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
Developing a manure management plan is a good business decision for livestock producers."I urge you to develop a plan because I think it is going to be required some time in the future," said Ted Funk, engineering consultant and retired University of Illinois Extension educator."We need to get accustom to plans because we need to do a better job of telling the story of how we manage our manure to the public," Funk explained during a presentation at the Manure Application Refresher Course, sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers Association, U of I Extension and Illinois Farm Bureau.Funk highlighted five principles to make a good manure management plan. | READ MORE
March 1, 2018, Primghar, IA – An O'Brien County jury has awarded an Alton, Iowa, man nearly $1.2 million for injuries he suffered after being poisoned by toxic gases inside a hog confinement barn. The jury found the farm owner negligent for the Oct. 17, 2014, incident, in which an employee was overcome by hydrogen sulfide and other gases inside a barn in rural Archer, Iowa. The employee was unconscious for 15 to 30 minutes and suffered two strokes resulting in brain damage that has caused him permanent partial short-term memory loss, according to his attorney. READ MORE
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/ .
January 23, 2018, Auburn, NY – A manure overflow in the town of Venice, NY, impacted Salmon Creek earlier this month, but it was not seen in Cayuga Lake, nor did it affect residents' water supplies, according to state and local officials. The NY Department of Environmental Conservation said it was notified of a manure spill on Jan. 10 at Indian Field Road due to a mechanical failure in farm equipment. READ MORE
January 22, 2018, Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Department of Natural Resources are co-hosting a series of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) update meetings throughout Wisconsin in early February. The meetings are specifically designed for WPDES permitted CAFO owners/managers, producers considering expansion, nutrient management plan writers and engineers. Each meeting will provide information on new policies, proper spill response, manure hauling, day-storage calculations and will feature a DNR panel. The forums are slated to be held throughout the state in the coming weeks. Nutrient management plan writers and engineers working on large farms are also invited to attend. The meetings will be held on the follow dates and locations: February 5: Tundra Lodge Conference Center, Green Bay February 5: Crystal Falls Banquet Hall, New London February 6: Silver Valley Banquet Hall, Manitowoc February 6: University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac February 8: County Building, Dodgeville February 9: UW-Extension office, Jefferson February 12: UW-Marshfield Ag Research Station, Marshfield February 13: Clarion Hotel, Eau Claire Wisconsin has more than 250 CAFO farms throughout the state and these meetings offer an opportunity for owners, managers, advisors, and other CAFO stakeholders to receive updated information to help meet permit requirements. The meetings also provide an opportunity for permittees to learn about new report submission processes and learn how to avoid common errors and problems. Each meeting also features a local topic of interest such as prairie buffer strips, automated calf feeding, CAFO community outreach, nitrogen application, human resource management, and environmental efforts. More information on the meetings and individual meeting brochures can be accessed at https://conservation-training.uwex.edu/news/2018-annual-cafo-update-meetings. To pre-register for any of the workshops, call UW-Extension at 920-391-4652.
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
Beef and dairy farmers around the world are looking for ways to reduce methane emissions from their herds to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a global priority. To help meet this goal, researchers from Canada and Australia teamed-up for a comprehensive three-year study to find the best feeding practices that reduce methane emissions while still supporting profitable dairy and beef cattle production."We need to know how feed affects methane production, but we also need to know how it affects other aspects of the farm operation, like daily gains in animals, milk production, and feed efficiency. Farmers want to help the environment, and they need to know what the trade-offs will be, which is why we took a holistic approach looking at the overall impacts," explains Dr. Karen Beauchemin, beef researcher from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).Researchers and farm system modellers from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Agriculture Victoria (Australia), and the University of Melbourne, worked together to examine three feed supplements.Methane inhibitor supplement 3-nitrooxypropanol (3NOP) could reduce costs and increase profits3NOP is a promising commercial feed supplement that can be given to cattle to inhibit the enzyme methyl coenzyme M reductase – an enzyme responsible for creating methane in the animal's rumen (first stomach). After blocking the enzyme, 3NOP quickly breaks down in the animal's rumen to simple compounds that are already present in nature.AAFC's Dr. Beauchemin studied the short- and long-term impacts of feeding 3NOP to beef cattle and shared her findings within the broader study."We now have clear evidence that 3NOP can have a long-term positive effect on reducing methane emissions and improving animal performance. We saw a 30-50% reduction in methane over a long period of time and a 3-5% improvement in feed efficiency," Beauchemin says.Producing milk, gaining weight, and creating methane all take energy that a cow fuels by eating. Cattle eating a diet that contained the 3NOP supplement produced less methane. And, because there was less methane more energy could be used by the animal for growth. When using this supplement, cattle consumed less feed to gain a pound of body weight compared to control animals."What is also great is that the inhibitor worked just as effectively no matter what type of feed the cattle were eating," Beauchemin explains. "We don't know the actual market price of the supplement yet because it is still going through approvals for registration in Canada and the U.S. That will be important for farmers who want to calculate the cost-benefit of using 3NOP to reduce methane emissions from their cows and enhance profits."The Story of NitrateMicroorganisms in the cattle's rumen need nitrogen to be able to efficiently break down food for the animal to absorb. Nitrate is a form of non-protein nitrogen similar to that found in urea, a compound used in cattle diets. When nitrate is fed to cattle, it is converted to ammonia which is then used by the micro-organisms. During this process, nitrogen in the nitrate works like a powerful magnet that is able to hold onto and attract hydrogen. This leaves less hydrogen available in the rumen to attach to carbon to make methane, thus reducing the amount of methane produced.Researchers in Canada found that adding nitrate to the diet of beef cattle reduces methane production by 20 percent in the short-term (up to three weeks), and after 16 weeks it still reduced methane up to 12 percent. In addition, feeding nitrate improved the gain-to-feed ratio. However, administering the correct dosage is extremely important, as too much nitrate can make an animal ill. So it is recommended this method should be used with care and caution.Dr. Richard Eckard, a researcher from the University of Melbourne explained "I understand that in Canada, most forages are not that low in protein. But in the rangelands of northern Australia, the protein content in the forage is extremely low. It is possible that adding nitrate to Australian cattle feed may be able to improve the feeding regime from the current use of urea, but it depends on the price."To supplement or not supplement with wheat, corn, or barley?In the short term, wheat effectively reduced methane production by 35 percent compared with corn or barley grain; but, over time cattle were able to adapt to the change in feed and the methane inhibitory effect disappeared. Essentially, after 10 weeks, methane production was the same for corn, barley, and wheat.The study also showed genetic variation in cows where about 50 percent of the cows that were fed wheat remained low in their methane emissions, even for as long as 16 weeks. However, the other cows adapted to the wheat diet and had methane emissions similar to, or even greater than those fed diets containing either corn or barley. Based on genetics, some cows are more adaptable than others and, in the long-term, it is more difficult to reduce the amount of methane they produce.For dairy cows, Dr. Peter Moate, Dairy Researcher with Agriculture Victoria, was particularly intrigued about the link between milk fat, yield and methane emissions."We found that feeding cows wheat increased milk yield but fat levels decreased. For the farmer, it really depends on what they want to achieve in order to say whether this makes sense economically," explained Moate. "Overall, feeding wheat didn't have the long-term ability to reduce methane emissions, so it really couldn't be recommended as a best practice to achieve this type of goal."Lessons learned"Our better understanding of feeding regimes will make a difference for farmers, but more importantly this research has really helped us understand more precisely the volume of greenhouse gases (GHGs) the industry is producing under different feed regimes. This is powerful information for policy makers," stated Beauchemin.This is particularly true for countries that have implemented or are thinking about putting a price on carbon or a carbon trading scheme in place to reduce GHG emissions."By adopting different farming methods to reduce GHGs, farmers may be able to sell these "carbon credits" for revenue. But the key is to prove that these farming methods work and warrant being officially recognized for carbon credits. This work is one step closer in this process" explains Beauchemin.While this project has wrapped-up, the work has not ended. Researchers in both countries unanimously agree that they will continue to help farmers and the industry find solutions to reducing their carbon footprint.
Ithaca, N.Y. - A major study led by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine researchers reveals for the first time that water troughs on farms are a conduit for the spread of toxic E. coli in cattle, which can then spread the pathogen to people through bacteria in feces. The study was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE."Water troughs appeared in our mathematical model as a place where water can get contaminated and a potential place where we could break the cycle," said Renata Ivanek, associate professor of epidemiology and the paper's senior author. The hypothesis was then tested in the field – with surprising results.People commonly acquire infections from shiga toxin-producing E. coli through cow feces-contaminated beef and salad greens. The main shiga toxin-producing strain, E. coli 0157:H7, causes more than 63,000 illnesses per year and about 20 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Though cows carry and spread E. coli 0157:H7 when they defecate, the bacteria do not make them sick. For the full story, CLICK HERE.
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
The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Animal Waste Technology Fund provides grants to companies demonstrating new technologies on farms and providing alternative strategies for managing animal manure.These technologies can cover a range of innovations – generate energy from animal manure, reduce on-farm waste streams, and repurpose manure by creating marketable fertilizer and other value added products such as compost.In October, MDA awarded Veteran Compost of Harford County, Maryland, and O2Compost of Washington State a grant for $350,300 to develop a compost demonstration project plus a public education and training facility in Anne Arundel County for livestock farmers.The project will demonstrate aerated static pile (ASP) composting technology systems at three levels: small scale (one to four horses or livestock equivalents); medium scale: (five to 20); and large scale: (20 to 40).All three compost systems will be solar powered to demonstrate off-grid sustainability. The medium and large systems will include storage tanks to retain roof water for use in the composting process.The project will also include formal classes and hands-on workshops, public tours for students in kindergarten through college, and alliances with government agencies and non-profit environmental organizations. In addition, a compost cooperative website will be developed to bring together producers and end users of the finished compost products.The compost systems that are displayed will be ones that have been in use since 2001. Peter Moon, owner of O2Compost, says he started out in the composting industry in 1989, designing and permitting large-scale municipal green waste systems. Then, in the mid-1990s, he started applying some of the industrial ideas to compost dairy and chicken manure. After seeing a chicken farm that was composting mortalities that looked tidy but suffered from terrible odor issues, he decided that an aerated bin system was what was needed. It took him a few months to figure out the answer and was convinced that it would work.“I ended up building a prototype in my back yard because I had to prove to myself that it would work, and it worked way better than I had hoped,” he says.Today, O2Compost offers what they call Compost Operator Training Programs. They include four basic components – the design of the system, the aeration equipment package, a detailed training manual written in layman’s terms, and unlimited technical support – for a fixed fee.“It’s this system and three stages of bins that will be on display,” he says. “Although I don’t know of any other company that is offering anything like it, I want to make clear I didn’t invent the concept of aerated composting. Aerated static pile (ASP) composting was first developed in the mid-1970s in Beltsville, Maryland. I just reconfigured it into an aerated bin system.”When the MDA put out the RFP in 2016, Peter immediately thought of his client and good friend, Justen Garrity, owner of Veteran Company based out of Aberdeen, Maryland. The two had known and worked with each other since 2010 when Justen took Peter’s training program. Veteran Compost has a 30-acre farm in Aberdeen and is dedicated to employing veterans and their family members and turning food scraps into high-quality compost. The crown jewel of Veteran Compost is its vermicomposting operation –it’s one of the only commercial worm composting operations in Maryland.Peter approached Justen and suggested that, since the company was located in Maryland, why didn’t they set up a demonstration site with bins and a larger open aerated static pile system and use it to instruct farmers in Maryland and neighboring states. They could come to them, participate in a half-day workshop and then come out to the site and see it, sense it, understand it and learn.Justen could immediately see the value in this partnership, and so did MDA. In 2016, O2Compost and Veteran Compost received the grant.The project would already be operational today, except for one snag. Justen and Peter had challenges finding a good site, because people in the area have been reluctant to have a composting site near them because of potential odor issues. This is despite the fact that Justen’s composting facility in Aberdeen has received zero odor complaints from neighbors in the six years that it’s been operating.“Justen has also had to go through a process with Anne Arundel County to allow for composting on agricultural zone property,” says Peter.It has taken a long time and numerous public hearings, but recently the county commissioners voted unanimously to allow this activity on agricultural zoned land.Ironically, these systems will demonstrate why compost doesn’t have to generate offensive odors for several reasons: the ASP compost piles are not turned; airflow is induced into the piles resulting in aerobic conditions throughout the pile; and a biofilter cover is used for in-situ treatment of off-gases. “It has been my experience that most people think that compost piles need to be turned to get oxygen into it,” says Peter. “What they don’t understand is that when a biologically active pile is turned, the oxygen that is introduced into the compost is then consumed by the microorganisms and depleted within 30 to 45 minutes.”With regard to composting at the training facility, Peter and Justen will induce airflow using a high pressure, high volume electric blower and push air into the pile to replenish the oxygen and displace CO2, heat and water out of the pile.In short, ASP composting results in aerobic composting versus turned windrow composting, which results in anaerobic composting.Drainage isn’t a factor for the smaller systems because the bins are covered with roof structures. However, for municipal scale compost facilities managing storm water, it is always an important consideration.“For the larger systems, municipal-type scale, yes, typically we’ll construct a pond of some kind to handle any surface water run-off.”The liquid collected is then re-introduce back into the compost pile as process water, or in some cases directed to a sanitary sewer for processing at the local wastewater treatment plant. “Our goal with composting is to get the pile temperature throughout the pile to exceed 55oC (equivalent to 131oF) for a minimum of three days. Meeting these time-temperature conditions effectively destroys pathogens, parasites and weed seeds in the finished compost,” says Peter.The objective is to produce a high quality compost product that is safe to use on pastures or in vegetable and landscape gardens.Moisture is always an important factor when composting, and will be one of the things farmers will learn more about at the site. View the embedded image gallery online at: https://www.manuremanager.com/index.php?option=com_k2&Itemid=11&lang=en&layout=latest&view=latest#sigProGalleriada190adfcb “Our goal is to have the moisture content somewhere between 60 and 65 percent, going into the pile,” says Peter. “At that moisture content, it will feel quite wet and you can squeeze a handful and get a drop or two to come out. At this moisture content, it won’t drain free-water that could impact surface and ground water resources.”Peter says with dairy and pig manure, even if it’s run through a separator and the fibrous material is stacked, the base can get saturated because the water just continues to drain out. It can fill the pipes under the stack with water. To avoid this, some type of dry “bulking” material can be added. Peter often encourages dairies to look to horse stables in their area or even equine events.“Horse farms always have that same problem, but it tends to be very carbon rich and very dry, which is exactly what you want to marry-up with wet substrates.”Flexibility is built into the system.“For example, companies may accumulate their food waste in batches and then mix it up to compost out. Or you can build a pile over a 30-day period as you would on a horse farm,” says Peter. “The idea with the MDA grant is to teach people what is possible, and that there is a method that’s simple and effective and an excellent investment on their farm with an ROI of two to five years.”There is also flexibility in the use of pipes. With small, aerated bin systems, the air is delivered by an air-floor and there are no pipes to work around.For larger systems, aeration pipes can be laid directly on the ground with the pile constructed directly on top. Some farms sacrifice the pipe when they bring in their frontend loaders. Others choose a thick-walled HDPE pipe.“That pipe can literally be pulled out from underneath the pile and reused.”One of the key features of the system is low maintenance. Once the compost pile has been built, it’s pretty much hands off. The blower and timer to do all of the work.“You monitor the composting process, but you don’t need the big windrow turner and someone out there driving it,” says Peter. “You’re not paying for fuel, maintenance or repairs and you are able to greatly reduce air emissions. ASP Composting requires about 25 percent of the space when compared to turned windrow composting, and it can be operated at less than 50 percent of the cost.”Both Peter and Justen feel that once the training facility is in operation, which looks to be late summer of 2017, farmers will be excited to discover that aerated static pile composting yields too many benefits to ignore. It speeds up the process, reduces odors and basically eliminates neighbor issues. It also destroys parasites, pathogens and weed seeds in the mix, has a small footprint, reduces the cost of operation, can handle any organic waste material and is simple to operate. “The question I get a lot is, ‘If this is all so easy and it’s everything you say it is, why isn’t everybody already doing it?’” asks Peter. “For some reason everybody is just locked onto the idea you need to turn the pile, but you don’t. We have over 1,200 systems in operation in 21 countries. It is a simple technology that is easy to learn – and it works.”
Livestock producers in California received a crash course in composting earlier this summer.Nine consecutive days of temperatures above 100 degrees in the Central Valley area of the state resulted in a large jump in cattle deaths. According to an agricultural official in Fresno County, between 4,000 and 6,000 head of livestock died in the month of June due to the heat. Adding to the problem was the temporary shutdown, due to a mechanical problem, of the local rendering plant. As a result, a state of emergency was called in at least three counties and the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) released an emergency mortality disposal advisory. Under the plan, producers were provided with three options to dispose of mortalities: directly transport the carcasses to an alternate rendering facility or permitted landfill; temporarily store mortalities on farm in compost piles until they could be permanently disposed of; or, as a last resort, bury the carcasses in an emergency landfill on farm, which still required a mountain load of paperwork and possibly thousands of dollars in fees.According to the five-page advisory, producers were encouraged to put down a waterproof liner and use dairy manure solids as a composting agent, placing each adult carcass on a three foot bed of manure and then covering with a second layer of manure three feet deep. By doing this, farmers could buy themselves an extra six months of time before the carcasses needed to be disposed of permanently off farm.“Staff will be looking for evidence of bones and carcasses that have been left more than six months,” the advisory warned, adding the number and identity of the animals composted plus documentation they had been properly disposed of would also be required.While this isn’t the first time California has dealt with large-scale livestock deaths due to heat, it will be interesting to see how the agriculture and landfill industry deals with the added pressure to the carcass disposal system. With the threat of animal disease outbreaks, such as bird flu or foot and mouth disease, always in the background, this negative situation provides an opportunity to test-drive the official response. Heaven forbid it would be required on a state- or nation-wide scale but it’s always prudent to be prepared.I look forward to any lessons learned which come after the debrief.Speaking of composting, producers and custom manure applicators can learn more about the management practice and see relevant equipment in action during the North American Manure Expo, taking place in late August at the Arlington Agricultural Research Station near Arlington, Wisc. I consider Expo one of my favorite industry events of the year. What isn’t there to enjoy? Farmers, family, food, friends, farm equipment, information, demonstrations, community: the important things in life.This Manure-a-palooza takes a year or more of planning to bring to fruition, including hours of committee meetings and conference calls. As a frequent participant in these morning gatherings, I can attest to the time and effort by industry volunteers that goes into preparing for this event. Be sure to check out the event website – manureexpo.org – and consider taking part.
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
February 5, 2018, Georgetown, DE — A Maryland company has been trying to get approval to build a new facility that would process chicken litter and convert it into energy and other agricultural byproducts. But public opposition has already derailed plans to build the facility in Crisfield, Maryland, where the City Council denied permission at a Jan. 10 meeting. READ MORE
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.
Long term trials conducted in Saskatchewan have shown the application of livestock manure fertilizer typically improves the health of the soil.The University of Saskatchewan has been conducting long term livestock manure application trials, in some cases on plots that have been studied for over 20 years, looking at the implications of using livestock manure at various rates with different application methods throughout Saskatchewan's major soil climatic zones.Dr. Jeff Schoenau, a professor with the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture research chair in soil nutrient management, says the organic matter in manure, especially in solid manures, can directly benefit things like soil structure, water retention and so on."I think in terms of effect on the soil, especially with the solid manures where we're adding a fair bit of organic matter to the soil, we certainly see some beneficial effects show up there in terms of increased organic matter content, increased carbon storage. We see some positive benefits as well in water relations, things like infiltration," said Dr. Schoenau."We also need to be aware that manures also contain salts and so, particularly some manure that may be fairly high in for example sodium, we do need to keep an eye on the salt and sodium content of the soil where there's been repeated application of manure to soils where the drainage is poor. Generally what we've found is that the salts that are added as manure in soils that are well drained really don't create any kinds of issues. But we want to keep an eye on that in soils that aren't very well drained because those manures are adding some salts, for example sodium salts."Dr. Schoenau says, when manure is applied at a rate that is in balance with what the crop needs and takes out over time, we have no issues in terms of spill over into the environment. He says that balance is very important, putting in what you're taking out over time.
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Manure Science ReviewWed Jul 25, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2018 North American Manure ExpoWed Aug 15, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
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