 2017 – Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few. Timing is also a problem. Livestock produce manure 24/7 – even when it is impractical or unwise to move it to the field. Delivering manure to the field needs to be timed to nutrient needs, soil moisture levels, and temperature. How can farmers handle this timing issue, as well as other manure problems? In cities, sewers and water treatment facilities deal with human waste. On farms, manure storage lagoons can hold the manure until the time is ripe. This solves the timing and delivery problem – but what about odor and gas emissions? In addition to the inconvenience of odor, manure can release gases connected to air pollution and climate change. Methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide are examples. Scientist Brian Dougherty and colleagues researched methods to reduce these negatives while potentially adding some positives: biochar covers. Biochar is plant matter, such as straw, woody debris, or corn stalks, that has been heated to high temperatures in a low- to no-oxygen environment. The result is a black, carbon-rich material similar to charcoal. Dougherty says biochar is like a sponge. “Biochar provides a structure with lots of empty pore space,” he says. “The outer surface may appear small but the interior surface area is absolutely massive. A few ounces of biochar can have an internal surface area the size of a football field. There is a lot of potential there for holding on to water and nutrients.” In addition to its hidden storage capacity, the surface of the biochar tends to have a chemical charge. This gives biochar the ability to attract and hold nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ions, metals, and other compounds. Biochar can also float (some types more than others). That attribute means it can trap gases at the water’s surface. Growing up on a dairy farm, Dougherty is no stranger to the challenges of manure storage. “Once I realized the properties of biochar, I thought it had good potential for a lagoon cover,” he says. Dougherty’s research studied two liquid dairy manures with differing nutrient levels. It also studied two types of biochars, made at different temperatures. Biochar is somewhat fickle, showcasing different properties when created at different temperatures. He also included pails of manure with a straw cover for comparison, and au natural with no cover as his control. The research found that the biochars picked up the most nutrients from the more concentrated manure with a higher nutrient content. “The biochar will take up whatever it can, so if there are more nutrients available the potential for nutrient uptake is greater,” Dougherty says. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are nutrients with the greatest economic value on a farm, but applying them in excess of what the crop can take up can lead to nutrient loss to the watershed. Dougherty also measured the ammonia at the top of each pail. Ammonia and sulfates are the main source of manure’s odor. The cooler-crafted biochar did best here, reducing ammonia by 72 to 80 percent. It also floated better. But because it floated better and tended to repel water, it was less effective at attracting and attaching to the nutrients than the warmer-crafted biochar. Biochar is currently more expensive to buy than straw, but Dougherty is undaunted. Biochar could have a good economic return: excess farm and forestry residue could be used to create the biochar on site. This process generates energy that could be used heat water and warm buildings during colder months. There is also potential for generating electricity, fuels, and other by-products using more sophisticated equipment. After its use in the lagoon, the biochar could be spread on fields as needed. Any excess could be sold as a high-value fertilizer product. And biochar has great environmental benefits. “Anything you can do to prevent gases from escaping the lagoon is a good thing,” Dougherty says. “Biochar applied to soils – particularly poorer quality soils – is very helpful. Making biochar can also help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. A portion of the carbon dioxide that was taken in during plant growth ends up as a very stable form of carbon in the soil. The overall picture has multiple benefits.” Dougherty’s research did not avoid the obvious. Would biochar or straw best improve the dairy air? Since the human nose knows, Dougherty recruited a panel of judges. The weather intervened, however, with freezing temperatures and rain affecting the odor intensity over the 12-week trial. Despite these challenges, three different biochars were shown to reduce odor from liquid dairy manure, whereas a straw cover was not effective. “Determining the best trade-off of biochar properties will be an important next step,” Dougherty says. “More research could find the right biochar production temperature, particle size, pH, and float properties. The potential is there.” This portion of the research still needs to be sniffed out. Read more about Dougherty’s biochar research in Journal of Environmental Quality.
August 1, 2017, Ames, IA – Summer is here and it’s brought dry weather throughout much of the state. This type of weather is a great time to check over your manure management systems and make sure it will keep doing its job. A great place to start is with your manure storage. Fall application season is still a ways away, but a little planning now can make sure you have the flexibility to manage your manure like the fertilizer resource it is, and to make sure your storage will keep functioning for years to come. Proper management and maintenance is necessary to prevent manure from overflowing or discharging from a storage system. Whether the manure storage is in an earthen tank, a slurry store, or a deep pit, the basic principles to maintaining and managing the storage structure are similar. In any case, frequent evaluation and preventative maintenance will significantly reduce your risk and keep your manure where you want it. Monitor the operating level of your manure storages. Have a staff gauge or a method for determining how much manure is already in your storage. Keeping track of how much manure is there can give insight into if you have enough capacity to make it to your next land application window. If you are worried you may run short this will give you an early opportunity to evaluate how you are going to handle the situation when your storage gets full. Monitoring the level can also alert you to if anything unexpected is occurring, for instance, your manure storage isn’t filling up or filling up really quickly because of a water leak or outside drainage water getting in. Visual structure inspection. A quick look over the storage can tell you a lot about how your structure is holding up – as you walk around, pay close attention to inlet points, connections, and where the sidewalls connect to the base. To make this easier make sure you are mowing around your storage and cutting down trees, watching for animal burrows, and making sure clean water is being diverted around your manure storage structure. Odor evaluation. I know odor can be a stink of a topic, but it’s something we have to deal with. Make it a part of your routine to go around your farm once a week and make a note of the odor intensity and what neighbors may be smelling. Unfortunately there usually are not easy fixes, but for those of you interested in learning more about potential odor options check out AMPAT. Safety check. We all recognize there are some safety challenges to working in and around manure storage systems. Take the time to review your safety protocols and update as needed. Taking the time to go over them will remind everyone that they are important and to protect us. While you are at it make sure to check any fences, escape ladders, and warning signs you have posted to make sure they are still in good shape, readable, and present. Clean water diversions. Minimizing outside water entering a manure storage helps keep nutrient concentrations higher making it an economic fertilizer for a farm to use. Check over the clean water diversions around your farm to make sure things like silage piles, mortality compost piles, and in-ground manure storage piles aren’t receiving water from other areas. Application equipment. Manure equipment lives a tough life, it gets used quick for a month and then put away. Take the time to check it over now before you need it again this fall and get that one last part that you’ve been meaning to fix.

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