Smithfield Foods and Anuvia Plant Nutrients recently announce a new partnership to create sustainable fertilizer from solids collected from the manure treatment systems at Smithfield’s hog farms.
I was recently reminded of the famous poem by Martin Niemoller, a German Lutheran pastor; you probably know the one – First they came … It’s on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and pops up in the press when injustice or persecution is the topic at hand.
What if odor from swine confinement barns could be reduced by 65 percent or more?It's possible with trees and technology, according to Iowa Select Farms, which is incorporating evergreens and innovative electrostatic fencing at its new 4,800-head Hale Finisher Farm near Williams.The odor associated with pork production is often transported on dust particles from hog barns. Planting trees and shrubs planted around hog facilities helps reduce odor, improve site aesthetics and helps control snow deposition. Iowa State University research shows that trees can help reduce swine barn odors by 10 to 15 percent. | READ MORE
Fine Swine knows how to do things large. In 2017, the Ohio-based swine farm with more than 11 locations and 30,000 sows, built a 6,200-head sow gestation barn, incorporating a dual permanent mass agitation system.
Smithfield Foods lost the first battle in a war against animal agriculture recently, a defeat that has left many producers, and the businesses that support them, nervous.
Double-checking a field before making a manure application could prevent a mistake from occurring."Make sure you're staying out of the areas you need to," said David Ginder, environmental protection specialist for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. "The key question should be if there are areas were livestock manure can run off this field." | READ MORE
A new, state-of-the-art system for managing dairy manure with an all-mechanical separation process in operation at Son-Bow Farms near Spring Valley is sure to be of interest when dairy producers from throughout the region hit the road mid-July, for the Wisconsin Dairy Tours.Son-Bow Farms, which milks 1,300 cows and operates 2,400 acres, is the first farm in Wisconsin to install AQUA Innovations' NuWay nutrient concentration system. It was officially commissioned in June. Farm owner Jay Richardson said he expects the proprietary system, when fully operational, to save the farm time, money and hassle. | READ MORE
In the summer 2017, the family-owned and operated Dukestead Acres dairy farm, located outside of Abbotsford, Wisc., wanted to add onto their milk barn.
Sharon, Wisconsin – AQUA Innovations is proud to announce Son-Bow Farms as the first farm in Wisconsin to install its fully commercialized NuWay nutrient concentration system. The company has had systems running in other states, such as Oregon, for nearly eight years.The AQUA Innovations NuWay nutrient concentration system eases the pain of managing dairy manure with an all mechanical separation process. The proprietary system is capable of reclaiming over 50 per cent of manure as distilled water without the use of harmful chemicals.Another by-product of the process is organic super nutrient fertilizer, which contains sought-after nutrients like nitrogen and potassium with virtually no phosphorus or pathogens. This diminishes a farmer's dependence on chemicals by allowing them to care for crops using the super nutrient water by-product during the growing season."The NuWay system is environmentally compliant, customizable to any dairy operation and provides 24/7 remote monitoring and support from AQUA Innovations," said Chris Lenzendorf, president of AQUA Innovations.This technology reduces the need to haul and store manure to later be spread on fields as fertilizer, which not only minimizes the smell of manure, but also the cost of transporting it.Jay and Kristi Richardson of Son-Bow Farms, located outside of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, are the first dairy operators in the state to embrace this innovative technology from AQUA Innovations."We had been looking for a system to decrease our manure hauling costs for many years," said Jay Richardson, Son-Bow Farms' owner. "The financial impact is huge for us, no doubt about it. The synergies that this system allow are not only financial but environmental and neighbor friendly as well."Former Governor Tommy Thompson and Green Bay Packers legend Frank Winters also back the technology as partners at AQUA Innovations."Jay and Kristi should be applauded for being pioneers and thinking about not only how to better their farm, but also the environment," said Frank Winters, AQUA Innovations shareholder. "I truly believe AQUA Innovations' technology and process will change the way dairy operators handle cow manure, not only here in the great state of Wisconsin, but across the globe."
Farmers and manure managers in North America have known for years that phosphorus is a huge concern, but solutions for handling this nutrient have not come easy. Hauling manure away to locations where fields aren’t already saturated isn’t always practical or cost-effective.
February 15, 2018, Tillamook, OR – An Oregon dairy has been fined $16,800 for a massive manure spill that shut down Tillamook Bay last spring. About 190,000 gallons of liquid manure were released from an above-ground storage tank at the dairy operation on April 12, 2017, the Oregon Department of Agriculture said. The manure pooled in a field near the dairy barns, flowed across three other landowners’ properties, and ended up in a slough that connects to a drainage system that pumps water into the Tillamook River, which then enters the bay. READ MORE
February 1, 2018, Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $9.64 million in grant funding to 17 alternative manure management projects across the state. These projects, part of the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on California dairy farms and livestock operations by using manure management practices that are alternatives to dairy digesters (i.e. non-digester projects). The winning projects can be viewed here. When livestock manure decomposes in wet conditions, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form can help significantly reduce methane emissions. These reductions contribute to the state’s overall short-lived climate pollutant strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030. “California dairy farmers are leading the way in proactively addressing greenhouse gas emissions” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am excited to see both the diversity of farms and the variety of non-digester manure management practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals.” Financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester practices comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state’s climate goals. CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. AMMP grant recipients will provide an estimated $2.7 million in matching funds for the development of their projects. Information about the 2017 Alternative Manure Management Program projects is available at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP/ .
Research is underway in southern Alberta to assess how housing feedlot cattle in roller compacted concrete (RCC) floor pens compares to traditional clay floor pens.Traditionally, feedlot pen floors in Alberta are constructed of compacted clay. Annual feedlot pen maintenance requires clay to repair damaged pen floors, which can significantly add to input costs and the environmental footprint of feedlots. Constructing feedlot pen floors with RCC is one possible sustainable solution for stabilizing the pen floors, subsequently improving efficiencies of feedlot operations and animal performance, among other potential benefits.This research project aims to assess the social, environmental, technological and economic performance - positive, negative or neutral - associated with housing feedlot cattle in RCC floor pens versus traditional clay floor pens. Examples of a few objectives being examined are animal welfare, water runoff, emissions, manure volume, durability and strength of pen floor, as well as average daily gain.This project is anticipated to be completed by February 2019. For more information, contact Ike Edeogu, technology development engineer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, at 780-415-2359.
A week spent in a feedyard pen is helping researchers gain a better understanding of greenhouse gas emissions. Their goal is to improve the national inventory of greenhouse gases and determine potential mitigation measures.
Not the first thing you think of when you see elephant dung, but this material turns out to be an excellent source of cellulose for paper manufacturing, scientists report. And in regions with plenty of farm animals, upcycling manure into paper products could be a cheap and environmentally sound method to use manure.
You might wonder what dry weather and feedlot runoff would have in common. On the one hand, a spell of dry weather can cause expanding areas of moderate drought and dry soils. But dry conditions also make for an excellent time to maintain your feedlot runoff control system.
The cattle housing period, on most farms, has been prolonged due to inclement weather. Poor grass growth, coupled with saturated land, has prevented the turnout of cattle to grass. As a result, many farmers will have built up a large supply of farmyard manure (FYM).However, FYM is only as valuable as the chemical fertiliser that can be saved by using it. According to Teagasc, if farmers are importing organic fertiliser without making adjustments in chemical fertiliser applications, then the organic fertiliser will not be saving any money.Volatile chemical fertiliser prices in recent years have resulted in equally volatile organic fertiliser value. This can complicate decisions of whether or not to import organic fertilisers onto the farm. | READ MORE
It is often the case that great partnerships are started through the involvement of a mutual friend. That was certainly the situation with the El Paso Zoo and New Green Organics, both located in Vinton, Texas. The pair has formed a relationship that has given birth to something called Zoo Doo.
Urban encroachment on traditional farmland is becoming a big problem. Farmers contend they should be allowed to conduct business as usual because they were first in the neighborhood while nearby homeowners complain that farm odors are wafting into their family barbecues and must stop.
Durand, Wisconsin — A group of Pepin County citizens is using the time provided by a moratorium on large-scale livestock facilities to offer solutions to a potential threat to groundwater that could occur when the moratorium expires if such a facility were to expand or move into the county.The Neighborhood Ladies, an ad hoc group of Pepin County citizens concerned about the county's groundwater, is working to inform citizens and local officials on the levels of nitrates in groundwater and the health problems associated with nitrate contamination. According to a news release from the group, their goal is, through research, to stop the practices that are eroding the county's water quality and to promote alternative farming methods that protect groundwater. | READ MORE
Iowa State University researchers have completed testing of a new concept for disposing of animal carcasses following a disease outbreak.
October 17, 2017, Sun Prairie, WI – Dane County officials and local farmers recently announced a new initiative that will help farmers reduce manure runoff into the lakes, improve farm productivity and decrease climate change emissions. As part of its 2018 budget, the Dane County Executive is allocating $200,000 to study the potential of creating a large-scale community facility where farmers could bring manure and have it composted. READ MORE
August 30, 2017, Waunakee, WI - After four years of experimenting with composting on his dairy farm near Waunakee, Jeff Endres believes "there's a lot of upside to composting that we don't know about yet."He told a large tour of attendees from the North American Manure Expo in nearby Arlington that the fertilizer value and bedding potential of compost are already apparent on his family's Endres Berryridge Farm, operated with brothers Randy and Steve, but he is still learning about the energizing effect compost has on the soil.One hint of that aspect of compost use is that his alfalfa acres that have been fertilized with compost for two years have out-yielded all other alfalfa fields. "It's enough to notice," he said. "That told me this isn't hurting me. There's something to it."He also noted that one problem they had before utilizing compost in their system is that steep alfalfa fields could not be fertilized with liquid manure and as such started to decline in fertility. Once they had the environmentally friendly, stable compost, they could feed those fields with it. They also found that applying compost to a growing crop didn't harm the plants."There are not a lot of barriers to composting," he said. "No farmer is going to go into it as crazy as we did, but I got sick of digging holes in the ground to store manure. For us, this was a way to utilize the nutrients we already have in our farm system."I don't think farmers should ever have to give nutrients away," he said.Two busloads of visitors from Manure Expo joined another busload of guests from the Madison Clean Lakes Alliance to visit the Endres farm on Aug. 22 and they asked some pointed questions of the compost experimenter.He told them that he could probably build and use a liquid manure system more cheaply than operating his compost system. Just over a year ago the Endres family incorporated a large compost barn into a new set of buildings where they raise their dairy herd replacements.Two identically sized barns (65 by 220 feet) house the farm's heifer calves from four months to 13 months of age. Both barns feature tunnel ventilation and additional cooling fans which aid fly control; the air moving at 5 miles per hour keeps flies away. "The compost process, with the heat that is generated, is also very friendly to fly control," he adds. READ MORE
State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Ricky Smith, president of the Limestone Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council announced that a sign up for the North Georgia Poultry Energy Efficiency and Nutrient Management Planning Initiative for fiscal year 2019 is under way. The deadline for eligible poultry producers to apply is August 17, 2018.This north Georgia-specific project is one of 88 projects across the country that was selected for funding two years ago through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The 18-county project area covers Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Towns, Union, Walker and Whitfield counties.Poultry producers looking to improve on-farm energy efficiency as well as water and soil quality through nutrient management, should visit their local USDA Service Center and submit their Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200) before the August 17, 2018 deadline."We appreciate the RC&D Council's leadership in a successful implementation last year and are excited for them to join us for another year." said Rudolph. "By working together now, we will be better prepared to put the future Farm Bill's resources to work in these north Georgia communities sooner rather than later."The RC&d Council offsite link image covers most of northwest Georgia, but are leading a team of seven public and private partners during this three-year project that spans the northern rim of Georgia."Limestone Valley RC&D is proud to partner with the NRCS on Conservation projects. Year one of the RCPP poultry initiative was an overwhelming success," said Smith. We had numerous applications and we were able to fund several conservation minded farmers. We look forward to 2019 and the continuation of this good work."Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, the RCPP is a partner driven, locally-led approach to conservation. It offers new opportunities for USDA's NRCS to harness innovation, welcome new partners to the conservation mission, and demonstrates the value and efficacy of voluntary, private lands conservation.More information on NRCS conservation programs can be found at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.govunder the Programs tab.
Auburn University's College of Agriculture, in conjunction with other schools around the nation, will conduct a study to ensure that poultry litter does not pollute surface waters with excessive amounts of phosphorous.The three-year study is being performed to combat the 1.8 million tons of waste produced annually in Alabama from its $15 billion poultry industry.Phosphorous-rich poultry litter is a big concern in Alabama and other states where the litter is used to fertilize fields. If the nutrient leaks into waterways, it can cause toxic algae blooms which can lead to deficient oxygen levels and destruction of life in the water.The study will look at the Sand Mountain region of North Alabama and a row-crop field in Wisconsin, two large agro-ecosystems that are currently having issues with managing their phosphorous levels. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Dover, Delaware – Approximately $1 million in conservation funding assistance is now available to help beginning farmers in Kent County address poultry mortality management on their farming operation. The funding – for implementing water quality best management practices including composters and mortality freezers to address routine mortality – comes through a program led by the Kent Conservation District in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Department of Agriculture (DDA), and the USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).Proper poultry mortality management is critical to prevent leaching of nutrients, spreading of disease, and attracting vermin. The beginning farmer poultry mortality management project administrated by the USDA's NRCS will improve water quality, biosecurity, and also will help Delaware meet the Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nutrients in the county's waterways.Financial assistance in Kent County is made available recognizing that beginning farmers face significant startup costs, and that there is a backlog of applicants awaiting approval through financial assistance programs for composters, mortality freezers, poultry manure structures, and heavy-use area protection pads.To qualify, beginning farmers must meet the eligibility requirements of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Interested beginning farmers are encouraged to visit the Kent Conservation District office at 800 Bay Road, Suite 2, Dover, DE 19901 to sign up for the program. All applications are batched monthly and expedited through the contract process in order to implement water quality BMPs in a timely manner.Funding is through a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project led by the Kent Conservation District, DNREC's Division of Watershed Stewardship and Watershed Assessment and Management Section, the DDA's Nutrient Management Program, and the Delmarva Poultry Industry. In addition, Farm Freezers LLC and Greener Solutions LLC are offering a $100 rebate per freezer unit purchased through the program, along with a collection fee rebate of $100 per flock for one year after installation.For more information, please contact Timothy Riley, district coordinator, Kent Conservation District at 302-741-2600, ext. 3, or visit www.kentcd.org
Broiler litter is a mixture of poultry manure, bedding, feathers, and spilled feed. The actual nutrient content of a manure sample varies. Nutrient concentration of broiler litter is variable due to age of bird, composition of the diet, how the manure is handled, and the number of batches of birds raised since the last house clean out.The average nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) content of broiler litter is 62, 59, and 40 lbs/ton, respectively. Having your manure analyzed for its actual plant nutrient content is recommended. Armed with this and appropriate soil test information you can decide on the best plan of action to use poultry litter for specific cropping needs. | READ MORE
February 21, 2018, Tucker, GA – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association recognized six poultry farm winners and three finalists who received the annual Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award at the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2018 International Production & Processing Expo. The award is given annually in acknowledgment of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production. “It is a privilege to recognize these nine family farms for the excellent job they do in being good stewards of their land,” said Tom Hensley, president, Fieldale Farms, Baldwin, Ga., and newly elected U.S. Poultry chairman. “Our industry could not continue to operate and flourish without taking proper care of our natural resources. These six winners and three finalists are to be commended for their efforts.” Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques and participation in education or outreach programs. In selecting the national winners and finalists, applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies and state poultry associations. The winners were chosen from six geographical regions from throughout the United States. They are as follows: Northeast Region winner – Baker’s Acres, Millsboro, Del. Terry Baker Jr., nominated by Mountaire Farms North Central Region winner – Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Saranac, Mich. Greg Herbruck, nominated by Eggland’s Best, LLC South Central Region winner – 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo. Bill and Lana Dicus, nominated by Cargill Southeast Region winner – Morrison Poultry, Wingo, Ky. Tim and Deena Morrison, nominated by the Kentucky Poultry Federation and Tyson Foods Southwest Region winner – Woape Farm, West, Tex. Ken and Dana Smotherman, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation and Cargill West Region winner – Pickin’ N Pluckin’, Ridgefield, Wash. Rod and Glenda Hergert, nominated by Foster Farms There were also three finalists recognized at the award presentation. They are as follows: West Region finalist – Hiday Poultry Farms LLC, Brownsville, Ore. Randy Hiday, nominated by Foster Farms Northeast Region finalist – Foltz Farm K, Mathias, W.Va. Kevin and Lora Foltz and sons, nominated by Cargill South Central finalist – Featherhill Farm, Elkins, Ark. Bud and Darla O’Neal, nominated by Cargill
February 20, 2018, Clarion, IA – Plans are being unveiled for a $25 million fertilizer plant to be built in north-central Iowa. Bryce Davis, Wright County’s economic development director, says the plant will be located in a rural area about ten miles from Clarion and it’ll take in up to 150,000 tons of chicken waste per year from several area poultry plants. READ MORE
With water quality in the Chesapeake Bay suffering from excess nutrients and fish populations in rivers such as the Susquehanna experiencing gender skewing and other reproductive abnormalities, understanding how to minimize runoff of both nutrients and endocrine-disrupting compounds from farm fields after manure applications is a critical objective for agriculture.
On June 6, 2018, the Center for Limnology reported that a toxic algae bloom had begun to spread across Lake Mendota. It quickly led to the closure of beaches around Madison's largest lake.It also coincided with the launch of a new, four-year effort by Dane County, called Suck the Muck, designed to literally suck a century's-worth of phosphorus from 33-miles of streams that feed the county's lakes.Phosphorus, a nutrient found in the manure applied to agricultural fields, makes its way to Wisconsin waters (and waterways elsewhere) in runoff following rain storms. When the weather is warm, it can lead to the foul-smelling water and toxic algae blooms that plague lakes like Mendota, which is situated in an agricultural landscape.This runoff may be getting worse, according to a recent study from researchers with the Water Sustainability and Climate Project at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With a changing climate, the frequency of high-intensity rain events is on the rise. These storms bring heavy rains over a short period of time and exacerbate phosphorus runoff from manure-covered agricultural fields, more so than scientists expected."Both things are bad for water quality – too much manure is bad and too many intense storms are bad, too," says lead author of the study in Environmental Research Letters, Melissa Motew. "This is a story about how one problem really compounds another problem."Indeed, the Lake Mendota algal bloom came on the heels of the second-wettest May in Madison's recorded history, and its eighth warmest. The National Weather Service reported that May 2018 was the wettest on record for the contiguous United States.But Motew didn't start out asking how heavy storms and manure interact synergistically to affect water quality. It was while studying legacy phosphorus in soils – the accumulation of the nutrient over time – that she and the research team noticed something interesting in the data."We knew that heavy rain transports a lot of phosphorus off of a field and in 2014, (co-author Stephen Carpenter, emeritus professor and director of CFL) found that a relatively small number of rain events each year were delivering the majority of phosphorus to the lakes," she explains. "We happened to notice that it seemed like when we had periods of heavy rainfall we were seeing worse water quality than we expected. It prompted us to set up this study."Climate change is bringing more intense rainfall across the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. The 2014 study from Carpenter and colleagues showed that 74 percent of the phosphorus load in Lake Mendota is now delivered across just 29 days each year, and a 2016 study from scientists at Marylhurst University in Oregon and UW–Madison showed that annual precipitation in the Yahara watershed, which includes Lake Mendota, increased by 2.1 mm each year between 1930 and 2010.This amounts to an increase of about seven inches of additional rain today, Motew explains. That same study also showed that while the frequency of large storm events in the region averaged 9.5 events per decade between 1930 and 1990, between 1991 and 2010, the number of large storm events nearly doubled, reaching 18 events per decade.Using simulation models, Motew and the study team asked how more extreme rain events might interact with manure-and-fertilizer phosphorus supply on croplands to affect runoff at the level of an individual lake and the streams that feed it. That is, what happens when a given amount of rain falls on a field over the course of two hours instead of 24 hours?"The model lets us scale up and make interesting observations from the scale of one field to the entire watershed," she says. "Models let us home in and study the process of how phosphorus moves in great detail."Using two 60-year climate scenarios, one which assumed daily precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speeds, relative humidity and solar radiation similar to current mean annual values in Madison, and another assuming more extreme rain events, Motew's model explored what happens to phosphorus concentrations in Lake Mendota and its tributary streams under low- and high-intensity precipitation conditions.It took into account the real-life practices of farmers in the watershed – including their typical fertilizer and manure applications and tillage practices, the amount of phosphorus already stored in the surface layers of the soil, and the composition of the land around Lake Mendota. More than half of the land surrounding it is agricultural.Motew found that dissolved phosphorus – the kind found in manure, as compared to other fertilizers and that found in soil – combined synergistically with heavy rain events to increase the amount of phosphorus running off into Lake Mendota and its streams."This puts us at even greater risk of worsening water quality," says Christopher Kucharik, study co-author and Motew's former graduate advisor. "This result also has wide-reaching implications because the synergistic relationship will likely be present in many agricultural watersheds around the world, where livestock and surface water co-exist."Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for living organisms like crops. But what it does on land, it also does in water: encourages growth of organisms like plants and algae. When they die, these organisms fall to the bottom of an affected waterway, decomposing and consuming oxygen. This kills wildlife and encourages the growth of cyanobacteria, the organism behind toxic algae blooms. In some parts of the country, it can lead to dead zones, like in the Gulf of Mexico.Farmers in Dane County and elsewhere are already applying less manure and doing so more precisely, Motew says, and she is hopeful these strategies will help to reduce phosphorus runoff from their croplands.Motew, who is now a research fellow at The Nature Conservancy, also thinks farmers should be a part of continuing efforts to improve water quality. "We need to partner more with farmers so we can not only improve our own research by using better data, but so we can work together and build on their ideas, too." she says. "They know the problems up-close-and-personal and can provide insights we haven't considered. We as scientists can help explore where those insights may lead."Motew adds: "Farmers are key to solving the problem, even though they are frequently blamed. We all need to take responsibility for our food system and find ways to support farmers in better manure management."The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant numbers DEB-1038759 and DEB-1440297).
Iowa State University researchers have completed testing of a key component of a new concept for disposing of animal carcasses following a disease outbreak.The research someday may help producers facing animal disease emergencies, such as in 2015 when avian influenza resulted in disposal of millions of chickens and turkeys in Iowa and other states.Jacek Koziel, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, said animal health emergencies occur around the globe each year due, not only to disease, but also to hurricanes, flooding, fire and blizzards. These incidents often require the disposal of numerous animal carcasses, usually accomplished via burial. In research published recently in the scientific journal Waste Management, Koziel and his team analyzed a method that could help livestock, poultry and egg producers deal more efficiently and safely with crises that lead to sudden increases in animal mortality.Koziel and his team focused their research on improving on-farm burial, the method most commonly employed for large-scale carcass disposal due to its low cost and ability to quickly reduce the spread of airborne disease and foul odors. But emergency burial can contaminate nearby water resources with chemical and biological pollutants, and many locations in Iowa are considered unsuitable for such practices by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Buried carcasses also decay slowly, sometimes delaying use of burial sites for crop production and other uses for years, Koziel said.To overcome these problems, the researchers studied a hybrid disposal concept conceived at the National Institute of Animal Science in South Korea following a massive outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2011.The method combines burial with aerobic digestion, a method commonly used for treating sewage in which air is pumped through the content to speed decomposition.The experiment also included burial trenches lined with flexible geomembranes like those used to prevent seepage from landfills and wastewater treatment ponds to protect water quality. The researchers then injected low levels of air into the bottom of the trench to accelerate carcass decomposition and treat the resulting liquid contaminants.The experiment tested the performance of the aerobic component of the hybrid method in a lab using tanks containing whole chicken carcasses, water, and low levels of oxygen that occasionally dropped to zero as would be likely in emergency burial trenches.Results of the study showed low levels of oxygen accelerated carcass decay significantly, reducing carcass mass by 95 percent within 13 weeks, while similar tests without air produced no noticeable decay. The air and water used for the experimental method create an ideal environment for bacteria to break down the carcasses quickly, a "shark tank," as Koziel described it.Chemical contamination in the liquid waste met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria for safe discharge to surface waters. The hybrid method also eliminated two common poultry pathogens, salmonella and staphylococcus. Aeration also reduced odorous gases sometimes associated with mass burial.Koziel said the the encouraging laboratory results could pave the way for follow-up field studies that will include evaluation of alternative geomembrane liners, aeration system designs and components, and performance testing of the complete hybrid disposal system.The research was supported by funding from the Korean Rural Development Administration.
While April showers might bring May flowers, they also contribute to toxic algae blooms, dead zones and declining water quality in U.S. lakes, reservoirs and coastal waters, a new study shows.
I Have Manure. I Want Manure. Those are the two prominent buttons on the front page of the website for Manure Link, a program created by Langley Environmental Partners Society (LEPS) in Langley, BC.
The same products that get rid of internal parasites in livestock may adversely impact the dung beetles that help break down dung, according to South Dakota State University assistant professor Lora Perkins of the Department of Natural Resource Management. That could be bad news for the dung beetles and livestock production.Through a four-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, Perkins and three colleagues will examine how producers' use of products to control parasites, known as parasiticides, has changed and how that has impacted the dung beetle population, soil quality and forage production. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture funding is part of the Bioenergy, Natural Resources and Environment Program, which focuses on the environmental sustainability of rangeland livestock production."Dung beetles are little drivers of ecosystem function," Perkins said. "They turn a big pile of dung into nutrients in the soil that can be taken up again by plants." Previous SDSU research looked at the biodiversity of dung beetles and other insects that populate dung pats. "We're adding onto that research and moving it all the way through to forage production," she explained.Perkins, assistant professor. A. Joshua Leffler and professor Paul J. Johnson, an entomologist, will examine areas at the Ft. Pierre National Grasslands which are used by different livestock producers. Some producers use parasiticides to control parasites; others don't. "By conducting our research at Ft. Pierre, we are able to study areas that are adjacent to one another so the environmental variation among study areas is minimal," Perkins explained.The researchers will measure the dung beetle population and examine how rapidly the dung is incorporated into the soil. They will measure nitrogen in the soil and plant production by weighing the biomass."Nitrogen availability is a key factor limiting forage production, and dung beetles are key organism in making nitrogen available to plants," Leffler explained. One doctoral student will also work on this portion of the project, with fieldwork beginning this summer.However, what makes this project unique is collaboration with assistant sociology professor Jessica Ulrich-Schad. She will survey approximately 2,500 livestock producers to see whether they use parasiticides to control parasites in their livestock or not, whether that has changed over time and why. She will also ask how the parasiticides they are using have changed and what led to those changes. "Jessica is a critical member of our team. She helps us bridge the gap between the technical analyses and landowners and managers" said Perkins."We want to understand the drivers behind the use of these products," said Ulrich-Schad, who began exploring producer decision-making as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University. "We must get a better grasp of how farmers are making these decisions to know how we can encourage them to voluntarily use practices that are good for soil and water quality."Through the survey, she will examine producers' awareness of how these parasiticides can impact dung beetle population, soil quality and forage production, as well as the roles that social networks play in the practices they use and the awareness they have. One doctoral student will work with Ulrich-Schad. Preliminary interviews with seven producers she characterized as innovators revealed that some are noticing a decrease in the dung beetle populations."When dung piles accumulate, fields become 'fouled'—livestock won't eat by the pile," Perkins explained. "We need the beetles to help break down the dung and keep the nutrients flowing and the plants growing." Research at other universities also shows that the presence of dung beetles can reduce the survival of parasite larvae in the dung pats.
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2018 Canada's Outdoor Farm ShowTue Sep 11, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Farm Science Review 2018Tue Sep 18, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
U.S. Poultry & Egg Environmental Management SeminarThu Sep 20, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
World Dairy Expo 2018Tue Oct 02, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM