Digester Revolution

Digester Revolution

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

California Dairies Digest The Future

California Dairies Digest The Future

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

Animal waste technology project unveiled in MD

Animal waste technology project unveiled in MD

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

New manure process unveiled at Fair Oaks

New manure process unveiled at Fair Oaks

Midwestern BioAg, a Wisconsin-based company, recently unveiled a new manufacturing process that transforms dairy manure into a uniform, dry fertilizer granule

April 27, 2017, West Palm Beach, FL – A firm hoping to operate a horse manure recycling facility between Wellington and Belle Glade withdrew its application April 26, killing, at least temporarily, a solution Palm Beach County thought it had found to the problem of how to dispose of waste from its bustling equestrian industry. After initially and enthusiastically backing a request for the facility, commissioners reversed themselves when farmers complained that the location of the facility in their midst would keep them from selling their fruits and vegetables. READ MORE
April 25, 2017, Sacramento, CA – The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued an administrative civil liability penalty of $75,600 against a Visalia-area dairy for failing to file its 2015 annual report on the impacts of its dairy operations on water quality. The board also adopted a cease and desist order against the operation for failure to comply with requirements set forth in the Dairy General Order.The cease and desist order requires the owners to resume compliance with all the requirements of the Dairy General Order, including filing annual reports, or face the possibility of additional civil penalties and/or judicial enforcement from the California Office of the Attorney General."Fully complying with all requirements of the Dairy General Order is needed to protect water quality," said Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer for the Central Valley Water Board. "Annual reports are a vital component of the Dairy General Order because they inform the board about manure handling activities at dairies, and nutrient management planning on dairy cropland.""It is critical that dairies adequately implement the requirements of the Dairy General Order including submitting annual reports that show they are taking the steps necessary to protect water quality. In assessing the penalty and adopting the cease and desist order, our board is recognizing a discharger's responsibility to comply with orders issued by our board, including submitting required documents."According to the CVRWQCB, the owners of the dairy have failed to file annual reports required by dairies regulated under the Dairy General Order since 2009. Further site inspections have determined the owners have failed to implement many other requirements of the Dairy General Order.The Dairy General Order, first adopted by the Central Valley Water Board in 2007 and revised in 2013, requires dairies to handle waste in ways that preserve and protect water quality. The order contains a number of requirements, including standards for manure and dairy wastewater storage, and criteria for the application of manure and dairy wastewater to cropland. The order also contains reporting requirements for regulated dairies, including the submission of annual reports, submission of a waste management plan, implementation of a nutrient management plan, and implementation of groundwater monitoring. Failure to submit any of the required reports is a violation of the order.
April 20, 2017, Ithaca, NY – All living things – from bacteria and fungi to plants and animals – need phosphorus. But extra phosphorus in the wrong place can harm the environment. For example, when too much phosphorus enters a lake or stream, it can lead to excessive weed growth and algal blooms. Low-oxygen dead zones can form.Runoff from agricultural sites can be an important source of phosphorus pollution. To help evaluate and reduce this risk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) first proposed a phosphorus index concept in the early 1990s.Since then, science progressed and methods improved. In New York State, scientists and agency staff developed and released a phosphorus index in 2003. Now, a new project proposes a restructured index to build on phosphorus management efforts in that state and beyond."The idea is to account for the characteristics of a field, and help evaluate the risk of phosphorus runoff from that location," says Quirine Ketterings, lead author of the new study.The new index structure improves upon previous approaches. It focuses on the existing risk of phosphorus runoff from a field based on the location and how it is currently managed. Qualities like ground cover, erosion potential, and distance to a stream or water-body all come into play. The index also highlights best management practices to reduce this risk."The new index approach will direct farmers toward an increasingly safer series of practices," says Ketterings. "Higher-risk fields require more and safer practices to reduce and manage phosphorus runoff."Ketterings directs the nutrient management spear program at Cornell University. She and her colleagues used a combination of surveys, computer-generated examples, and old-fashioned number crunching. They used characteristics of thousands of farm fields to develop the new index. Involving farmers and farm advisors was also a key step."As stakeholders, farmers and farm advisors are more likely to make changes if they understand why," says Ketterings. "Plus, they have experience and knowledge that folks in academia and in governmental agencies often do not."This field experience can be vital. "Involving stakeholders in decision-making and getting their feedback makes the final product more workable," says Ketterings. "It may also prevent mistakes that limit implementation and effectiveness."Ketterings stresses that the previous index was not wrong."Farming is a business of continuous improvement and so is science," she says. "The initial index was based on the best scientific understanding available at that time. Our new index builds and improves upon the experience and scientific knowledge we have accumulated since the first index was implemented. It is likely this new index will be updated in the future as our knowledge evolves."The previous index approach could be somewhat time-consuming for planners, according to Ketterings. Further, it didn't always help identify the most effective practices for farmers. The new approach addresses both of these issues."We wanted the new index to be practical to use," she says. "The best index has no value if people cannot or will not implement it."In some circumstances of low or medium soil test phosphorus, the original New York state phosphorus index allowed farms to apply manure and fertilizer in what we now consider to be potentially high-risk settings."The new index approach proposes soil test phosphorus cutoffs and also encourages placing manure below the soil surface," says Ketterings. "These changes will bring improvements in phosphorus utilization and management across the farm."Ketterings also thinks that the new index is more intuitive."It allows for ranking of fields based on their inherent risk of phosphorus transport if manure was applied," she says. "It really emphasizes implementing best management practices to reduce phosphorus losses from fields."In addition, the proposed index approach could make it easier to develop similar indices across state lines, according to Ketterings. This makes sense, since watersheds don't follow state boundaries. Growers could use different practices, if deemed appropriate, for different regions.READ MORE about Ketterings' work in Journal of Environmental Quality.
April 18, 2017, Kansas City, MO – Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and Vanguard Renewables recently announced a strategic partnership to help bring anaerobic digestion technology to more farms across the country.
April 13, 2017, Yakima, WA – A Lower Valley dairy is being sued over claims that it has violated the federal Clean Water Act for years, including contributing to the impact of a manure-related flood in the Outlook area earlier this year.
April 11, 2017, Charles City, IA — A revised resolution aimed at protecting the health of workers at large animal confinement operations was discussed by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors recently, and its sponsor hopes changes will result in more support this time. Supervisor Mark Kuhn introduced a resolution at the board meeting the end of February to set worker health safety requirements for applicants seeking to get a state construction permit for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). READ MORE
April 11, 2017, Raleigh, NC – North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to protect the world's largest pork producer from lawsuits accusing its subsidiaries of creating unbearable animal waste odor. The 2014 lawsuits by about 500 rural neighbors of massive hog farms allege that clouds of flies and intense smells remain a problem nearly a quarter-century since industrial-scale hog farming took off. READ MORE
April 11, 2017, Dixon, IL — Taking safety precautions is vital for cattlemen working with barns that have pit manure storage. “There are many good reasons for using liquid manure systems,” said Ted Funk, professor emeritus of the University of Illinois. READ MORE
April 10, 2017, Windsor Heights, IA – Plans to enable farmers and consultants to submit manure management plan updates electronically will lead off the April 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at DNR’s Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road in Windsor Heights, IA. READ MORE
April 5, 2017, Hartford, CT – Connecticut’s dairy farmers could soon become the newest alternative energy producers, thanks to an innovative “Cow Power” initiative promoted by State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr., co-chair of the General Assembly’s Environment Committee. Passing unanimously out of the committee, the Cow Power bill – SB 999 – promotes the use of cow manure as a renewable energy source through the process of anaerobic digestion. The bill also creates an easier, cheaper and faster state and local permitting process for farmers who are interested in adopting this technology. “‘Cow Power’ is a term for the conversion of cow manure into electricity, enabling farmers to make money by adding a new, desperately-needed source of farm revenue,” said Senator Kennedy. “Instead of storing tons of manure in open cesspools that contaminate the water supply and release tons of climate-destroying methane into the atmosphere, farmers can place the animal waste in an anaerobic digester located on their property.” An anaerobic digester is a large metal tank that uses bacteria to convert manure and food waste into valuable biogas, which, in turn, provides fuel to a generator that produces electricity that can be used by the farmers or sold on the power grid through virtual net metering. This can allow farmers to assign surplus energy production from their generator to other metered accounts at retail, not lower wholesale, prices. “Farm-based anaerobic digesters now number over 250 nationwide and have already become significant sources of electricity in places such as Lancaster County, PA, and Vermont,” said Senator Kennedy. “In addition to becoming a valuable and diversified source of electricity, anaerobic digesters solve many other problems, such as eliminating farm odor, reducing manure-based water pollution, and creating a by-product that is non-toxic and pathogen-free that can be used or sold as animal bedding or fertilizer. We need to cut through the red tape, streamlining and simplifying Connecticut’s permitting process to accelerate this technology and save our farms.” SB 999, which will initially establish a pilot program for three farms in Connecticut, is welcome news for Connecticut’s farmers. The state’s 111 registered dairy farms are seeking new revenue sources to preserve their farms as they struggle to compete with much larger dairy operations in the Midwest, where labor and land costs are cheaper. “This is a natural process that kills pathogens, recycles nutrients, and more,” said Henry Talmage, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau, at the public hearing for SB 999. “In addition to generating electricity, installing agricultural anaerobic digesters destroys methane and reduces overall carbon emissions, making it outperform other Zero-Rec emitting technologies.” The goal of the pilot program is also to identify the best technologies, examine economic risks, and modernize Connecticut’s future digester permitting pathway. Now that SB 999 has passed the Environment Committee, it moves to the floor of the state senate for further action.
April 4, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI – A scientist who's looked into widespread well contamination in Kewaunee County says he's now urging owners of tainted wells to find another water source. U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt recently published findings that indicate cow manure is the leading cause of groundwater pollution in Kewaunee County. But he found that human waste from sanitary systems is spoiling drinking water there, too. READ MORE
April 3, 2017, Chicago, IL — Four new measures proposed in the Illinois legislature would tighten the state’s environmental protections on hog confinements and give local citizens more input in the permitting process as well as standing to challenge the massive facilities in court. The legislation, announced March 28, was proposed in response to an August investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The bills would represent the first significant reforms to the state’s 1996 Livestock Management Facilities Act, which has been criticized for failing to keep up with the dramatic growth of swine confinements. READ MORE  
April 27, 2017, Richmond, VA — Excessive livestock manure from millions of turkeys, chickens and cows in Virginia is making its way into the Shenandoah River, polluting the scenic waterway with unsafe levels of E. coli, according to a new report from an environmental advocacy group. The Environmental Integrity Project analyzed hundreds of state records for the report released Wednesday. In addition to E. coli, which can sicken the swimmers, fishermen and tubers who flock to the river, the report also found elevated levels of phosphorous, which contributes to the growth of algae blooms and low-oxygen "dead zones." READ MORE
April 27, 2017, Wilkes-Barre, PA – A state court judge cited Pennsylvania’s Right To Farm Act (RTFA) in recently dismissing a case from neighbors who filed a lawsuit over the use of liquid swine manure as part of the defendants' farming operations. Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. decided to grant motions for summary judgment for the defendants and against a long list of plaintiffs who are landowners and neighbors of the hog operation. READ MORE
April 24, 2017, Lafayette, NY – Here's a statistic to start your day. A dairy farm with 200 cows produces as much manure as the city of Albany and its 98,000 residents produces sewage, according to a leading environmental group.Communities have experience with managing human waste, but as the state's dairy industry has grown in recent years to meet the needs of yogurt, cheese and milk lovers, so has the problem of manure that poses an environmental threat to waterways and residents.Manure management has become controversial, and farms in Central New York are at the center of the debate. READ MORE
April 18, 2017, Lexington, KY – On April 11, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in Waterkeeper Alliance, et al., v. EPA, vacated a 2008 EPA rule that exempted farms from certain hazardous substance reporting requirements (2008 Rule).
April 13, 2017, Emerald, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating a large manure spill from a dairy in St. Croix County.
April 10, 2017, Owatonna, MN – Public perception can dictate and lead to public policy. It is important for agriculture professionals to step out of their own boots and look at how they do business from the perspective of the general public. Is it a positive image? If not, the public may seek regulations to change it. Rick Martens, the executive director of the Minnesota Custom Applicators Association, spoke to a group of manure applicators that were continuing their Commercial Ag Waste Technician training. READ MORE
March 30, 2017, Jefferson City, MO — Bill Reiboldt believes some Missouri farmers don't want local authorities to have any control over them. "We just want to be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Department of Agriculture," said Reiboldt, a Republican state representative from Neosho. "We don't want cities and municipalities regulating the world of agriculture." HB 175, sponsored by Reiboldt, would no longer allow local government to regulate or create any ordinances or rules regarding "seeds, fertilizers or soil conditioners." Soil conditioners are any substances, excluding fertilizers, which can be added to the soil or applied to plants. READ MORE
February 28, 2017, Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana House approved a more streamlined process for authorizing confined animal feeding operations under a bill passed Feb. 27. Rep. David Wolkins, R-Warsaw, gave an extended explanation of the bill to his colleagues because of confusion about what it does. For example, he said, the bill eliminates use of the term “prior approval” in favor of a “permit.” That has created concern by opponents of the measure, but Wolkins said all CAFOs must still receive permission to be built and operate. READ MORE
February 8, 2017, Olympia, WA – Western lawmakers have proposed an amendment to the federal Solid Waste Disposal Act to help farmers understand which manure management rules they’re supposed to follow. HR 848, the Farm Regulatory Certainty Act, would reaffirm and clarify Congress’ intention regarding manure management under the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, also known as the Solid Waste Disposal Act. READ MORE
December 6, 2016, Springfield, IL – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) recently released the results of the 2015 Producer Survey, which was designed to accurately reflect the nutrient management and conservation practices used for the state Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS). The survey questions covered nutrient management strategies, cover crops, edge-of-field practices, use of soil tests, erosion management, and knowledge of certain NLRS components. Farmers were asked to respond based on crop years 2015 and 2011, which was selected as a base year. “This is the first opportunity for farmers to really tell their collective story regarding the use of nutrient management conservation practices in Illinois,” said Warren Goetsch, deputy director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA). “This survey is proof that our agricultural community has a good story to tell. Illinois farmers are taking ownership of these uses, specifically agricultural non-point nutrient loss, and they are willing and able to meet the challenge through voluntary involvement and best management practice adoption. They are truly doing a great job!” Per the survey, the majority of Illinois corn acres follow the recommended MRTN (Maximum Return to Nitrogen) application guidelines, and this number is increasing. In 2011, 70 percent of the corn acres were using MRTN and by 2015 that number had increased to 81 percent. In addition, more than half of all surveyed farmers indicate that are either knowledgeable or very knowledgeable of the aspects of the 4R Strategy of Right Nutrient Source at the Right Rate, in the Right Place and Right timing. Between 2011 and 2015, farmers moved to a split application system of less than 50 percent fall/winter applied applications with the remaining Nitrogen applications split between pre-plant and side-dress on nearly half a million acres. Farmers have also shown increased adoption of cover crops since 2011. With almost half a million acres of cover crops on tile-drained ground, farmers have more than doubled their use of cover crops in the five-year period of the survey. Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr. credits the collective work of farmer groups, agricultural retail organizations, university research, Illinois agency leadership and the farm community in general for the success being shown in the adoption of conservation practices. “The NLRS set aggressive goals for the ag community to address nutrient efficiency and through various partnerships across the industry we have once again shown that farmers are stewards of natural resources and have taken seriously the challenges presented to us,” he said. The survey was funded by a partnership between the Illinois Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC) and the Illinois Farm Bureau. “This survey is an important part of the Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy and provides an analysis of the adoption and understanding of the practices outlined in the strategy,” said Mark Schleusener, Illinois State statistician with USDA/NASS. “The results establish a set of baseline statistics and also show the changes in cultural practices from 2011 to 2015. With support from NREC and the Illinois Farm Bureau, we will look to repeat this survey on a bi-annual basis to continue 1 to track these issues.” The full summary of survey results is available at: https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Illinois/Publications/Current_News_Release/2016/Nutrient_Loss_Survey_Results.pdf.
December 5, 2016, Hot Springs, VA – Over the past two years, hundreds of Virginia farmers have taken proactive steps to protect water quality on their land. Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Basil Gooden applauded their efforts Nov. 29 at the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2016 Annual Convention in Hot Springs. READ MORE
December 1, 2016, Baltimore, MD – We all try to meet our obligations in life, whether personal or professional. Living up to our commitments builds trust and earns a worthy reputation. That's why it's so disappointing that the Maryland Department of Agriculture is proposing to weaken the ban against spreading manure and sewage sludge during winter months by allowing for certain exemptions. READ MORE
April 25, 2017, Lincoln, NE – For a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemical and biomolecular engineering students, biogas refining isn't just a senior design capstone project, it's a potential means of supplying Nebraska's rural communities with a renewable source of energy that comes from resources that are both local and plentiful.Tasked with helping Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) turn biogas into a more-refined form of natural gas, the team of Meryl Bloomfield, Heather Newell, K.J. Hafer and Dave Hansen saw that the state was among the nation's leaders in not only cattle population but in manure production.Using an anaerobic digestion process, the team proposes turning that manure not only into fertilizer for crops but natural gas that NPPD could also use to create electricity that powers farms and rural communities across the state."Compared to other renewable energy sources – like wind and solar – biogas is more consistent," said Bloomfield. "Cows are always going to produce manure. You don't have to rely on having a sunny day or a windy day, especially In Nebraska, where wind and solar plants might not be as reliable as in Arizona and California."According to The Cattle Network, Nebraska ranked second nationally in 2015 with approximately 6.3 million cattle or about seven percent of the U.S. population. One of the biggest uses of the manure produced by the cattle is the production of fertilizer.The student team worked to develop a method that would allow the production of natural gas and still maintain a viable supply for fertilizer production. But that led to it expanding on its goal by proposing a solution that could be an economic boost to the rural community – a biogas upgrade refinery that would be strategically located near Broken Bow.The refined natural gas from the Nebraska Biogas Upgrading Refinery would then be piped to NPPD's Canaday Station southeast of Lexington, where it could be used to create electricity."It would be centralized to where the cows are," Hansen said. "After designing the plant, we determined we'd need about a quarter of a million head of cattle to achieve the manure supply sufficient to reach the capacity NPPD is looking for.The natural gas that would be similar to the gas used in homes across the country, Hansen said, except it would be collected as part of a natural process rather than relying on traditional means of extracting the gas – such as fracking or refining fossil fuels.Newell also said the process would be more beneficial to the ecology."In doing this, we're reducing greenhouse gases from the cow manure that sits out and naturally becomes fertilizer," Newell said. "We're reducing the carbon dioxide and creating something useful from it."Though their proposal isn't guaranteed to be implemented, Bloomfield said thinking about the human impact made this senior capstone experience valuable for the entire team."Knowing that it could be even a stepping stone to something for NPPD changed how we approached it," Bloomfield said. "When you're thinking theoretically, you can go a lot of different directions. When you're thinking about how it affects people and their lives, that's when it gets real."
April 21, 2017, Richland, Wash. – 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.Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a new system to convert methane into a deep green, energy-rich, gelatin-like substance that can be used as the basis for biofuels and other bioproducts, specialty chemicals — and even feed for cows that create the gas in the first place."We take a waste product that is normally an expense and upgrade it to microbial biomass which can be used to make fuel, fertilizer, animal feed, chemicals and other products," said Hans Bernstein, corresponding author of a recent paper in Bioresource Technology.Methane is an unavoidable byproduct of our lifestyle. Manure from dairy cows, cattle and other livestock that provide us food often breaks down into methane. Drilling processes used to obtain the oil and natural gas we use to drive our cars and trucks or heat our homes often vent or burn off excess methane to the atmosphere, wasting an important energy resourcePNNL scientists approached the problem by getting two very different micro-organisms to live together in harmony.One is a methane-loving methanotroph, found underground near rice paddies and landfills — where natural methane production typically occurs. The other is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that resembles algae. Originally cultured from a lake in Siberia, it uses light along with carbon dioxide to produce oxygen.The two aren't usually found together, but the two co-exist in harmony in a bioreactor at PNNL — thanks to a co-culture system created by Leo Kucek, Grigoriy E. Pinchuk, and Sergey Stolyar as well as Eric Hill and Alex Beliaev, who are two authors of the current paper.PNNL scientist Hans Bernstein collected methane gas from a Washington dairy farm and Colorado oil fields and fed it to the microbes in the bioreactor.One bacterium, Methylomicrobium alcaliphilum 20Z, ate the methane and produced carbon dioxide and energy-rich biomass made up largely of a form of carbon that can be used to produce energy.But Methylomicrobium alcaliphilum 20Z can't do it alone. It needs the other micro-organism, Synechococcus species 7002, which uses light to produce the steady stream of oxygen its counterpart needs to carry out the methane-consuming reaction.Each one accomplishes an important task while supplying the other with a substance it needs to survive. They keep each other happy and well fed — as Bernstein puts it, they're engaging in a "productive metabolic coupling." READ MORE
Many would say that solids are the most critical component to handle in a digester, but water is a critical factor as well, logistically and financially.
April 13, 2017, Haverhill, MA — The city's board of health has approved a waste-to-energy digester for farm in Bradford.
February 15, 2017, Rhodesdale, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder recently toured the Murphy family’s Double Trouble Farm – the first Maryland poultry operation to install cutting-edge technology that converts poultry litter to energy. The Maryland Department of Agriculture awarded a $970,000 animal waste technology grant to Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. (BHSL) for the manure-to-energy project and an additional $139,000 to monitor its operation for one year. “I am proud to recognize the Murphy family for bringing this innovative technology to Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “I commend the Murphy’s and the entire Double Trouble Farm team for leading the way for farmers to improve water quality, increase energy independence, and improve animal waste management to ensure the sustainability of animal agriculture in our state.” Maryland’s Animal Waste Technology Fund is a grant program that provides seed funding to companies that demonstrate innovative technologies to manage or repurpose manure resources. These technologies generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other products and by-products. To date, the program has approved $3.7 million in grants to six projects. “Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc, with the support of Mountaire, has adapted innovative manure management technology to benefit the poultry industry and the Murphy family’s farm. The system utilizes poultry litter as a feedstock by converting it to energy to heat the farm’s chicken houses and generate electricity,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “A great deal of credit goes to the Murphy family for taking the time and risk involved in being the test case for a promising new way of doing business.” This project has the following benefits: Reduced environmental impact: A reduction in the potential environmental impact of manure resources Lower energy costs: A reduction in energy costs through using heat from the manure as a source for heating poultry houses Improved animal welfare: Improved animal welfare, with improved health and reduced risk of diseases Improved performance: Faster growth – poultry reaching target weight more quickly Additional revenue: Potential expansion of revenue streams – earnings from the sale of excess electricity and a fertilizer by-product “I am excited that a unique piece of technology designed in Ireland is going to transform U.S. poultry production and play a crucial role in reducing the environmental impact of the industry on the Chesapeake Bay,” said Denis Brosnan, chairman of Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. “I hope this pilot project is the start of a broader initiative to turn poultry manure from a potential pollutant into a valuable source of energy.” Biomass Heating Solutions, Inc. will use electricity generating technology (fluidized bed combustion) to process poultry litter into energy for heating two of four poultry houses during the demonstration period. The system is projected to generate 526 megawatts of electricity per year. Adding heat to poultry houses has been proven at other sites to improve the flock growth rate and overall bird health. These benefits will enhance potential profit margins, reduce payback period for the technology, and improve the likelihood of transferability to other poultry operations. The Murphys are working with BHSL to explore markets for the high-phosphorus ash by-product including Maryland fertilizer companies. As a result of energy production and marketing the ash, 90 percent of nutrients in the poultry litter produced by 14 poultry houses will have alternative uses. “Mountaire is excited about the potential that new alternative use technologies for litter bring to the poultry industry,” said Bill Massey, Mountaire director of housing and feed milling. “We will continue to work with the Murphys, MDA and BHSL on this manure to energy project. Our company and our industry continue to look for solutions to be good environmental stewards.”
 The pilot system at Scott Brothers’ converts about 88 percent of the dairy’s gasified manure into biochar and other products Sustainability in farming is a phrase that’s used a lot these days. In its simplest form, it’s about continual operation with minimal impact on the environment. At Scott Brothers’ Dairy Farms in Moreno Valley, Calif., sustainability has reached a never-before-achieved level, one that’s attracting attention from around the globe. Manure plays a central role in the farm’s ‘Circle of Energy’ concept: the 1,100-strong herd eats high-quality feed produced from the farm’s 700 acres, harvested with machinery powered by a no-sulfur diesel fuel derived from the cows’ manure. If that wasn’t impressive enough, the system also produces irrigation water, potable water, fertilizer, high-value wax, sulfur and valuable nutrients, which, according to Steve McCorkle, enables these and future farmers to truly control their own destinies. McCorkle is the CEO of Ag Waste Solutions (AWS) of Westlake Village, Calif., the designer and installer of the system at Scott Brothers. He got the idea of making diesel from manure during years travelling the globe working in the energy sector. “It appeared to me that farmers all over the world seemed to share two very strong, common goals: a desire to be the best possible stewards of their land, and a desire to be as independent as possible,” he says. At the same time, when McCorkle was working in remote deserts in the Middle East with no infrastructure for hundreds of miles, he and his colleagues had to convert waste gases into electricity and recycle wastewater. “I realized that if we could economically convert wastes into diesel fuel, we could literally fuel our own petroleum exploration – and also achieve what farmers wanted, to be much more independent of the world outside their farms,” he says. It seemed to him that there were two main factors that would make small-scale on-farm diesel production viable. One was modular and portable refining equipment, and, the second, a waste feedstock with a consistent chemical composition to make pre-conditioning less costly. With manure fitting the feedstock bill, McCorkle began in 2006 to work on the refining technology. By 2012, he was collaborating with the Scott brothers, who were looking hard at that point for solutions to deal with new groundwater and watershed salt load regulations – and an impending ban on applying manure to forage crops to boot. With some funding help from the California Energy Commission (CEC), the current pilot system was up and running at Scott Brothers by April 2015.   How it worksThe system first removes almost all suspended solids and 40 percent of dissolved solids from the dairy’s liquid manure. Some of the extracted water is further purified to make it potable (and therefore satisfy manure application requirements specific to a regional state regulatory agency). The solids go into a pyrolysis gasifier and the resulting syngas is purified. Using the well-proven 90-year-old Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, the hydrogen and carbon in the gas is converted to completely sulfur-free renewable diesel products. A refined wax (worth up to three times the price of diesel) can be processed further and/or blended with fuels such as kerosene – a significant additional farm revenue stream. AWS can also recover elemental sulfur and other nutrients from the process for either sale or re-use on farm. Challenges along the wayAs might be imagined, significant hurdles presented themselves during the years of AWS tech development, with conventional thinking and regulations topping the list. “Operating permits are very difficult to obtain when the technology is new,” McCorkle explains. “Grants and incentives are generally available for new concepts and commercially-proven systems, but it’s not easy for ‘in-between’ tech concepts like what we’ve developed, using new enhancements to make the FT process economically viable on a small-scale, to gain financial support.” When it was time to install at Scott Brothers, more permit and funding issues came up. “We were not allowed to even move the AWS equipment to the farm until the ‘lead permit’ was secured (South Coast Air Quality Management District, SCAQMD),” McCorkle remembers. “Although AWS had obtained one of these permits at another farm site previously, and paid to expedite the Scott Brothers’ permit applications, it took a long time to obtain. We finally received help from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.” The CEC grant required that the project obtain an exemption from CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), and the only way to do that was to build a temporary structure to shelter the AWS equipment. “This is a large fabric-covered structure that we anchored to the ground with standard shipping containers,” explains McCorkle. “The county stipulated that we needed to supply engineering drawings of the entire facility, including the stresses that the shipping containers would encounter. We had to hire an engineer to design modifications to address the wind and other transverse forces the shipping containers would encounter on the farm.” Taking the long view, AWS made sure its system exceeds the most stringent California regulations. “Scott Brothers convinced us that if we could meet and exceed these requirements, we could then meet and exceed any standards across the globe,” says McCorkle. “An example of this would be the Zero Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) mandate and salt loading restrictions in the watershed. We are proving that we can meet these tough requirements through technology alone, as we have done at Scott Brothers, by removing all of the salts and TDS from the water and producing a potable water discharge. Once that has been recognized, we may be able to prove that we can add certain amounts of TDS into the soil in the form of biochar.” McCorkle adds the AWS biochar combines the two key elements of healthy soil amendments, carbon and micronutrients, into one product, with the same content as raw manure but without the potential surface and groundwater issues. This is why he decided to concentrate the gasification efforts on producing a nutrient-rich biochar product, and capitalize on that before other manure gasifiers could get permitted in California to produce it. Currently, the pilot system at Scott Brothers converts about 12 percent of the dairy’s gasified manure to diesel fuel per day, and about 88 percent into biochar and other products. To be a commercially viable, 24-7 operation and complete the ‘Circle of Energy,’ the liquid fuels production module will have to be upsized. “We are now applying for a Phase II CEC grant to accomplish this,” says McCorkle. “We will then go to market with our new gasifier design, starting with biochar systems on farms to help farmers meet their permit requirements while selling and/or stockpiling biochar as a feedstock for future FT biofuel production at central plants. Biochar is an excellent feedstock for FT biofuel production that does not have a shelf life.”   In reflecting on the entire process, McCorkle has nothing but praise for Scott Brothers, which he describes as “an outstanding partner in overcoming the numerous challenges.” And while it was onerous, he believes the process of helping regulators understand the advantages of the AWS concept was very worthwhile because of the new standards and regulations that are being created. “Although this approach can be very time consuming and costly,” he notes, “we believe that working directly with regulators and stakeholders is ultimately the best way to have the AWS solution become standard for creating future profit centres from manure.” McCorkle strongly believes that creating viable profit centers from manure will have the highest impact towards making livestock operations more sustainable. “Once the AWS ‘Circle of Energy’ concept is working well on individual livestock farms, the circle will grow to include other farms and organic biomass feedstocks in the community, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of the entire community,” he says. “This will raise the resulting carbon credits and funding opportunities for sustainable solutions that will improve the agricultural economy as well as the environment. Many such community opportunities exist world-wide, and the AWS solution can be scaled and tailored to meet the needs of any community.” Biochar and water from food waste digestersAWS is also working to accept materials for its systems from anaerobic digesters that process food and other organic waste. In late July, AWS signed an agreement to perform a series of controlled greenhouse vegetable trials using biochar and fertigation water from an AWS system processing ‘food waste anaerobic digestate,’ in addition to biochar and fertigation water processed from manure. McCorkle says this is very exciting because anaerobic digestate is usually considered a waste that is increasingly difficult to permit for land application in its raw form, but value-added biochar and fertigation water can be readily permitted.      
April 4, 2016, Chilton, WI – DVO, Inc.’s Phosphorus Recovery system received honors at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Nutrient Recycling Challenge Summit in Washington, DC. The goal of the challenge was to identify technologies that not only help farmers manage nutrients from livestock manure and create valuable products, but also protect the environment. “We are honored to be recognized for our innovative phosphorus recovery technology,” said DVO president, Steve Dvorak. “The practical ability to recover and recycle nutrients will make modern agriculture more sustainable and provide real benefits for our communities and the environment.” The Nutrient Recycling Challenge was launched by the EPA in late 2015 in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pork and dairy producers, and environmental and scientific experts. The EPA initially received 75 concept papers and recognized the top 10 submissions with awards. DVO received a spot in the top 10 with an Honorable Mention Award for its work on advanced phosphorus recovery. DVO’s Phosphorus Recovery (PR) system is a fully commercialized and economical treatment process that removes up to 95 percent of the total phosphorus from large-scale farm and commercial waste streams and up to 55 percent of total nitrogen content from digested wastes. By treating these wastes first in DVO’s patented Two-Stage Mixed Plug Flow anaerobic digester and then employing the add-on PR system, valuable nutrients are conserved and natural resources are protected by reducing the likelihood of runoff and water pollution. Doug VanOrnum, vice president of technology and strategy at DVO, accepted the award at a ceremony at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on March 30. More information on the challenge can be found at nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org.
  In 2013, the Canadian Biogas Association issued a study identifying the opportunities in biogas production so provinces could develop policies to support this budding industry. It also developed farm-to-fuel guides to help farmers decide whether biogas production makes sense for them. The study determined biogas could make up three percent of Canada’s natural gas supply, Canadian Biogas Association executive director Jennifer Green told the 2016 Agricultural and Municipal Biogas Forum, held recently in Abbotsford, B.C. She calls biogas an “overwhelming” opportunity for agriculture, saying agriculture could produce about two-thirds of the biogas, or about 1.65 million cubic meters per year. While there are a growing number of anaerobic digesters on Ontario farms, there are only three in B.C., with one more under construction. The province’s first anaerobic digester began operation in rural Abbotsford about five years ago and is now producing gas from cull potatoes and other organic waste. Not long after, as part of its demonstration farm, Bakerview Dairy in Abbotsford put in a demonstration digester that utilizes manure from its tiny 50-cow herd to produce electricity for the farm. In early 2015, Seabreeze Farms in Delta fired up B.C.’s second large-scale digester, using manure from its 350 milking cowherd and cooking fats and oils. While one purpose of an anaerobic digester is to manage and create value from farm waste, it produces its own waste (digestate). The digestate includes most of the nutrients from the inputs, as they are not absorbed by the gas production process. This is a concern for both regulators and farmers as high livestock concentrations are already leading to nutrient overloading on many fields. Bringing in off-farm inputs only exacerbates the issue, leading to potentially serious environmental consequences. As a result, the digester “is only one piece of the equation,” says Chris Bush, who built the Sumas Prairie anaerobic digester, located outside of Abbotsford. That’s why researchers and industry are working on ways to manage the nutrients, particularly phosphate, to maximize their value while minimizing any detrimental environmental impacts. There are a number of ways to do that, says Henno Haaring of Dorset Green Machines, based in the Netherlands. The first step is to separate the liquid and solid digestate so each can be applied separately or, in the case of the liquid, re-circulated. Cheapest is a press screen, which provides good dry matter content in the solids but has poor nutrient recovery. Another low cost option, a drum filter, provides good phosphate recovery but is not very efficient, has highly variable results and requires a lot of filter maintenance. A decanter has high phosphate recovery and leaves little dry matter in the liquid but is expensive to buy and costly to operate. A belt press is very good at separating solids and liquids, removing enough dry matter to make the liquid treatable by filtration or reverse osmosis. However, it requires additives and a knowledgeable operator. Haaring says Dorset’s solution is to dry the digestate, which not only reduces the volume but creates a good final product. “We generate a product with 85 to 95 percent dry matter that is 10 to 25 percent of its original weight,” he says. Its nutrient content depends on whether the drying is done with or without first separating the digestate. “The dry product can be used as fertilizer, bedding or even fuel,” Haaring says. One of Dorset’s installations dries 100,000 tonnes of hog manure, producing 25,000 tonnes of solids. The solids go into a “phosphate factory” which further compresses them into 6,500 tonnes of pellets with a nutrient content of 2.1 percent N, 6.5 percent P and 1.5 percent K. The pellets are then exported from the intensive hog production area in the Netherlands to the north of France. Trident Processes of Abbotsford has integrated some of these technologies with ideas of their own to develop a complete nutrient recovery system, which it is now being tested at Seabreeze. The system first separates the fiber and conditions it for reuse as bedding in the barns, leaving four percent solids in the remaining wastewater. A second press removes most of the remaining water, creating a “sludge” with double the solids content and 85 to 90 percent of the phosphate, 54 percent of the nitrogen and 17 percent of the potassium, says Bush, now Trident’s operating manager. It then uses polymers to concentrate the sludge, complete with its nutrients, into a “cake” which contains 25 percent solids. The cake can be pelletized and sold off-farm as a nutrient-rich fertilizer. The remaining wastewater, which Langley environmental farm plan advisor and consultant Dave Melnychuk calls a “digestate tea,” contains very few nutrients. The Seabreeze dairy slurry generally contains 0.25 percent nitrogen, 0.05 percent phosphorus and 0.21 percent potassium. Once through the Trident process, the tea contains 0.16 percent N, less than 0.01 percent P and 0.12 percent K. In contrast, the bedding contains 0.40 percent N, 0.13 percent P and 0.11 percent K while the cake contains 0.68 percent N, 0.22 percent P and 0.12 percent K. Melnychuk believes the tea offers tremendous potential as it still includes some nitrogen but almost no phosphorus. Noting many farmers “have too much phosphorus but not enough nitrogen in their fields,” Melnychuk has started a three-year trial to find out how corn and grass respond to the tea. Even a low application rate produced a wet yield of 29 tonnes/hectare, higher than the 25 to 28 tonne average in B.C. fields. “We are very pleased with the initial results,” Melnychuk says. He notes there was less phosphorus in both the corn and grass fields at the end of the season than at the beginning. “If we can validate that for the next two years, it provides an option for phosphate rich soils.” University of B.C. civil engineering professor Victor Lo is trying a different approach: treating the manure before it even gets to the digester. He has spent the past few years developing a microwave-enhanced advanced oxidation system to reduce solids in the manure by 85 percent and extract the phosphorus and crystallize it as struvite, which is 95 percent pure phosphorus. Lo says nutrients can be captured more easily when the solids are broken down and microwave technology is the only way to do that. The system “reduces the amount of disposable solids and number of nutrients which need to be applied to the land.” Lo says the resulting largely liquid product “reduces the processing time in the AD.” He is now building demonstration units and conducting feasibility studies at both the UBC Dairy Education & Research Centre in Agassiz, B.C., and the James Wastewater Treatment Program in Abbotsford Although the system may not be a money-maker because of its high capital and operating costs, Lo believes it could solve some of the environmental issues farmers and waste treatment plants face.      
October 21, 2015, Boston, MA – At its third annual conference, the American Biogas Council (ABC) recognized 12 organizations for their leadership and innovation, which are helping to strengthen and grow the U.S. biogas industry. The award recipients were honored during the 2015 Biogas Industry Awards Reception held during BioCycle REFOR15 Conference and Expo. This year, the ABC recognized biogas industry leadership and innovation with three awards: Innovation of the Year, Project of the Year and the new Outside-the-Box award. "The Biogas Industry Awards not only recognize excellent projects and innovations," explained Bernie Sheff, chairman of the ABC board and vice president of engineering for ES Engineering Services. "They recognize great industry achievements and creative solutions to commonly faced issues that can be held out as an example to others." This year, the ABC expected to present six awards, one Innovation of the Year Award, one Outside the Box Award, and four Projects of the Year across four categories: agricultural, municipal, institutional and merchant. In the end, 12 were awarded. "The quality of innovation in the biogas industry is at a fever pitch today," remarked Patrick Serfass, executive director of the ABC. "We're excited to honor our winners for their steadfast commitment to overcoming obstacles and discovering new ways to help us deploy more biogas systems in the U.S." There are more than 2,100 operational biogas systems in the U.S. today with the potential for more than 11,000 new systems to be built. Winners Biogas Projects of the Year: The Furrer and Martin Families' project – Green Cow Power in Goshen, IN – was named agricultural Biogas Project of the Year for their complex project which uses manure from five dairies, plus large volumes of food waste, to generate more than 3MW of electricity, heat, digested liquids for fertilizer, and digested solids for cow bedding. quasar energy groups' project – Wooster Renewable Energy in Wooster, OH – was awarded the municipal Biogas Project of the Year for their project which digests biosolids, FOG and food waste at a volume that's five times the throughput of the city's original system to generate electricity in excess of the plant's needs, as well as heat and digestate used as fertilizer. The City of Gresham's Cogen Expansion and FOG Receiving Station project in Gresham, OR was awarded the municipal Biogas Project of the Year for their operation of a net zero energy, 10 MGD water resource recovery facility which uses biosolids, FOG from restaurants and food waste to generate 800 kW of electricity and heat, and digestate used as a fertilizer at local farms. In addition to the notable physical plant, its creative use of a wide variety of financing tools such as RECs, transferrable tax credits, and public funds from both the city and state sets this project apart from its peers. Minnesota Municipal Power Agency's project –Hometown BioEnergy in Le Sueur, MN – was awarded the municipal Biogas Project of the Year for their operation of a large Minnesota Municipal Power Agency digester which uses local manure, sweet corn silage, and FOG to generate 8 MW of electricity, heat, digested liquids for farm fertilizer and digested solids for cow bedding, burnable fuel or soil enhancement. The size of the system compared to other municipal biogas projects and its gas storage system which provides the option to only generate power during peak needs, sets it apart from its peers. Univeristy of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Foundation's Rosendale Biodigester project in Pickett, WI was awarded the institutional Biogas Project of the Year for their collaborative project between the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Rosendale Dairy, which uses manure from Wisconsin's largest dairy to generate electricity, heat, liquid digestate for fertilizer and digested solids that are pelletized for use as a soil amendment. Apart from the physical plant, this first of its kind learning facility serves as a teaching center for the development of technicians, scientists, engineers, and animal husbandry specialists sets it apart from its peers. CleanWorld's project – UC Davis Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) in Davis, CA – was awarded the institutional Biogas Project of the Year for their innovative system which uses manure and 50 tons per day of food waste to generate digested liquids for fertilizer and biogas which is blended with landfill gas to generate electricity from several microturbines. What sets this project apart from its peers is the combination of wide variety of feedstocks, the blending of landfill gas with digester gas and the use of microturbines to power the university's West Village Project. Forest County Potawatomi Community's Renewable Generation Biogas Facility in Milwaukee, WI was awarded the merchant Biogas Project of the Year for their exemplary system that brings together many players, using food waste from local casino, grocers, the dairy, meat and beverage industries plus byproducts of pharmaceutical and methanol production to generate 2MW of electricity, heat, and digested solids for fertilizer. The successful operation of this enormously complex collection of partnered organizations and feedstocks – plus its performance, which has doubled expectations – sets this project apart from its peers. South San Francisco Scavenger Company's project –Blue Line Biogenic CNG Facility in San Francisco, CA – was awarded the merchant Biogas Project of the Year for their successful operation of a dry biogas system which uses commercial and residential yard and food waste to generate 120,000 diesel gallon equivalents of renewable natural gas each year for waste hauling vehicles and organic-certified compost. This exceptional physical plant plus the integration of dry digestion and vehicle fueling, where each collection vehicle will collect enough organic material on its route to fuel the vehicle for the day, sets it apart from its peers. Biogas Innovations of the Year: Magic Dirt, LLC's product, MagicDirt Premium Potting Soil, was named product Biogas Innovation of the Year because it represents both a product innovation for creating a sustainable, saleable product from digester-derived fiber and a marketing innovation for successfully selling a consumer product through major retailers such as Walmart. The success of Magic Dirt in the marketplace demonstrates that digester co-products can gain access to national retail markets, contribute to the greenhouse emission reduction goals of major retail chains, and attain consumer acceptance-all while contributing to the bottom line of the biogas project. quasar energy group's technology Phosphorus Recovery System was awarded the technical Biogas Innovation of the Year for its innovative and exemplary portable phosphorus removal system. This technical innovation, which has been proven at scale, will help farms with and without digesters plus water resource recovery facilities to remove 99 percent of phosphorus from organic material, both preventing it from entering our waterways and recovering it for use where the nutrients are needed most. The mobile and versatile qualities of the system plus the nearly complete recovery of phosphorus and proven performance make this technology stand out as an exemplary technical innovation. DVO, Inc.'s technology Phosphorus Recovery was awarded technical Biogas Innovation of the Year for its exemplary and innovative phosphorus and nitrogen removal system. This technical innovation has been proven to perform at scale and ultra-low cost removing 95 percent of phosphorus and 50 percent of nitrogen from digested material both preventing the nutrients from entering our waterways and recovering them for use where they are needed most. The nearly complete phosphorus recovery, impressive nitrogen recovery, proven commercial-scale performance and all at an ultra-low cost make this technology stand out as an exemplary technical innovation. Outside-the-Box Award: Newlight Technologies was awarded the Outside-the-Box Award for development and commercialization of its AirCarbon Greenhouse to Plastic technology. The AirCarbon process combines air and biogas with Newlight's biocatalyst to create a carbon-negative polymer at ambient operating conditions-no high pressures, high temperatures, or multiple major unit operations-generating significant savings in energy, water, capital costs, and carbon emissions. Turning biogas into cell phone cases and similar products is an innovation that should soon be "in the box" for the biogas industry.
October 19, 2015, Waunakee, WI – The operator of a troubled manure digester near Waunakee has tentatively agreed to sell the facility to a California firm. Clear Horizons, the Milwaukee-based company that has operated the facility since 2010, announced recently that it had signed a letter of intent to sell the digester to Clean Fuel Partners of San Francisco. READ MORE
September 1, 2015, Wicomico County, MD – Wicomico County will be the site of Maryland’s biggest attempt yet to find alternative uses for the Eastern Shore’s overabundance of poultry litter, state agricultural officials say. Renewable Oil International, an Alabama company, has received a $1.2 million state grant to test technology it says can reduce the volume of manure by 50 to 63 percent. The grant comes from the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Animal Waste Technology Fund. READ MORE
  Aug. 27, 2015, Herefordshire, UK – Cargill’s European poultry business has signed a 20-year agreement to convert poultry manure to energy with technology from BHSL.
April 18, 2017, Ames, IA – Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture would be closed under a House-Senate agriculture bill unveiled April 12. The bill would cut the state's general fund budget for state agriculture and natural resources programs by 5.6 percent compared to the current fiscal year.
March 29, 2017, Des Moines, IA – Ben Puck, owner of Puck Custom Enterprises (PCE) in Manning, Iowa, was recently named Iowa’s 2017 Small Business Person of the Year.
February 3, 2017 – Kuhn North America, Inc. is looking for customers and dealers to submit high-quality photos of their Kuhn branded equipment to be featured in an upcoming calendar. Photos need to be in .JPEG format (minimum of 2,000 pixels wide, 300 dpi) and should be submitted to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .'; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text11790 ); document.write( '' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it All entries are due to Kuhn North America, Inc. no later than June 30, 2017. Up to 15 entries will be selected as winners at the discretion of the Kuhn North America marketing department. Winning entries will be announced the week of July 3, 2017. Winning contestants will each receive a calendar featuring their winning photo and a $75 gifts and gear promotional gift certificate. The odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible entries. If you have questions, please contact the Kuhn North America at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or send a message to the Kuhn North America Facebook or Twitter pages. To view the full contest rules, please visit the following website: http://www.kuhnnorthamerica.com/us/news-kuhn-calendar-photo-contest.html.
December 8, 2016, Smithfield, VA – Smithfield Foods, Inc. recently became the first major protein company to announce a far-reaching greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal throughout its entire supply chain, from feed grain to packaged bacon. By 2025, Smithfield will reduce its absolute GHG emissions by 25 percent. When achieved, this goal will reduce emissions by more than four million metric tons, equivalent to removing 900,000 cars from the road. Smithfield collaborated with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in setting its goal. "We are proud to lead the industry and set another first by launching an endeavor that is both environmentally beneficial and economically feasible," said Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods. "While we will have unique challenges meeting this goal as the world's largest pork processor and hog producer, our size and scale also means that, if successful, we can make a significant, positive impact. Our mission is to produce 'Good food. Responsibly.' This announcement is yet another acknowledgement of our commitment to doing just that." Smithfield collaborated with the University of Minnesota's NorthStar Institute for Sustainable Enterprise to estimate its GHG footprint, creating a robust model that can assist other protein companies in analyzing their own footprints. EDF served as an adviser in the development of the commitment. "There is much work ahead for Smithfield to reach its goal," said Fred Krupp, EDF president. "Success will require collaboration with farmers and others in the agricultural industry. We encourage companies to follow Smithfield's leadership to make ambitious commitments to improve air and water quality. It's important that the private sector play a role in protecting our natural resources." This commitment impacts operations across Smithfield's supply chain, on company-owned farms, at processing facilities and throughout its transportation network. In its grain supply chain, Smithfield is collaborating with EDF to improve fertilizer efficiency and soil health, which will reduce nitrous oxide emissions from grain farms. On its hog farms, Smithfield will incorporate renewable energy and reuse projects that utilize technology such as anaerobic digesters and lagoon covers. Smithfield aims to install these technologies on at least 30 percent of company-owned farms. Smithfield will also continue to adopt measures that improve animal efficiency, resulting in improved feed conversion and productivity while reducing carbon emissions. At its processing facilities, Smithfield will continue to improve energy efficiency through refrigeration, boiler and other equipment upgrades. Smithfield is optimizing its logistics network to better manage its animal and product transportation while reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions. The absolute greenhouse gas emissions reduction will be measured from a 2010 baseline. Efforts toward this goal already underway will be included in the final results.
August 10, 2016 - Successful businesses depend on good employees. And finding good employees can be a tough task for farmers looking to maintain or expand their businesses. That was the message that Bernie Erven, Ohio State University professor emeritus, shared during the Growing Michigan Agriculture Conference Jan. 24 at the Lansing Center. “Employee relations is one key to the growth of Michigan agriculture,” says Dale Rozeboom, Michigan State University Extension specialist and one of the conference organizers. “We invited Dr. Erven because we know that farmers often struggle when trying to hire and keep the best possible talent.” Erven kicked off the conference by challenging attendees to think of a business that was thriving while its people were failing. He wasn’t surprised when none of the 75 people in attendance could come up with an example. “No one single thing is more important than the people you hire,” he says, adding that far too many farmers try to keep everything in the family, even when it’s not in their best interest. “In agriculture, the hardest thing many people have to do is decide which family members to invite into the business.” He suggested that business leaders develop a job description before making assumptions about family members’ fit in the organization. “Before you even think about whom to hire, do a job analysis. Outline the job qualifications and put together a job description,” he says. “Too often the rule is ‘Anybody who needs a job in this family gets hired.’ But businesses that succeed hire only if they have a need in the business and the person fits.” Next, he says, it’s important to build a pool of applicants. That means taking a long, hard look at how you spread the word about open positions. “Talk to existing employees and find out why they like working for you,” he said. “If you want to hire seniors, for example, find out what they want and focus on that in your communication.” As a final step, Erven says that interviewing is key to hiring success, even when hiring family members. “Who else gets a job without an interview?” he asked the crowd. “An interview with family members can uncover a lot of information, both good and bad.” And with outside candidates, he said that being a good interviewer is critical. “There is no worse place to lose outstanding applicants than in a poor interview,” he pointed out. “It’s up to you to come across as a person they want to work for.” Erven was one of six professionals chosen by Michigan State University Extension to discuss important concepts necessary to keep Michigan agriculture on a growth curve. You can see his suggestions for being a great interviewer, as well as other presentations by experts from across the country, on the Michigan State University Extension website, www.msue.msu.edu. Click on “Agriculture” and look for “Growing Michigan Agriculture Proceedings” in the Resource channel in the lower right section of the site. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu. To contact an expert in your area, visit http://expert.msue.msu.edu, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).
June 2, 2016, London, OH – A little over two months remain before this year’s edition of the North American Manure Expo (NAME), being held August 3 and 4, 2016, near London, Ohio. Registration is free and available online here. Two action-packed days have been planned. On August 3, attendees can choose from one of three tours, including dairy, beef plus composting and nutrient management. Pit agitation and solid/liquid manure separation demonstrations will also be held at a local dairy in the afternoon. The Manure Expo grounds open at 3 p.m. with educational sessions involving a presentation from Livestock Water Recycling, Puck Pump School plus information on small farm manure management and cover crops. On August 4, the grounds will open at 7:30 a.m. and feature a full day of educational sessions covering everything from anaerobic digestion to water quality. Manure application demonstrations, including solid and liquid manure spreaders, compost turners, subsurface drainage plus spreader calibration, are also planned. The event is being held at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, home of Ohio’s Farm Science Review, located near London, Ohio. For more information on the 2016 North American Manure Expo, including a detailed agenda of tours and educational sessions plus directions to the Molly Caren Agricultural Center, please click here. The North American Manure Expo provides a perfect opportunity for custom applicators and livestock producers to advance their knowledge of manure-nutrient utilization while showcasing the latest technology in manure handling, treatment and application. The 2015 expo, held in Chambersburg, Penn., was a winner of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence. The 2016 edition of the show promises to be just as exciting and educational. The 2016 North American Manure Expo is being hosted by The Ohio State University and the Midwest Professional Nutrient Applicators Association. The event is owned by the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin. Annex Business Media, publisher of Manure Manager magazine, serves as the show manager.
May 16, 2016, Gibsonburg, OH – A Gibsonburg business was honored for its work in reducing applied nutrients – such as manure – to farm sites. The Andersons Farm Center recently received the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification after significantly reducing harmful nutrient run-off as part of its efforts to better protect water quality in Lake Erie. READ MORE
April 25, 2016, Kenosha, WI – Centrisys Corporation, a manufacturer of dewatering and thickening centrifuges, recently announced that it has been named a winner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Nutrient Recycling Challenge. The competition challenges companies worldwide to develop technological advancements that recycle nutrients from livestock manure more effectively. Livestock producers manage over one billion tons of animal manure annually in the United States. Recognizing the need to accelerate products that address more effective management of this issue, the EPA created the Nutrient Recycling Challenge. Out of 75 submissions from companies worldwide, 34 were chosen to continue on to the design phase, and the Centrisys team was ranked as one of the top four winners. Centrisys’ winning paper was titled Removal of Dissolved Nitrogen and Phosphorus from Livestock Manure by Air Stripping, and was developed in collaboration with CNP-Technology Water and Biosolids Corp. To maximize nutrient removal from the liquid fraction of manure, the team proposed treating anaerobically digested swine manure with AirPrex struvite precipitators before being dewatered with a decanter centrifuge. AirPrex is a CNP technology that utilizes CO2 stripping to convert the dissolved fraction of phosphorus and nitrogen into solid fertilizer struvite. “Solid separation is the primary means of managing nutrients in livestock manure and Centrisys has been setting a standard for effective solid separation,” said Hiroko Yoshida, senior research and development engineer and project leader. “We’re proud to apply more than a decade of engineering knowledge in solids separation to manure management – helping livestock producers by developing reliable nutrient management solutions.” Since 1987, Centrisys has been a manufacturer of decanter centrifuges, dewatering systems and process technologies for dewatering and water/solids separation in municipal, agriculture, and industrial applications. Centrisys introduced the industry’s first manure waste specific application for decanter centrifuges in the mid-2000s after extensive application and testing in dairy operations throughout the U.S.
February 25, 2016, Lanark, IL – The new showroom for E & S Equipment – a joint venture between Eastland Fabrication of Lanark and Stutsman Inc. from Hills, Ia – is up and running. An open house is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 22. Representatives from their product manufactures, as well as Stutsman’s, will be on hand at the open house. READ MORE
February 3, 2016, Chambersburg, PA – A roughly four-hour forum on the Wilson College campus Saturday on so-called “factory farming,” drew 75 people or more. The basic problem voiced was how to feed a growing world population with diminishing resources without turning much of the planet into a poisonous, stinking mess. READ MORE
February 2, 2016, Columbus, OH — Scientists are actively pursuing answers to how nutrients are moving and leaving farmers’ fields in the western Lake Erie basin, and the results could be a little surprising. Mark Williams, a Columbus-based soil drainage researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gave Ohio Farmers Union members an update on research regarding tile drainage and surface runoff. READ MORE
July 31, 2015, Aledo, IL – In 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 500 farmers died on the job, while another 70,000 suffered disabling injuries. The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) was in Aledo July 30 to attempt to keep area farmers from becoming one of those statistics. Brad Kruse of NECAS emphasized manure pit safety during his about two-hour presentation. As part of the presentation, he brought the NECAS Confined Space Manure Pit Simulator. READ MORE
April 27, 2017, Lethbridge, Alta – The beef industry is facing opportunity and a dilemma. Consumption of animal protein is expected to increase more than 60 percent over the next 40 years according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Ruminants are a key to meeting this demand because they can convert forage to protein-rich food and make use of land not suitable for arable crops. The dilemma is ruminants are also a significant environmental problem, producing large amounts of methane from that forage consumption. There are no silver bullets to deal with methane and ammonia emissions but there is real promise for significant improvement on the horizon say Dr. Karen Beauchemin and Dr. Karen Koenig, two researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Here are three examples. New product Perhaps the most dramatic methane control option is a new product in the pipeline designed specifically to manage methane production in ruminants. "Methane is lost energy and lost opportunity," says Beauchemin. "The inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (NOP) is a new compound synthetized by a company out of Switzerland specifically to control methane. A feed additive, it interferes with normal digestion process reducing the ability of rumen organisms to synthesize methane, shifting methane energy to a more usable form for the animal." Research by the Lethbridge team showed adding NOP to a standard diet reduced methane production 40 percent during backgrounding and finishing of cattle. Trials have been done in commercial feedlots and it is moving into the registration channels in North America. "Obviously there are hoops to go through in registration and questions such as pricing and mode of use in the cow calf sector that would affect industry uptake, but it is a very promising emission control alternative that could be available within three to five years," says Beauchemin. New techniques Diet manipulation is also promising. For example, increasing the nutritional digestibility of forages through early harvesting increases animal efficiency and reduces methane emissions, says Beauchemin. "We're also overfeeding protein in many cases which increases ammonia emissions," says Koenig. "For example, distillers grains, a by-product of the ethanol industry, are commonly fed in feedlots. But the nutrients are concentrated and when added to diets as an energy supplement, it often results in overfeeding protein, which increases ammonia emissions." One new area of research that may mitigate that, she says, is using plant extracts such as tannins that bind the nitrogen in the animal's gut and retain it in the manure more effectively. That retains the value as fertilizer. "There are supplements on the market with these products in them already, but we are evaluating them in terms of ammonia and methane management." New thinking A new focus in research trials today is thinking "whole farm." A new research nutrient utilization trial in the Fraser Valley of B.C. is looking at crop production in terms of selection of crops, number of cuts, fertilization and feed quality. "We are looking at what is needed to meet the needs of the dairy cow," says Koenig. "It's a whole farm system that does not oversupply nutrients to the animal." Road ahead Basically, most things that improve efficiency in animal production reduce methane and ammonia production, says Beauchemin and Koenig. They emphasize that while forage does produce methane, forage is a complex system that must be considered as whole ecosystem with many positive benefits. The biggest opportunity for improvement in methane emissions is in the cow calf and backgrounding sector because they are highly forage-ration based. But the low hanging fruit and early research in emission management is focused on the feedlot and dairy sector because diets can be controlled more easily. Related scientific paper here "Effects of sustained reduction of enteric methane emissions with dietary... ."
April 20, 2017, Ithaca, NY – For many parts of New York State, not for the first time, March 2017 provided both deep snow and saturated wet conditions that presented significant manure related challenges, especially to daily spread and short term storage operations. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation recently issued a warning about risky manure spreading.While the conditions are still fresh, every operation should take stock of manure storage options and look for ways to avoid application in these situations. Over the last few weeks, I have heard more comments than usual from farm and non-farm folks alike about seeing neighbors spreading manure on barely trafficable fields or even from the edge of the road.If you find your operation in this situation, or if you strained to find fields that can hold up the tractor and spreader without getting stuck, runoff risk is likely to be high and application should be avoided whether you are a regulated farm or not. Spreading just before rain or snowmelt can be just as risky, even if a field can be driven on without getting stuck.For stackable manure in the short term, temporary pile locations can be identified with the help of SWCD, NRCS, or private sector planners until better storage options can be installed.New York State and federal cost share options are available annually; meet with your local SWCD and/or NRCS staff to start the process. The Dairy Acceleration Program can help with cost of engineering on farms under 700 cows.Position your operation for the future: evaluate manure storage needs and implement solutions.
July 12, 2016, Columbus, OH – The North American Manure Expo is about to land in Ohio. The big event, covering the serious business of using farm animal manure to help grow crops, while doing it safely and greenly, is August 3 and 4 at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio, about 25 miles west of Columbus.
May 25, 2016, State College, PA – An online tool has been developed to help save the lives of people who enter manure storage facilities on the farm. Dennis Murphy, Nationwide Insurance professor of agriculture, safety and health, says pits are designed for the safety of animals but there are complicated computations for designing adequate ventilation for people. That’s where the tool comes in for builders, designers and engineer. READ MORE
  Back in mid-November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plus 20 business and association partners made an exciting announcement. They launched a challenge – the Nutrient Recycling Challenge – a competition aimed at developing affordable technologies that can recycle nutrients from livestock manure. The main idea behind the challenge is to encourage participants to develop affordable and useable technologies that can extract nutrients from manure and generate products that can benefit the environment and be sold or used by farmers. “Scientists and engineers are already building technologies that can recover nutrients but further development is needed to make them more effective and affordable,” stated Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, when the challenge was launched. “The Nutrient Recycling Challenge will harness the power of competition to find solutions that are a win/win for farmers, the environment, and the economy.” The competition has been organized into four stages. Phase I (January 15, 2016) calls for concept papers outlining the idea behind the technology. Phase II (Spring 2016) will involve designing the technology. Phase III (Summer 2016) involves the development of prototypes and proof of concept. Final submissions are due by Fall 2016 with an awards ceremony expected January 2017. Phase IV (Spring 2017) will involve placing the final participants’ technologies on pilot farm operations. Already, the first phase of the multi-year competition has been completed. During Phase I, as much as $20,000 in cash prizes will be split between up to four winning concepts. As well, according to the challenge website (nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org), promising applicants will also be invited to an exclusive two-day partnering and investor summit in Washington, DC, being held in March 2016. They can also gain entry into further phases of the challenge, which will include potential awards such as further funding, incubation support, connection to investors, media and publicity plus the opportunity to have the technology demonstrated on an operational farm. Since the project was launched, discussion about the challenge has been quiet with the event website’s discussion area posting links to articles announcing the competition. As of the end of December 2016, only seven people were following the challenge on its website. Even many of the event partners have been mute about the competition, except for Smithfield Foods, which released a press release promoting its involvement in the challenge. “Our goal in partnering in this competition is to encourage innovation and identify additional opportunities for continuous improvement in management of livestock manure,” said Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of environmental compliance and support operations of Smithfield’s hog production division. I look forward to the announcement of Phase I winners in March and will be following the competition through all of its phases. Be sure to check back with Manure Manager for updates.      
June 12, 2015, Chambersburg, PA – Agriculture, like most industries, is in constant flux. Consumer trends shift, new discoveries are made, technologies advance, and regulations change. The manure handling and application industry is no different. The North American Manure Expo prides itself on helping livestock producers and custom manure applicators stay in the know. This year’s event – being held July 14 and 15 in Chambersburg, Penn. – provides attendees with more than 30 different education sessions to choose from to help them stay informed. On July 15, the knowledge sharing begins at 8 a.m. with the first round of seminars on the expo grounds. Subdivided into five different areas of interest, they include: Commercial Hauler Seminar Application of Food Processing Residuals – Linda Housel, Jeff Olsen Economic Considerations of Manure Transport with Frac Tanks – Eric Dreshbach Road, Field & Shop Safety – Eric Dreshbach Manure & Corn Seminar Shallow Disk Injection Versus Broadcasting of Manure: A Field Study Comparison – Emily Duncan Manure Injection in Corn: NY Experiences – Karl Czymmek Drag-lining Manure into Emerged Corn: What’s Working in Ohio – Glen Arnold Poultry Focus Seminar Biosecurity & Avian Influenza Update – Gregory Martin Poultry Litter & Biosolid Injection – Amy Shober Poultry Litter Auction: The Story of Cotner Manure Auction – Dean James Management Basics Seminar 4Rs in the Real World: making Sure Your Manure’s All Right – Brooke & Eric Rosenbaum Manure Composting – Jean Bohnotal Mortality Composting – Jean Bohnotal Dairy Focus Seminar Factors Effecting Manure P Excretion on PA Dairy Farms – Dan Ludwig, Virginia Ishler How Practical is Dairy Manure Injection? – Rory Maguire Utilizing Fall Manure to Double Crop Winter & Summer Annual Forages – Rachel Milliron These same five sessions will also be repeated later in the afternoon, starting at 5 p.m. Other education seminars being held over the course of the day include: Responsible Ag (9:30 a.m.) Helping Fertilizer Retailers be Safe, Secure & Compliant – Wade Foster Gas Safety Seminar (9:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.) Hydrogen Sulfide Production in Manure Storages at PA Dairy Farms that use Gypsum Bedding – Mike Hile Demonstration of Penn State’s gas trailer – Dave Hill Agriculture Road Safety (9:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.) A review of road safety with Officers Mitchell Saflia & Greg Fisher PA One Stop Mapping (10 a.m. & Noon) Presented by Rich Day & Bob Neiderer Regulation Changes (Noon) Clean Water Act and the “Waters of the United States” Rule: Potential Effects on Nutrient Application – Wade Foster Maryland Manure Application Regulation Update – Dwight Dotterer Ohio’s New Manure Application Regulations for the Western Lake Erie Watershed – Glen Arnold Legal Liability Issues Related to Manure – Matt Royer Poultry Tour Seminar (12:30 p.m.) Two Hundred Years of Manure Management at Lesher’s Poultry – Leslie Bowman Recycling Mineral Nutrients from Egg Layer Manure: The Gettysburg Energy & Nutrient Recovery Facility – Pat Topper Equine Seminar (2 p.m.) Equine Manure Composting & Storage Options – Ann Swinker Not So Good to Best Management Practices: Manure Handling Improvements that Really Work for Horse Farms – Jamie Cohen Equine Parasites in Manure – Donna Foulk Attendees will also have lots of opportunities to learn in the field. On July 15, attendees can watch solid and liquid manure application plus compost turner demonstrations, take part in a spreader calibration exercise plus learn how to respond during an unexpected manure spill. And don’t forget the full day of dairy/agitation and equine/beef small farm tours on July 14 plus the trade show – a mini manure city constructed in a field of wheat stubble. The North American Manure Expo is the perfect opportunity for attendees to talk to manufacturers, dealers and other experts in the manure industry and view side-by-side demonstrations of equipment. Nowhere else can the audience view and compare technologies while kicking the tires in such a large, industry-specific forum. To learn more about the 2015 North American Manure Expo and register for events, visit manureexpo.org.  
March 13, 2015 – Depending on the needs of an operation, manure spreaders can be an integral part of a farm’s daily chore routine or a machine of heavy seasonal use. In either case, preventative regular maintenance can help avoid costly repairs and frustrating downtime. Daily-used manure spreaders can show increased wear on specific components; this happens gradually and often goes unnoticed. Gradual wear can occur on apron chains, sprockets, bearings and rooster combs. Establishing a regular maintenance schedule helps detect increased wear and gives a producer an opportunity to adjust or repair these components before failure occurs. READ MORE
 A dribble bar could be used to apply manure in many situations, such as into a wheat crop at the same time that commercial nitrogen is applied, or before planting in canola, corn or soybeans. Photo contributed. Spreading liquid manure has always been challenging for farmers. Spraying it on fields is smelly and not terribly consistent. This spreading method can also cause crop damage and excessive run-off. Now however, much improved spreading for liquid manure is now available to Ontario farmers, thanks to Alma-based Husky Farm Equipment. In cooperation with Germany-based Vogelsang, the company has introduced the dribble bar, along with its many benefits. The dribble bar spreader originates in Europe, where there is widespread restriction of manure application outside the growing season. This spurred the development of new technology such as dribble bars. A dribble bar is just as it sounds – a bar-like system that dribbles manure at low pressure onto the ground below the plant leaves, allowing a greater amount to be applied with more accuracy, less runoff and less crop injury and less odour. “As application accuracy improves and environmental issues continue, combined with opportunities with GIS/GPS, there is more interest in dribble bar and other in-crop application technology,” notes Christine Brown, who has recently studied the dribble bar in her position as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) field crops program lead. Vogelsang dribble bar technology for dragline units was demonstrated at the North American Manure Expo in 2012. In 2013, Walter and Sharon Grose (owners of Husky Farm Equipment) decided to investigate it further, traveling to Germany to meet with Vogelsang and tour its factory. “This tour assured the fact that the tanker-mounted units could work on Canadian tankers,” Walter Grose says. “These units are widely used in Europe because of legislation and Ontario is cultivating an interest to pre-empt any legislation.” Benefits aboundBrown explains that the dribble bar (as well as other European equipment such as Veenhuis shallow injection technology) offers a tool bar with more rows, which allows for application at ground level in seven to 10-inch spacings with no splash. “At 10-inch row spacing, there are about 60 dribble hoses on the toolbar which means that at 4,000 gallons per acre, there would be about 70 to 75 gallons/row/acre,” she explains. “Less volume per row means less risk of runoff, and when applied in forage or pasture – assuming soil conditions are fit – there would be faster infiltration.” The dribble bar also offers greater nutrient application accuracy. “The distribution system is fine-tuned, so that the amount from each row is more consistent than current splash plate technology,” Brown says. “This makes the manure application more like fertilizer (although there will still be some variation in manure nutrient concentration), but the nutrients are placed closer to where a growing crop can utilize them.” Although injection into the soil would be even better, Brown notes that it take more time and more horsepower. She also states that if manure is applied to forages or to other growing crops, the system that works best is one that gets many acres covered in a day with less wheel track (similar to sprayer technology). She says a dribble bar could be used to apply manure in many situations, such as into a wheat crop at the same time that commercial nitrogen is applied, or before planting in canola, corn or soybeans. Brown says a dribble bar would also be effective in applying manure to ground with planted canola, corn (up to about the six leaf stage) or soybeans. She believes it would also be very suitable in edible beans before or just after planting, forage crops after harvest (with potentially up to three application opportunities) and in pastures (especially where rotational grazing has been established). Lastly, Brown believes dribble bars would also work well after cereal harvest, where manure could be slurry-seeded with cover crops (or the cover crops could be established after application). “Where large fields in corn/soy rotation have erosion concerns, grassed tram lines could be established for less compaction damage and more frequent in-crop application opportunities,” she adds. “For custom applicators, technology that allows manure application to occur during the growing season will allow more days for application in a year and will help to reduce the stress associated with full manure storage when the weather doesn’t cooperate, such as late harvest or wet conditions or early winter conditions.” Having the manure dribbled at low pressure into the soil a little at a time (and not sprayed in the air) obviously means substantially lower odor levels, but this has not been studied in Ontario at this point. However, Grose notes Vogelsang has done extensive research on how the dribble bar reduces odor, as well as how it boosts crop yield with its improved placement of nutrients and application timing. The way the dribble bar prevents manure from touching the plant canopy also means reduced crop burn and ammonia loss. “We have done ammonia loss studies in forages with dosimeter tubes that consistently show the ammonia loss is highest where the application rate is high (where manure puddles) and takes longer to infiltrate [which is something that tend not to happen with a dribble bar],” Brown explains. “There still could be ammonia burn [with a dribble bar] if the manure applied is a concentrated liquid poultry or hog manure applied at a high rate. But generally this type of manure is not recommended for forage crops that would be the most susceptible to ammonia burn.” She adds that salt/ammonia injury could be an issue with slurry-seeded cover crops, especially when planted into dry soils. Attachment and useThe Vogelsang dribble bar can be mounted on any manure spreader, notes Grose, although small modifications may be needed. The amount of modification needed for spreaders over 10 years old would not be cost-effective. In terms of speed, Grose confirms the Vogelsang dribble bar is faster than an injector unit. “Most injectors are 12 feet wide to fit road width and must travel many times up and down the field,” he explains. “The dribble bar is much wider and can cover more ground.” The time it takes to fold out the boom might be 20 seconds out and 30 seconds in, and Grose adds the dribble bar does not allow any manure to dribble on the road as it tips up for road travel. During application, the Vogelsang dribble bar uses a rotary distributor to pulse distribute the manure across the width of the unit. “When a triangle field is encountered, one side can be shut off or retracted to transport position to eliminate double coverage,” Grose says. “When an area in the field is encountered that has enough nitrogen, the booms can be turned on or off for precision coverage. Each nozzle gets the same amount of coverage whether one side is turned on or off.” Husky Farm Equipment Limited and Farm and Food Care will be using a tanker with a 50-foot Vogelsang dribble all over Ontario. “It will have demo days and farm show exposure,” Grose says. “The highlight of the year will be the demonstration at the North American Manure Expo in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in July 2015.” In terms of studies, Brown is hopeful she may be able to initiate some, but that depends on time and funding opportunities.” See the dribble bar applicator in action here: http://youtu.be/ZSXdf0LQY1o        
August 15, 2014, Kimberly, ID – Applying 50 tons of manure per acre for one year is a heavy application, repeating that rate for eight years is a lot of manure — and a lot of nitrogen. Amber Moore, University of Idaho extension soils specialist, has calculated that some plots in a long-term manure application study have already received 2,746 pounds of nitrogen in the last two years alone. She expected to see nutrient leaching from the top foot of soil as plants were unable to utilize that much nitrogen. So far, that hasn’t been an issue, at least, not in potatoes. READ MORE
August 5, 2014, Redwood Falls, MN – A southwest Minnesota cooperative has found good manufacturing success through building products that meet their own stringent criteria. Artex Manufacturing builds manure spreaders, silage trailers, truck-mounted boxes and rendering trailers that are designed for strength, durability and ease of use. The facility recently held tours during the Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association summer tour. READ MORE
    July 23, 2014, Maria Stein, OH – Livestock producers and others interested in learning more about manure application technology are encouraged to attend the Western Ohio Manure Application Technology Field Day being held on July 31 at Homan Inc at 69115 Olding Road, Maria Stein in Mercer County. A morning educational program from 9:30am to 11:30am will be held at the Homan Inc barn. Topics will include Nutrient Management-National, State, and Local Perspectives: Senate Bill 150-On-farm impacts: Utilizing Manure Nutrients to Improve Nitrogen Utilization and Management: Cover Crop Selection to Conserve Nitrogen for the Following Year: and BioSecurity for Manure Applicators. READ MORE
The need to be able to estimate the value of manure as crop nutrient source is the result of increased use of manure to replace crop nutrients that have long been supplied by commercial inorganic fertilizers. “As with inorganic fertilizers, the goal is to meet the crop nutrient needs while avoiding the expense and potential environmental concerns of over-application of nutrients,” said Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor and extension engineer for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. To answer this need, the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture has released the Manure Valuator app to help producers calculate the dollar and nutritive value of manure applied to a specific field and then share the results via e-mail. The app is now available for use on both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. The app was developed by Saraswat, in collaboration with Karl VanDevender, a professor and extension engineer, both in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. The app is based on a simple premise that the monetary value of manure is linked to the market value of the inorganic nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) fertilizer that the manure is replacing. This means the value of manure depends largely on the crop N, P, K fertilizer recommendation, the manure N,P,K content, and the amount applied. The app allows the user to enter the cost of his or her local commercial fertilizer source on either a dollar per ton or a dollar per pound basis. If dollar per ton values are entered, the app converts them to dollars per pound of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The user then enters the crop’s N, K, and P needs, ideally based on  recent soil test recommendations available though the county Cooperative Extension Office. The user then selects one of 18 different choices of dry and liquid manure. If desired, the default N, P, K values can be modified to better reflect the manure to be applied. After the desired manure application rate is entered, the app calculates the N, P, K fertilizer replacement value for the specific field crop based on N, P, K recommendation, manure source, and manure application rate. At this time, any input value can be modified to evaluate the impact on the resulting calculated values. Users of the Manure Valuator app have quick access to several useful features: a bulk cost calculator to determine cost per pound of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from inorganic fertilizers a database consisting of nutritive value of 18 different sources of manure that allows users to enter custom values for dry and wet manures a dictionary page that has been provided to explain each step used in the app Funding for the app was provided by the Arkansas Corn and Grain Sorghum Board and the Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board. The Manure Valuator app is available for free at iTunes (see https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/manure-valuator/id757582921?ls=1&mt=8) and Google Play Store (see https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=uaex.edu.manurecalculator&hl=en). Users can also install the app on their mobile device by scanning the code found in the news archives at www.uaex.edu. For more details about crop production, contact your county extension office or visit www.uaex.edu.

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