Equipment

October 4, 2017, Madison, WI – Dairy Herd Management recently announced LWR’s First Wave System among the Top 10 Products in the 2017 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards. The Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards recognize the best of the best in new products that will be game changers for dairy producers in the areas of efficiency, functionality and technology. LWR Director of Operations, J.R. Brooks says that the launch of the First Wave System was in direct response to the feedback that they were receiving from the dairy industry. “We are constantly listening to producers and we recognized that to fully service the dairy industry we needed to offer the same quality of manure treatment that you get with the LWR system, in a package that drastically reduces operating costs not only for smaller operations, but to an entire industry that has been battling low milk prices,” he said. “We also recognized that not every farm needs to make clean water, but that most want a different way to manage their manure. The First Wave System offers the same precise nutrient control as the full LWR system, and the beauty is that you can add the Second Wave Module at any time to start making clean water when the time is right.” “This dairy industry is fast-paced and ever evolving, these awards showcase the finest in the industry and the commitment industry partners make to keep the future of the dairy industry strong,” said Cliff Becker, vice president and publishing director of Dairy Herd Management. “We are pleased to recognize these top innovators at World Dairy Expo. “The LWR system was recognized as a Top 10 Product in the 2011 Dairy Herd Management Innovation Awards, and now to have the First Wave System on that list is a true testament to our longstanding commitment to the dairy industry,” adds Brooks. Entries were evaluated by Dairy Herd Management's panel of dairy farmers, agribusiness representatives and university experts, and were judged on their originality within the marketplace, usefulness and value to dairy farmers.
Custom manure applicators often describe their work in colorful ways, using such terms as “traveling circus” and “hopscotch system” to explain what they do on a day-to-day basis. Lately, many have added a new term to their vocabulary and that is “frac tank.”
May 11, 2017, Madison County, OH – A new hog barn in Madison County has thousands of color-changing LED lights, sophisticated computer ventilation controls and an automated feeding system that can serve thousands of pigs with the flip of a switch, but it is what lies 10 feet beneath the 733-foot-long barn that is exciting. Two large pipes jutting out of one end of the barn – the visible piece of a system called mass agitation – allow the farm team to pump 7,000 gallons of water a minute into the pit beneath the barn where the excretions of 5,000 or so pigs collect. The water, which feeds through the two pipes and into other branches throughout the pit, stirs things up, which should make for better manure to spread on farm fields and also reduce the smell. READ MORE
April 27, 2017, Lethbridge, Alta – The beef industry is facing opportunity and a dilemma. Consumption of animal protein is expected to increase more than 60 percent over the next 40 years according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Ruminants are a key to meeting this demand because they can convert forage to protein-rich food and make use of land not suitable for arable crops. The dilemma is ruminants are also a significant environmental problem, producing large amounts of methane from that forage consumption. There are no silver bullets to deal with methane and ammonia emissions but there is real promise for significant improvement on the horizon say Dr. Karen Beauchemin and Dr. Karen Koenig, two researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Here are three examples. New product Perhaps the most dramatic methane control option is a new product in the pipeline designed specifically to manage methane production in ruminants. "Methane is lost energy and lost opportunity," says Beauchemin. "The inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (NOP) is a new compound synthetized by a company out of Switzerland specifically to control methane. A feed additive, it interferes with normal digestion process reducing the ability of rumen organisms to synthesize methane, shifting methane energy to a more usable form for the animal." Research by the Lethbridge team showed adding NOP to a standard diet reduced methane production 40 percent during backgrounding and finishing of cattle. Trials have been done in commercial feedlots and it is moving into the registration channels in North America. "Obviously there are hoops to go through in registration and questions such as pricing and mode of use in the cow calf sector that would affect industry uptake, but it is a very promising emission control alternative that could be available within three to five years," says Beauchemin. New techniques Diet manipulation is also promising. For example, increasing the nutritional digestibility of forages through early harvesting increases animal efficiency and reduces methane emissions, says Beauchemin. "We're also overfeeding protein in many cases which increases ammonia emissions," says Koenig. "For example, distillers grains, a by-product of the ethanol industry, are commonly fed in feedlots. But the nutrients are concentrated and when added to diets as an energy supplement, it often results in overfeeding protein, which increases ammonia emissions." One new area of research that may mitigate that, she says, is using plant extracts such as tannins that bind the nitrogen in the animal's gut and retain it in the manure more effectively. That retains the value as fertilizer. "There are supplements on the market with these products in them already, but we are evaluating them in terms of ammonia and methane management." New thinking A new focus in research trials today is thinking "whole farm." A new research nutrient utilization trial in the Fraser Valley of B.C. is looking at crop production in terms of selection of crops, number of cuts, fertilization and feed quality. "We are looking at what is needed to meet the needs of the dairy cow," says Koenig. "It's a whole farm system that does not oversupply nutrients to the animal." Road ahead Basically, most things that improve efficiency in animal production reduce methane and ammonia production, says Beauchemin and Koenig. They emphasize that while forage does produce methane, forage is a complex system that must be considered as whole ecosystem with many positive benefits. The biggest opportunity for improvement in methane emissions is in the cow calf and backgrounding sector because they are highly forage-ration based. But the low hanging fruit and early research in emission management is focused on the feedlot and dairy sector because diets can be controlled more easily. Related scientific paper here "Effects of sustained reduction of enteric methane emissions with dietary... ."
  Back in mid-November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plus 20 business and association partners made an exciting announcement. They launched a challenge – the Nutrient Recycling Challenge – a competition aimed at developing affordable technologies that can recycle nutrients from livestock manure. The main idea behind the challenge is to encourage participants to develop affordable and useable technologies that can extract nutrients from manure and generate products that can benefit the environment and be sold or used by farmers. “Scientists and engineers are already building technologies that can recover nutrients but further development is needed to make them more effective and affordable,” stated Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, when the challenge was launched. “The Nutrient Recycling Challenge will harness the power of competition to find solutions that are a win/win for farmers, the environment, and the economy.” The competition has been organized into four stages. Phase I (January 15, 2016) calls for concept papers outlining the idea behind the technology. Phase II (Spring 2016) will involve designing the technology. Phase III (Summer 2016) involves the development of prototypes and proof of concept. Final submissions are due by Fall 2016 with an awards ceremony expected January 2017. Phase IV (Spring 2017) will involve placing the final participants’ technologies on pilot farm operations. Already, the first phase of the multi-year competition has been completed. During Phase I, as much as $20,000 in cash prizes will be split between up to four winning concepts. As well, according to the challenge website (nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org), promising applicants will also be invited to an exclusive two-day partnering and investor summit in Washington, DC, being held in March 2016. They can also gain entry into further phases of the challenge, which will include potential awards such as further funding, incubation support, connection to investors, media and publicity plus the opportunity to have the technology demonstrated on an operational farm. Since the project was launched, discussion about the challenge has been quiet with the event website’s discussion area posting links to articles announcing the competition. As of the end of December 2016, only seven people were following the challenge on its website. Even many of the event partners have been mute about the competition, except for Smithfield Foods, which released a press release promoting its involvement in the challenge. “Our goal in partnering in this competition is to encourage innovation and identify additional opportunities for continuous improvement in management of livestock manure,” said Kraig Westerbeek, vice president of environmental compliance and support operations of Smithfield’s hog production division. I look forward to the announcement of Phase I winners in March and will be following the competition through all of its phases. Be sure to check back with Manure Manager for updates.      
June 12, 2015, Chambersburg, PA – Agriculture, like most industries, is in constant flux. Consumer trends shift, new discoveries are made, technologies advance, and regulations change. The manure handling and application industry is no different. The North American Manure Expo prides itself on helping livestock producers and custom manure applicators stay in the know. This year’s event – being held July 14 and 15 in Chambersburg, Penn. – provides attendees with more than 30 different education sessions to choose from to help them stay informed. On July 15, the knowledge sharing begins at 8 a.m. with the first round of seminars on the expo grounds. Subdivided into five different areas of interest, they include: Commercial Hauler Seminar Application of Food Processing Residuals – Linda Housel, Jeff Olsen Economic Considerations of Manure Transport with Frac Tanks – Eric Dreshbach Road, Field & Shop Safety – Eric Dreshbach Manure & Corn Seminar Shallow Disk Injection Versus Broadcasting of Manure: A Field Study Comparison – Emily Duncan Manure Injection in Corn: NY Experiences – Karl Czymmek Drag-lining Manure into Emerged Corn: What’s Working in Ohio – Glen Arnold Poultry Focus Seminar Biosecurity & Avian Influenza Update – Gregory Martin Poultry Litter & Biosolid Injection – Amy Shober Poultry Litter Auction: The Story of Cotner Manure Auction – Dean James Management Basics Seminar 4Rs in the Real World: making Sure Your Manure’s All Right – Brooke & Eric Rosenbaum Manure Composting – Jean Bohnotal Mortality Composting – Jean Bohnotal Dairy Focus Seminar Factors Effecting Manure P Excretion on PA Dairy Farms – Dan Ludwig, Virginia Ishler How Practical is Dairy Manure Injection? – Rory Maguire Utilizing Fall Manure to Double Crop Winter & Summer Annual Forages – Rachel Milliron These same five sessions will also be repeated later in the afternoon, starting at 5 p.m. Other education seminars being held over the course of the day include: Responsible Ag (9:30 a.m.) Helping Fertilizer Retailers be Safe, Secure & Compliant – Wade Foster Gas Safety Seminar (9:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.) Hydrogen Sulfide Production in Manure Storages at PA Dairy Farms that use Gypsum Bedding – Mike Hile Demonstration of Penn State’s gas trailer – Dave Hill Agriculture Road Safety (9:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.) A review of road safety with Officers Mitchell Saflia & Greg Fisher PA One Stop Mapping (10 a.m. & Noon) Presented by Rich Day & Bob Neiderer Regulation Changes (Noon) Clean Water Act and the “Waters of the United States” Rule: Potential Effects on Nutrient Application – Wade Foster Maryland Manure Application Regulation Update – Dwight Dotterer Ohio’s New Manure Application Regulations for the Western Lake Erie Watershed – Glen Arnold Legal Liability Issues Related to Manure – Matt Royer Poultry Tour Seminar (12:30 p.m.) Two Hundred Years of Manure Management at Lesher’s Poultry – Leslie Bowman Recycling Mineral Nutrients from Egg Layer Manure: The Gettysburg Energy & Nutrient Recovery Facility – Pat Topper Equine Seminar (2 p.m.) Equine Manure Composting & Storage Options – Ann Swinker Not So Good to Best Management Practices: Manure Handling Improvements that Really Work for Horse Farms – Jamie Cohen Equine Parasites in Manure – Donna Foulk Attendees will also have lots of opportunities to learn in the field. On July 15, attendees can watch solid and liquid manure application plus compost turner demonstrations, take part in a spreader calibration exercise plus learn how to respond during an unexpected manure spill. And don’t forget the full day of dairy/agitation and equine/beef small farm tours on July 14 plus the trade show – a mini manure city constructed in a field of wheat stubble. The North American Manure Expo is the perfect opportunity for attendees to talk to manufacturers, dealers and other experts in the manure industry and view side-by-side demonstrations of equipment. Nowhere else can the audience view and compare technologies while kicking the tires in such a large, industry-specific forum. To learn more about the 2015 North American Manure Expo and register for events, visit manureexpo.org.  
Marshfield, WI - At the Healthy Soil, Healthy Water Conference, held in late-March, Doug Szemborski with Bazooka Farmstar said manure injection could be the best way to use the manure on the farm in a way that makes the neighbors happy while allowing farmers to get the most nutrient value from it.Farmers who are able to properly use the manure produced on their farms save money in fertilizer costs. Szemborski said injecting the manure into soil allows for reduced runoff and loss of nutrients, while also reducing odor from the manure due to the ammonia that causes the smell being locked into the soil during injection. | READ MORE
Healthy soils have a unique infrastructure of pores that vary in size and support the movement of air, water, earthworms and other soil micro-organisms and plant roots. Healthy soils that allow maximum water infiltration will help maximize the soil's water-holding capacity and will minimize water runoff that leads to soil erosion. The greater the number of small pores, the more consolidated the soil is and the less capacity the soil has for water infiltration.What is compaction? Compaction is a change in soil structure, including an increase in soil density. In compacted soils, the soil aggregates are pushed more tightly together which reduces the size and stability of the soil aggregates, the size of the pores and disrupts the continuity of those pores.According to research from the University of Minnesota, the change in soil structure is complex. There is not a simple relationship between increased soil density and decreased crop yield. The changes in soil structure affect the movement of water, air, roots, and soil organisms through the soil, so the effect on yield depends on the weather, the amount and depth of compaction, and the crop type.What causes compaction? Wheel traffic is the main cause of compaction on most farms. The amount of compaction depends on the size and weight of the equipment, the moisture level of the soil, and the type of soil (soils high in clay or low in organic matter compact more readily). Table 1, with information adapted from Dr. S Shearer – University of Ohio, shows the potential economic impact of compaction from wheel traffic on normal and wet soils. It also considers the impact of wider spread pattern for manure application equipment on reducing wheel traffic-induced compaction.Table 1: Yield Impact from Wheel Track Compaction on Normal and Wet Soils with Common Field Equipment and Varying Spread Widths of Manure Application EquipmentIf the data collected by Dr. Scott Shearer of Ohio State University is extrapolated to calculate the cost of compaction on crop yield per acre, it would demonstrate a 6 bu/acre yield difference from wheel traffic in soils with normal moisture and a 27 bu/acre yield difference from wheel traffic in wet soils. At $4.50 /bu corn this would cost close to $ 50/acre with narrow width spread pattern manure application equipment. Wider spread pattern results in less wheel tracks and in less crop yield loss.Many producers do not consider wheat to be an economical crop in the rotation. If the economics of crop production were not just based on the highest yield, but on the economics (including long term soil health) across the whole rotation, it would escalate the value of wheat in the rotation. Beyond the advantages of increased yields for subsequent corn and soybean crops, documented by Dr. B. Deen at the University of Guelph, there are additional economic considerations. The opportunity of manure application after July wheat harvest, into conditions with the lowest risk for compaction, and with the opportunity to add cover crops to alleviate consolidated soil and build aggregate stability give additional diversity and soil health advantages. Additionally, the opportunity to spread workload and equipment costs over the entire growing season (compared to a few weeks in spring and fall) provides additional advantages.With larger fields and bigger field equipment, compaction issues will not disappear. Is it time to reconsider the options for reducing compaction on your farm?References: Soil Compaction; Causes, Effects and Control https://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/soils/tillage/soil-compaction/
Magog, QC – Camso, formerly Camoplast Solideal, unveils its new proprietary smart track technology for the first time in North America.The vision behind Camso smart track technology (patent pending) is to support farmers through innovations, adding value to their field. "As the leader in track and track system development, we're committed to redefining the industry standard and engineering products that support the evolution of farming equipment," explains Martin Lunkenbein, service and aftermarket sales executive director – Agriculture at Camso. "New technology announcements, such as smart tracks, demonstrate our commitment to developing solutions that advance a farmer's operation in terms of efficiency, productivity and ease of use," he says.According to Lunkenbein, when coupled with smart technology, tracks can be an invaluable source of information. "The idea is to use our proprietary smart technology to gather data using the various track components (guide lugs, tread bars, carcass). From there, we can track what really impacts farmers' profitability: durability, performance, agronomic field conditions, and more."The first application of Camso smart technology will involve track temperature sensors for high-speed roading to help farmers get in their field faster while lowering their operating costs and improving track durability. "With higher roading speeds and fields farther away from each other, farmers are looking to operate at maximum transport efficiency. Our roading smart track solution will allow for optimal machine speed while avoiding heat build-up, which can cause premature track damage," says Lunkenbein. Camso already offers the leading roading track solution, using the best compounds and ensuring optimized tread performance and life.This first application represents a huge leap forward in integrated track technology. Camso's technology employs a temperature sensor embedded in the track. If the track reaches high temperature levels, the sensor sends a signal to the tractor, ensuring that speed is readily adjusted to protect the track investment. A working prototype will be introduced later in 2018.
Extend your operation's manure application window while delivering the nutrients crops need at the right time and in the right place. To hear the latest about applying liquid manure as a side dress to growing corn and wheat crops check out Manure Manager's webinar event featuring Ohio State University associate professor and manure nutrient management specialist Glen Arnold. Arnold is an associate professor with Ohio State University Extension and serves as a field specialist in the area of manure nutrient management application. His on-farm research focuses on the use of livestock manure as a spring top-dress fertilizer on wheat and as a side dress fertilizer for corn. His research goal is to move livestock producers toward applying manure during the crop growing season instead of late fall application window. His more recent research has focused on side dressing emerged corn with a soft drag hose system.Arnold has years of experience conducting in-field trials using drag hose and tanker mounted toolbars to apply liquid manure "in-season." Learn from his expertise.To veiw a free, live recording of this Manure Manager webinar event, held September 2017, register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/7877962713919454978
Nitrate levels above the drinking water standard of 10 ppm are frequently found in subsurface drainage tile water or groundwater below farm fields of the upper Midwest. Nitrogen comes from applied manure and fertilizer, along with natural mineralization of organic matter.What was doneWinter cereal rye planted as a cover crop has been shown effective in capturing nitrate before it leaches from the root zone. We conducted on-farm trials in central and southern Minnesota to determine if a rye cover crop would capture significant root-zone nitrate in the fall and spring but release it in time to maintain yield in the subsequent corn crop.In the fall of 2015 and 2016, we partnered with 19 farmers (ten in 2015 and nine in 2016) to drill strips of cereal rye immediately after harvest of corn silage or soybean. After the rye was established and soil temperatures began to fall, we injected liquid dairy or swine manure into the cover crop and check strips. Three replications (with and without cover crop) were planted as wide or wider than the farmer's combine or silage chopper. The following spring, we sampled the cover crop for biomass and nitrogen content. We also soil sampled the cover crop and check strips to a 24-inch depth for nitrate. The rye was terminated, usually before reaching eight inches in height. In most cases, the rye was terminated with herbicide and tilled in. Corn was planted in the cover crop and check strips, usually with a small amount of starter nitrogen. We measured yield and nitrogen content of the corn at harvest.Fall manure injection into cereal rye cover crop.Fall manure injection into cereal rye cover crop.Cereal rye at same location two weeks after manure injectionCereal rye at same location two weeks after manure injectionSpring rye growth at the same site.Spring rye growth at the same site.Our results indicatedSpring Soil 24 inch Nitrate. Cover crop had 124 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre. No cover crop had 202 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre. The difference was 78 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre.In both years, adequate growing season existed to establish the rye cover crop after either corn silage or soybean harvest, but above-ground fall growth was limited.The rye was very resilient to manure injection, however, stand reduction was considerable at two sites where shank injectors or disk coverers were too aggressive.Spring rye growth was good at most sites, with soil nitrate reduced under the cover crop compared to the check strips at all sites.Rye growth and nitrogen uptake were greater in southern than central Minnesota.Across sites, there was no significant difference in silage or grain yield between the cover crop and check strips.Grain yield adjusted to 15 percent moisture. Cover crop yielded 199.5 bushels per acre whereas no cover crop yielded 201.2 bushels per acre.Corn silage yield adjusted to 65 percent moisture. Cover crop yielded 20.7 tons per acre whereas no cover crop yielded 20.8 tons per acre.Take home messageWe concluded that, in central and southern Minnesota, it is feasible to establish cereal rye cover crop after corn silage or soybean harvest, inject liquid manure, capture root-zone nitrate with the rye, and deliver sufficient nitrogen to the subsequent corn crop.Additional experiments are needed to determine any nitrogen recovery effect of no-till vs tillage termination, as well as supplemental nitrogen needs if the rye were terminated at a later maturity.Authors: Les Everett, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center and Randy Pepin, University of Minnesota ExtensionReviewer: Melissa Wilson, University of Minnesota and Mary Berg, North Dakota State University
February 1, 2018, Burlington, VT – What’s a responsible farmer to do? Manure injection is an important soil management practice that reduces the chance of manure runoff. But recent studies by Carol Adair and colleagues at the University of Vermont show manure injection can increase the release of harmful greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases contribute to the warming of our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide gets the most attention because so much is released as we burn fossil fuels. Nitrous oxide (yes, the “laughing gas” the dentist may give you) is also a powerful greenhouse gas. There isn’t nearly as much of it in our atmosphere as carbon dioxide: it makes up only about five percent of the greenhouse gases, compared to 82 percent for carbon dioxide. However, it is a much more potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential nearly 300 times greater than carbon dioxide. About 40 percent of all nitrous oxide emissions come from human activities, and agriculture is by far the greatest source. About 90 percent of that contribution comes from soil and nutrient management practices like tilling and fertilizing. This means that changes in these practices have great potential to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture. But there is also the potential to make them worse. That’s where manure injection comes into the story. Animal manure has been used as a fertilizer for thousands of years. It is an excellent source of nutrients for plants and helps build good soil. Manure slowly releases nitrogen, one of the primary elements that help plants grow. Because of this slow release, it does not have to be applied as often as commercial fertilizer. Traditionally, manure has been spread, or broadcast, onto the fields. However, with changing weather patterns some areas have had heavier rains and more flooding. Many farmers are taking steps to avoid manure runoff that can affect the quality of lakes and streams nearby. One such step is manure injection, a relatively new way of applying manure. It helps keep the manure on the crops and on the fields. Manure injectors insert narrow troughs of liquid manure six to eight inches deep into the soil. “Unfortunately, at that depth conditions are just right for producing nitrous oxide,” said Adair. The soils are often wet and there is little oxygen. This leads microbes in the soil to change the way they convert organic matter into energy. This alternative process changes nitrogen into nitrous oxide as a byproduct. Adair and her colleagues have been studying the potential of tillage and manure application methods to reduce nitrous oxide emissions. They are comparing conventional tilling versus no-till systems, and broadcast versus manure injection. Through several farm and laboratory experiments, they have found the tillage method has little impact on nitrous oxide emissions. However, manure injection significantly increases nitrous oxide emissions compared to the broadcast method. This is especially true soon after injection. Warming soil in the spring and more winter thaw/freeze cycles in winters also seem to increase emissions. And when warmer winters are combined with manure injection, this multiplies the effect, leading to even more nitrous oxide emissions. Adair says ongoing research may show the cause of winter and spring emissions and whether there are steps that can reduce them. Perhaps cover crops grown between main-crop seasons will be able to reduce wintertime nitrous oxide emissions. And perhaps the timing of manure injection is important. “Injecting during dry periods seem to reduce emissions, and it may be that fall injection results in smaller emission pulses, but we don’t have enough evidence of the latter yet,” Adair explains. “Our work continues so we can find better answers for growers, and protect the environment.” Adair presented this research at the October Annual Meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America in Tampa, FL.
There is a great misconception within the global marketplace about the durability, service life cost and capacity capability of bolted steel tanks when compared to both sectional and pre-cast concrete tanks for applications within the water, wastewater, and anaerobic digestion market sectors.When correctly specified and produced, concrete can be an excellent construction material providing long service in many conditions, however, the quality and durability of a concrete tank is dependent on many factors that are often difficult to control.Consider the following:Pre-stressed concrete tanks: Bioenergy plants provide a severe environment for concrete. As these tanks enter the first, second and third decade of service, the effects of years of unprotected exposure are apparent with cracks, spalls, and leaks. The introduction of reinforcing steel created a problem affecting the durability of concrete. As rebar corrodes, concrete cracks and spalls reducing structural integrity AND allowing elements to enter into the concrete increasing the deterioration. Additionally, rust forming on rebar increases the volume (result = expansion) of the steel creating large tensile forces. Concrete cannot withstand tensile stress and it cracks to relieve the pressures. For more, CLICK HERE
There has been some success with using biocovers to reduce the odors and environment-damaging gas emissions from liquid manure lagoons – and a promising new cover material that has the potential to do even more is biochar.
October 30, 2017 – Are you at risk while pumping out your manure storage system? Without throwing out the “here’s your sign” card, the simple answer to the question posed is – yes! Many producers know and understand the risk associated with confined manure handling systems but accidents and deaths still occur because unwarranted risks are taken as manure is being handled and removed from the confined manure handling systems. Ask yourself these questions: Does every employee understand the risks associated with confined manure handling systems? Have they received proper training when dealing with confined manure handling systems? Do you have the appropriate hazard signage posted near the confined manure handling system, warning people of the dangers? Do you have the appropriate safety gear available and have you provided instruction to employees on using the equipment? Do you have employees with limited English speaking skills? Do they fully understand the safety risks and signage provided? Do employees and family members have the ability to communicate location directions in an emergency 911 call? These may seem like simple things, unfortunately they often go overlooked. We assume that everyone should know the risks and know what to do in an emergency. Taking the time to provide proper safety equipment, while simultaneously educating employees and family members about the correct safety protocols around confined manure handling systems helps prevent deaths and accidents. So what is the risk with confined manure handling systems? Understanding that there is risk associated with manure pits and manure lagoons is important. They both produce toxic gases as the manure undergoes anaerobic digestive fermentation. The gases produced and the characteristics of each are below: Methane – is an odorless gas that is flammable or explosive at concentrations of 5 to 15 percent by volume of air. The gas is lighter than air and typically found near the top of the pit and high enough concentrations can cause death by suffocation. Hydrogen sulfide – is an extremely toxic gas with a “rotten egg” smell at low concentrations and which at high concentrations can paralyze the olfactory senses. It is heavier than air and often settles towards the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, and respiratory tract irritation. At high concentrations it can cause unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death within minutes. It is also explosive at various concentrations. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – is an odorless gas that is heavier than air and often settles near the bottom of the manure pit. At low concentrations it causes labored breathing, drowsiness and headaches. In high concentrations it can displace enough oxygen and cause death via suffocation. Ammonia (NH3) - has sharp odor characteristics that irritate the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. Exposure to high concentrations can be fatal. Besides understanding the various types of gases produced in confined manure handling systems, you should also follow these guidelines when working around confined manure handling systems. Manure Pits These are enclosed manure storage structures, which should be equipped with ventilation systems. They are often found in dairies as manure is pumped out to a lagoon or in confined swine operation buildings or certain types of beef finishing operations that utilize a confined building. Follow these safety guidelines around manure pits: Keep all manure pits ventilated and fans working properly. Keep all manure pits covered with appropriately ventilated grating. Post hazard signs near all manure pit entry point locations. Never enter a manure pit unless absolutely necessary and only when proper safeguards are utilized. If entry into the pit is necessary, test the air for toxic gases. Never enter a manure pit unless someone is standing by and maintaining constant contact. The person standing watch should be able to lift an unconscious person wearing a safety harness attached to a lifeline. They should NEVER enter the pit trying to rescue someone and have the ability to communicate necessary information in case of an emergency 911 call. Always wear a safety harness that attached to a mechanical device such as a winch, hoist or pulley. This is your lifeline, so the person on the outside must maintain constant contact with the lifeline. Always wear a positive-pressure, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). Provide a powered, explosion proof air ventilation system for each manure pit that will help bring in a continuous fresh air supply. NEVER enter a manure pit to attempt a rescue without a safety harness and proper respiratory protection! Manure Lagoons They also produce toxic gases in localized layers, which, especially on hot, humid days with little breeze can cause a health hazard and potential death. Gases are readily released when lagoons are agitated to remove manure to be incorporated as fertilizer into the fields. They often have a thick liquid, floating crust, which can make swimming and buoyancy difficult if you were to slip or fall into the lagoon. Additional safety guidelines for manure lagoons are as follows: Open-air lagoons should be fenced off around the perimeter with locked access gates to keep unauthorized people or unwanted animals from accidentally entering them. Hazard signs posted at entry points warning of toxic gases and drowning dangers. Wear a safety harness attached to a lifeline with someone on the other end that can drag you out if it is necessary to enter the lagoon. Rescue equipment such as flotation devices and lifelines attached to every manure pump. Move slowly around manure lagoons as the ground can be uneven causing a person to trip and fall. Never work alone but all other unnecessary bystanders should stay away from access points or pump-out points. No horseplay allowed in these areas. No smoking or open flames allowed near agitation or pumping areas due to the explosive gases that may be present. If equipment breakdown occurs during agitation or pumping shut it down and remove it from the lagoon area before servicing. Follow the same 911 emergency call guidelines as manure pits, be able to describe the situation, number of victims, location and directions. Safety is not a choice, it is something that we need to practice on a daily basis in agriculture. Enclosed manure hold facilities are one of many areas in livestock operations that have inherent risks. However, by following these recommended safety guidelines and training all involved we can be safer and live to see another day with loved ones and family.
August 10, 2017 – Manure is a reality in raising farm animals. Manure can be a useful fertilizer, returning valued nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil for plant growth. But manure has problems. Odor offensiveness, gas emissions, nutrient runoff, and possible water pollution are just a few. Timing is also a problem. Livestock produce manure 24/7 – even when it is impractical or unwise to move it to the field. Delivering manure to the field needs to be timed to nutrient needs, soil moisture levels, and temperature. How can farmers handle this timing issue, as well as other manure problems? In cities, sewers and water treatment facilities deal with human waste. On farms, manure storage lagoons can hold the manure until the time is ripe. This solves the timing and delivery problem – but what about odor and gas emissions? In addition to the inconvenience of odor, manure can release gases connected to air pollution and climate change. Methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide are examples. Scientist Brian Dougherty and colleagues researched methods to reduce these negatives while potentially adding some positives: biochar covers. Biochar is plant matter, such as straw, woody debris, or corn stalks, that has been heated to high temperatures in a low- to no-oxygen environment. The result is a black, carbon-rich material similar to charcoal. Dougherty says biochar is like a sponge. “Biochar provides a structure with lots of empty pore space,” he says. “The outer surface may appear small but the interior surface area is absolutely massive. A few ounces of biochar can have an internal surface area the size of a football field. There is a lot of potential there for holding on to water and nutrients.” In addition to its hidden storage capacity, the surface of the biochar tends to have a chemical charge. This gives biochar the ability to attract and hold nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium ions, metals, and other compounds. Biochar can also float (some types more than others). That attribute means it can trap gases at the water’s surface. Growing up on a dairy farm, Dougherty is no stranger to the challenges of manure storage. “Once I realized the properties of biochar, I thought it had good potential for a lagoon cover,” he says. Dougherty’s research studied two liquid dairy manures with differing nutrient levels. It also studied two types of biochars, made at different temperatures. Biochar is somewhat fickle, showcasing different properties when created at different temperatures. He also included pails of manure with a straw cover for comparison, and au natural with no cover as his control. The research found that the biochars picked up the most nutrients from the more concentrated manure with a higher nutrient content. “The biochar will take up whatever it can, so if there are more nutrients available the potential for nutrient uptake is greater,” Dougherty says. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are nutrients with the greatest economic value on a farm, but applying them in excess of what the crop can take up can lead to nutrient loss to the watershed. Dougherty also measured the ammonia at the top of each pail. Ammonia and sulfates are the main source of manure’s odor. The cooler-crafted biochar did best here, reducing ammonia by 72 to 80 percent. It also floated better. But because it floated better and tended to repel water, it was less effective at attracting and attaching to the nutrients than the warmer-crafted biochar. Biochar is currently more expensive to buy than straw, but Dougherty is undaunted. Biochar could have a good economic return: excess farm and forestry residue could be used to create the biochar on site. This process generates energy that could be used heat water and warm buildings during colder months. There is also potential for generating electricity, fuels, and other by-products using more sophisticated equipment. After its use in the lagoon, the biochar could be spread on fields as needed. Any excess could be sold as a high-value fertilizer product. And biochar has great environmental benefits. “Anything you can do to prevent gases from escaping the lagoon is a good thing,” Dougherty says. “Biochar applied to soils – particularly poorer quality soils – is very helpful. Making biochar can also help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. A portion of the carbon dioxide that was taken in during plant growth ends up as a very stable form of carbon in the soil. The overall picture has multiple benefits.” Dougherty’s research did not avoid the obvious. Would biochar or straw best improve the dairy air? Since the human nose knows, Dougherty recruited a panel of judges. The weather intervened, however, with freezing temperatures and rain affecting the odor intensity over the 12-week trial. Despite these challenges, three different biochars were shown to reduce odor from liquid dairy manure, whereas a straw cover was not effective. “Determining the best trade-off of biochar properties will be an important next step,” Dougherty says. “More research could find the right biochar production temperature, particle size, pH, and float properties. The potential is there.” This portion of the research still needs to be sniffed out. Read more about Dougherty’s biochar research in Journal of Environmental Quality.
August 1, 2017, Ames, IA – Summer is here and it’s brought dry weather throughout much of the state. This type of weather is a great time to check over your manure management systems and make sure it will keep doing its job. A great place to start is with your manure storage. Fall application season is still a ways away, but a little planning now can make sure you have the flexibility to manage your manure like the fertilizer resource it is, and to make sure your storage will keep functioning for years to come. Proper management and maintenance is necessary to prevent manure from overflowing or discharging from a storage system. Whether the manure storage is in an earthen tank, a slurry store, or a deep pit, the basic principles to maintaining and managing the storage structure are similar. In any case, frequent evaluation and preventative maintenance will significantly reduce your risk and keep your manure where you want it. Monitor the operating level of your manure storages. Have a staff gauge or a method for determining how much manure is already in your storage. Keeping track of how much manure is there can give insight into if you have enough capacity to make it to your next land application window. If you are worried you may run short this will give you an early opportunity to evaluate how you are going to handle the situation when your storage gets full. Monitoring the level can also alert you to if anything unexpected is occurring, for instance, your manure storage isn’t filling up or filling up really quickly because of a water leak or outside drainage water getting in. Visual structure inspection. A quick look over the storage can tell you a lot about how your structure is holding up – as you walk around, pay close attention to inlet points, connections, and where the sidewalls connect to the base. To make this easier make sure you are mowing around your storage and cutting down trees, watching for animal burrows, and making sure clean water is being diverted around your manure storage structure. Odor evaluation. I know odor can be a stink of a topic, but it’s something we have to deal with. Make it a part of your routine to go around your farm once a week and make a note of the odor intensity and what neighbors may be smelling. Unfortunately there usually are not easy fixes, but for those of you interested in learning more about potential odor options check out AMPAT. Safety check. We all recognize there are some safety challenges to working in and around manure storage systems. Take the time to review your safety protocols and update as needed. Taking the time to go over them will remind everyone that they are important and to protect us. While you are at it make sure to check any fences, escape ladders, and warning signs you have posted to make sure they are still in good shape, readable, and present. Clean water diversions. Minimizing outside water entering a manure storage helps keep nutrient concentrations higher making it an economic fertilizer for a farm to use. Check over the clean water diversions around your farm to make sure things like silage piles, mortality compost piles, and in-ground manure storage piles aren’t receiving water from other areas. Application equipment. Manure equipment lives a tough life, it gets used quick for a month and then put away. Take the time to check it over now before you need it again this fall and get that one last part that you’ve been meaning to fix.
July 6, 2017, New York - If you buy a house on the 9 million acres of agricultural districts in New York state, you sign a disclosure form that says the farmers near you have the "right to farm" even when it causes noise, dust and odors.Still, when a farmer decides to build a lagoon to store millions of gallons of liquid manure, the neighbors are often disappointed to find out they have little say in the matter. They can also be shocked to hear that government sometimes requires manure storage and even helps pay for it.Since 1994, 461 manure storages have been built with state financial help, according to the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. Others are privately or federally funded.The "Right to Farm" is a state law that protects 25,316 farms on 6.5 million of those 9-million acres of agricultural districts. The rest of that land is occupied by people who do not farm.Mike McMahon, of McMahon's EZ Acres in Homer, allowed us to fly a drone over the lagoon on his dairy farm and explained how it was designed.McMahon, other farmers and government officials say storage is the best practice to protect the environment from runoff.Storage allows farmers to spread manure on fields on only the best days - when the soil is dry and less likely to run off of wet and frozen ground into lakes and streams. READ MORE

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