Manure Handling
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 (, 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




July 23, 2014, Maria Stein, OH – Livestock producers and others interested in learning more about manure application technology are encouraged to attend the Western Ohio Manure Application Technology Field Day being held on July 31 at Homan Inc at 69115 Olding Road, Maria Stein in Mercer County.

A morning educational program from 9:30am to 11:30am will be held at the Homan Inc barn. Topics will include Nutrient Management-National, State, and Local Perspectives: Senate Bill 150-On-farm impacts: Utilizing Manure Nutrients to Improve Nitrogen Utilization and Management: Cover Crop Selection to Conserve Nitrogen for the Following Year: and BioSecurity for Manure Applicators. READ MORE

Photo courtesy of Marg Land.

Aug. 1, 2013, Guelph, Ont. - Later this month, on August 20 and 21, 2013, the North American Manure Expo will be the premier event of its kind in Canada. This year, the theme will be "Getting It Right: Precision manure application."

Throughout the day, there will be 8 classroom sessions that address all manners of manure application, handling and management. While the equipment and trade show runs from 8-5pm on August 21st, and you won't want to miss the seminars.

In addition, the Manure Expo has been CEU (Continuing Education Units – Canada) and CEC (Continuing Education Credits – USA) approved.

Remember, MORNING SEMINARS BEGIN AT 9am sharp! Details of sessions 7 and 8 follow.

Session #7 - Valuing "the Resource" – Part 2 (to be held outside)

New technology constantly raises the bar for improved accuracy of manure application, and every new product brings new advancements, as well as problems and concerns. For example, how do different technologies compare for improved distribution, uniformity and maximizing utilization of manure? How do economics impact the practical aspects of application?

For this session, the speakers will be Frank Gibbs (Wetland and Soil Consulting Services, LLC, Ohio), Dr. Shabtai Bittman (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Dr. Bill Deen (Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph) and Greg Stewart (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs). Each speaker will help you assess new technology, as well as utilize blue dye to help assess toolbar and tanker setup and incorporation by demonstrating distribution in the soil profile.

Session #8 - Tools to Aid Precision Application (to be held outside)

The final session of the 2013 North American Manure Expo will discuss how the accuracy of manure application has improved with the introduction of precision tools that include variable rate and auto steer. During the session, attendees will be able to see first-hand how some of these flow meters, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and other planning tools can enhance manure distribution, improve uniformity of application and can improve record keeping and overall manure value.

Our speakers for this session are Mark Janiec (Terratec Environmental Ltd.), Greg Kitching (Premier Equipment Ltd.) and Felix Weber (Ag Business and Crop Inc.)


Don't miss the North American Manure Expo, being hosted north of the U.S. border for the first time ever at the University of Guelph's Arkell Research Station, minutes from Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

To register or for more information, visit
Photo courtesy of Marg Land.

Jul. 25, 2013, Guelph, Ont. - Being held on August 20 and 21, 2013, the North American Manure Expo is the premier event of its kind in Canada. This year, the theme of the 2013 event will be "Getting It Right: Precision manure application."

While the equipment and trade show runs from 8-5pm on August 21st, there will be eight classroom sessions that you won't want to miss. Remember, MORNING SEMINARS BEGIN AT 9am sharp! Details of sessions 5 and 6 follow.

Session #5 - Considering Neighbours (to be held in Classroom A)

The subject of manure management can be a difficult one to address, especially in situations where urban communities meet rural developments. And farming in urban areas can often lead to ugly disputes, so what should urban people expect from their livestock producing neighbours?

For this session, the speakers will be Eric Kaiser (Soil Conservation Council of Canada and farmer), Hugh Fraser (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs) and Sam Bradshaw (environment consultant). These speakers will help you develop and implement proven communications strategies, as well as look at the expectations of both urban and rural centers around manure management.

Session #6 - Environmental Protection (to be held in Classroom B)

As farmers, we have a duty to responsibly maintain and manage the environment that we use. Therefore, if livestock production is situated on sandy soils over an aquifer that supplies a large urban population, environmental considerations are a must. But what do you do? And how do you do it?

During this session, the speakers will help you make that determination – Is it safe to apply here? Do we need a source water protection plan?

Our speakers for this segment are Don King (Soil Resource Group and farmer) and Dave Belanger (Water Supply Program Manager, City of Guelph), and they will cover some of the considerations around soil and site conditions, water source location and the nutrient content when manure is applied in areas with elevated environmental risk.


NOTE: Sessions 7 through 8 will be featured in upcoming articles.

Don't miss the North American Manure Expo, being hosted north of the U.S. border for the first time ever at the University of Guelph's Arkell Research Station, minutes from Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

To register or for more information, visit
Photo courtesy of Marg Land.

Jul. 11, 2013, Guelph - The North American Manure Expo will be held in Canada for the first time ever on August 20 and 21, 2013. The theme of the 2013 event is "Getting It Right: Precision manure application."

While the equipment and trade show runs from 8-5pm on August 21st, there will be eight classroom sessions that you won't want to miss. MORNING SEMINARS BEGIN AT 9am sharp! Details of sessions #1 and #2 are here.

Session #1 - The Path Forward (to be held Outside)

Do you wonder where manure technology will take us? What about local regulations and environmental farm plans? Sponsored by Veenhuis Equipment, this session is a must for those savvy farmers who know that the world is changing and technology is advancing. Join speakers Walter Veenhuis (Veenhuis Machines BV), Felix Weber (Ag Business and Crop Inc), and Wayne Currah (Trillium Agronomics) as they discuss the changes that we can expect in manure and organic amendments management.

Environmental consciousness, changing farmscapes and current economics are all factors that could influence the future of manure application, and our speakers will provide an enlightening view about how they see things panning out.

Will manure become a value commodity? Come and listen to the experts. Leading edge research, new tools and the European experience will provide fodder for discussion as we examine the path forward.

Session #2 - Minimizing Compaction and Road Damage (to be held Outside)

Now that you've had a glimpse into the future, what about the footprint you are leaving – literally? Over the years, manure application equipment has increased in size, including the tires. Oftentimes, application must be done in soil conditions that are not ideal, and this can lead to compaction damage as well as damage to roadways.

In this session, speakers Kevin Erb (Professional Development and Training Coordinator, University of Wisconsin Extension), Greg Stewart (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs), Jake Kraayenbrink (AgriBrink) and Sam Bradshaw (Environment Consultant) will focus on the factors that affect compaction. By knowing how it happens, and the long- and short-term impact of compaction, farmers can take steps to reduce it.

Our speakers will also touch on practical ways of reducing road damage, by discussing tire selection options, set-up and new technology, including on-the-go inflation systems, that will minimize equipment footprints on the soil and roadways.

Think you're doing enough to reduce compaction? Join us at this session and find out!

NOTE: Sessions 3 through 8 will be featured in upcoming news items, with morning and afternoon sessions happening concurrently.

Don't miss the North American Manure Expo, being hosted north of the U.S. border for the first time ever at the University of Guelph's Arkell Research Station, minutes from Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

To register or for more information, visit

With a show of hands, about half of those listening to the presentation in Jake Kraayenbrink’s back 40 near Moorefield, Ont., confessed to having a smartphone of some sort.

That means that half of the crowd at a recent Ontario manure management demonstration would instantly be able to pinpoint their location at that particular moment, in that particular field, using the GPS feature on their smartphone. It also means that they may be only a step away from utilizing precision agriculture to manage their manure.

What exactly is precision agriculture? Basically, it’s farming by the inch instead of the acre. It’s using a GPS (global positioning system) and imagery – satellite and sensor data – with computer software to map and manage field data, generating distinct records for every field of the farm with the goal of better managing resources.

The most common tool to achieve this is GPS technology, used on field equipment to accurately steer and control applications based on the position of the equipment in the field. Every operation done by a piece of equipment can be mapped and data is managed by software specifically developed as a business management tool.

“It’s pretty cool technology,” Larry Prong, a GPS specialist with Premier Equipment in Elmira, Ont., told farmers. “It’s starting to become the norm to sell GPS equipment with new tractors.”

Precision agriculture components typically include a GPS receiver, in-cab computer display, machine controls for guidance, commonly known as autosteer systems, and machine controls for application such as spray controllers, rate controllers for dry box spreaders, or flow meters for manure tankers. Other components may include field scouting devices and desktop GIS (geographic information system) for data management.

But does precision agriculture technology have an application in manure management?

“Yes,” said Prong. “That’s the purpose of precision agriculture: getting more exact with our field operations and gaining the efficiencies through that.”

Using precision agriculture technology tools can increase manure placement accuracy and application rates, but then the data can be sent back to the office to map your fields and help to keep good records too.


A screen shot from Farm Works software. Farm Works software has just released the Connected Farm app that runs on iPhones and Android smartphones, allowing field scouting with a GPS-enabled smartphone.
Photo courtesy of Larry Prong

When it comes to manure application, the placement accuracy you’re looking for is probably six to eight inches, explained Prong. That’s good enough to make sure you don’t have any big skips as you move up and down the field, but at the same time you’re not getting a lot of overlap either.

One good example of where GPS accuracy would come into play in nutrient management would be side-dressing liquid manure into standing corn: it’s tricky and there is not a lot of room for error. Corn planted with high accuracy guidance will have bullet-straight rows but, more importantly, you can go back exactly into same wheel track within one inch six or eight weeks later.

Some people may say: “It’s just manure, why do we have to record all that data?”

As your commercial fertilizer costs go up, manure becomes liquid gold, said Prong. There’s a tremendous value to what you’re putting on the land. If you’re going to take the time to work with an agronomist for your fields and you’re expecting a certain yield from your ground, it’s just another piece of the puzzle that the tools of precision agriculture are
going to record and track for you.

Another side of the coin is, unfortunately, the fact that manure is also regarded as a hazardous material. We need to know where it’s going down as well as setbacks from wellheads and waterways, said Prong. Every time you use a GPS system it provides an audit trail: this is how much I put down and this is where I put it down.

One of the key pieces of information is the amount of manure you’re putting down, which involves not only measuring amounts but also measuring application rates. This is where a rate controller can be useful.

For solid manure, a rate controller gives you the ability to measure load size under a dry spreader box, measuring change in weight to calculate the application rate. A hydraulic gate valve can then help regulate the amounts going on the field.

With liquid manure, that measurement requires the use of a flow meter. Putting a flow meter on a tanker will measure liquid manure application in gallons per minute. Prong says a flow meter is a common feature on machines nowadays.

“That’s important in injected manure where you can’t see what’s going in the ground,” said Prong. “It’s amazing how a change in ground speed can spike your application rates.”

For example, at four miles per hour with a 2,500-gallon per acre target flow, you will be applying 300 gallons per minute.

Keeping the same flow but dropping to three miles per hour, that application rate is now 3,300 gallons per acre. That’s a 30 percent increase in application rate just by slowing down, and that decrease in speed can be caused by something as simple as going up a hill.

Premier Equipment has developed a creative solution that integrates an application rate control system with the IVT transmission of many John Deere tractors. As Prong explained, their rate controller actively adjusts the transmission of the tractor to maintain a consistent ground speed, which is highly critical in a dragline scenario for maintaining a consistent application rate.

In precision agriculture, as you start to use the technology you begin to create maps of your fields, allowing you to define and record not only where you’re putting down manure but also how much you’re putting down.

“That’s a plus for nutrient management,” said Prong. When you need to calculate how much commercial fertilizer to use above and beyond just manure, you’ll have accurate data.

Whether you have a GPS in your tractor or in the phone on your belt, or maybe you take a GPS unit out on the four-wheeler to chart your fields, you’ll still need some software to process the data.

Basically, software just helps to organize your data. The detailed records you bring in from the field will need to be stored and accessible since you will need to go back and analyze that information over time, both in the short term and over several years.

A number of office software products are available to do this and more programs are still in the development stage. Farm Works software has just officially released the Connected Farm app that runs on iPhones and Android smartphones. This allows you to do field scouting with a GPS enabled smartphone.

Data can be transferred from the tractor using a memory stick, but with wireless technology, that transfer can be done while you’re still out in the field. As soon as you’re done putting manure down you can send the details in to your office desktop computer wirelessly and software will automatically recognize it and file it for you, including the geographical locations in the field.

“Quite a few people haven’t gotten there yet – they’re physically moving their data from the tractor to the desktop, but I think this is the next step in precision agriculture,” said Prong. Looking to the future, he predicts that the next advancements will be in wireless transmission and software improvements.

Drag hoses don’t come cheap. Depending on the system, hoses can represent a substantial capital investment. Getting a long life out of your drag hoses is good for the bottom line.

But healthy hoses aren’t just good for the pocketbook; they are good for the body and spirit as well. No farmer wants the extra aggravation in the field mending a damaged hose.

Here are just a few simple steps for keeping your drag hoses in good condition and performing properly.

Clean before winding up
Prior to storage, hoses needs to be thoroughly cleaned.

Jim Hodel of Jim Hodel Inc. has worked with a lot of used equipment, and says one of the most important things a farmer can do to get the maximum life out of his hose is to clean it before storing it. “I advise him to run a Styrofoam pig through the hose before winding it up for storage,” says Hodel. “Wind it up clean.”

Wind up when not in use
Take the time to wind up the hose on a cart when it’s not in use. When a hose is lying on the field is when it’s most susceptible to damage, including extreme temperatures, oils, solvents and rodents.

“We don’t recommend letting the hose lay on the ground for extended periods of time,” says Hodel. “Critters will gnaw into it and we’ve even seen hunters shoot holes through it.”

Hodel adds that another risk of leaving your hoses out in the field is the risk of equipment being driven over them, and, although there are kits to mend drag hoses in the field, the life expectancy of the hose will definitely be shortened if it takes the beating of other machines.

Keep them out of the sun
Another reason for winding up and storing idle hoses on carts is to keep them out of the sun. In fact, storage in a barn is ideal.

While your hose is lying out in the field, the sun’s UV rays are working on every exposed square inch. Hodel says, “If the hose is wound up and stored, the sun can only reach the hose exposed at the top wheel.”

Roll with care
 Jeremy Puck of Puck Enterprises, a company that not only sells equipment but also spreads over 200 million gallons of manure a years, says it’s all about maintenance.

“We take for granted that once you roll hose up onto the cart it’s going to come off exactly like you put it on,” says Puck.

“Over the course of sitting all summer, there can be some deterioration of the hose that is exposed to sunlight. Also, the couplers can be pinched against other hoses on the reel. So, when you pull the hose off the wheel you could see some damage if you don’t take good care when rolling it up when you park it for the summer.”

Rate hoses before the season starts
Puck recommends inspecting and rating your hoses before you begin each season.

“Our company lays out the hoses and then we rate them. We color-code them by spray painting toward the end of the hose. Green would be a hose that is good and yellow is used on a hose that has some nicks and cuts – so we’d make sure not to use that hose near a ditch or water trough or anything like that.  We use the color red if the hose has had a splice put in it – if it was compromised at one point in its life — maybe a blowout or a tear or snagged on something.”

These colors let Puck Enterprises identify the hoses as they are coming off the cart “We know immediately if it’s a safe place to lay a hose or if we should choose to put it somewhere else,” says Puck.

Follow the pressure guidelines
Take the time to ensure the pressure in the hoses is at or below its rated working pressure. “The hose should have more burst pressure than working pressure,” says Hodel. “Otherwise, you may get in trouble.”

OSHA also suggests changing pressure gradually to prevent excessive surge pressures, as well as protecting hoses from severe end loads.

Ensure you’re getting maximum use of your pumps
Often an extra pump or a different pump placement can improve efficiency as well as add longevity to your hoses. At Puck Enterprises’ “pump school” applicators learn that there is a certain amount of math and physics that goes into spreading the load between hoses and maximizing flow.

“By teaching applicators how their pump can perform and what environment to run it in, we can usually increase their flow and they can get more work done in the same time just by putting their pump in the correct place.”

He adds, “If you have two miles of hose out, we always thought we should put the pump in the middle – one mile on each direction – but that’s not always true, depending on hose diameters and elevation and everything else. At the end of the day, getting as much done as we can is what we’re after because that’s how we get paid.”

Check your pumps
Your hose isn’t much good if your pump is in poor working order. Puck recommends a general inspection each season. It’s a good practice to remove the suction cover and check the wear ring and the impeller to make sure they are in good shape. If they show any damage or wear it’s a good time to replace them.

“You can also inspect the mechanical seal on the back of the pump to make sure it’s in good condition and not leaking or broken,” says Puck. “Also, change the oil and bearing case after every season. Pumps are pretty simple. “

Is distance of application changing?
As commercial fertilizer prices increase it becomes more economical for the farmer to have manure pumped farther distances.  This can be more of a challenge for the applicators but can be done in a safe manner with correct pump placement and monitoring hose pressures.

“We’re pumping a little bit farther than we used to, and we are probably doing it safer than ever before because of pump placement. We’re putting more booster pumps in line to keep our overall line pressures lower,” says Puck.

Hose longevity
How long can you expect your hoses to last? Well, that all depends on how you treat your hose, says Puck. “I would say five to seven years is probably an average life. But the first hose you buy never lasts as long as the last one you buy.”

Puck says this from experience. “We don’t inflict the damage to the hose that we used to. We know what to look for, how it behaves and how to work with it.” 

By following these simple steps you will not only be extending the life of your hose, but saving yourself time and money. And if you’re lucky, maybe you’ll get a boost in your efficiency as well. 

Jan. 18, 2013, Columbia, MO - The University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program along with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will hold the 2013 Annual Advanced Nutrient Management Course Feb. 5-6 at the MU Bradford Research Center, Columbia.

The course is open to anyone interested in learning more about managing nutrients on farms. The course will be of special benefit to those farms using animal manure as a fertilizer. It is highly recommended for manure applicators and those who write nutrient management plans in Missouri.

In addition to manure strategies and adjusting manure rates based on new manure tests, topics will include wheat fertilizer management, organic alfalfa production, cover crops and regulatory issues. Pre-registration is required and course cost is $200 for those registering on or before Jan. 29. Late registration cost is $230.

To register, contact Katrina Turner-Spencer at 573-882-0178 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Additional course information and the agenda are available online here or through contacting John Lory at (573) 884-7815 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

University of Wisconsin Extension and the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin teamed up in August 2012 for the North American Manure Expo with a theme of Professional Manure Management. That was a priority for close to 1,000 attendees from 19 states seeking information from commercial exhibitors, professional manure haulers, researchers and extension. Bringing all parties involved in manure together for this one-day event – from farmers to regulators to consultants – is part of an ongoing education and research program at the University of Wisconsin.

Manure pit agitation highlighted new technologies, including dredge boats and hand-held remotely controlled units.

“Pit agitation is the starting point for improving application uniformity that will lead to better crediting of the nutrients,” states Ted Bay, the expo planning chair and the Grant and Lafayette County crops and farm management agent for the University of Wisconsin Extension.

With a wide assortment of solid manure spreaders demonstrated in the field, participants could see the adaptation of load cells and how applicators can better control application rates. Rate control is important to ensure crop yields, to be in compliance with nutrient management plans and for record keeping.   

Several educational sessions discussed the cost to haul manure and the impact of that hauling on rural roads. During the demonstrations, a unique hose bridge showed participants how to move manure up and over the road, reducing travel distances for the hauler and creating less disruption of local traffic.  

Safety is always a top priority. The manure spill response demo included regulatory comments on expectations for environmental protection and cleanup and an opportunity to remind producers of the preventive measures to avert a spill.

A spill response plan that is documented and well communicated to all family and employees on the farm can avoid or greatly reduce the environmental impacts of an unfortunate manure spill.  

Educational sessions brought research and advances in manure management to the forefront, and there was no shortage of relevant issues to be explored. The conundrum of manure management is that, often, solving one condition creates unintended consequences. For example, no-till systems or lower-cost application methods may encourage surface-applied manure. Increasing the time between application and a rain event, as a mechanism to reduce phosphorus losses in runoff, was discussed by Peter Vadas, a research soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service based at the Dairy Forage Research Center in Wisconsin.

Nitrogen management gains the attention of many research projects. Injection or rapid incorporation is well known for reducing odors and losses from ammonia volatilization while other projects discussed how to utilize innovative
low-disturbance application equipment to also maintain surface residues.

Searching for that systems approach that increases nitrogen utilization by the crops, adding value both to the manure application and cropping system while at the same time reducing environmental impact, is the cumulative goal of all farmers and professional manure applicators.   

The 2012 Manure Expo was held at the USDA Dairy Forage Research Center Farm in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Additional information on the research and topics related to best management practices with manure handling and application can be found at the center’s website – – or at the University of Wisconsin –

Natalie Rector is a manure nutrient management field specialist with Michigan State University Extension.

November 15, 2012 – It was announced recently that Kelley Manufacturing had won a 2013 AE50 Award for its KMC 6400 Litter Windrower.

The KMC 6400 litter windrower forms windrows for composting bedding material in poultry houses, inverts the windrows, and spreads the bedding material for the next flock. Operators realize greater than 30 percent reduction in work time.

The KMC 6400 is PTO powered to maximize horsepower transfer from the tractor. Blade angle and position are adjustable with hydraulic cylinders. Hydraulic rear gauge wheels adjust the blade height, preventing floor gouging and allowing an even spread of litter. A floating hitch link keeps the blade parallel to the floor. The dual overlapping auger system has a rotation direction that reduces the dust thrown toward the operator and discharges material into the windrow instead of pushing it forward.

A discharge grill and chopper blade system breaks up large clumps of litter, releasing trapped ammonia and homogenizing moisture for more uniform composting.

The AE50 Awards are presented annually by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in recognition of that year’s product innovations in the areas of agricultural, food, and biological systems.

November 15, 2012 – It was recently announced that Jamesway Farm Equipment’s Pumpeller hybrid manure pump is one of several manure application and handling technologies that earned a 2013 AE50 Award.

The Pumpeller turbine integrates a propeller mixer in the center of a volute pump. The resulting hybrid ingests and homogenizes even the most difficult manure solids while taking less time and fuel.

The turbine produces two outputs simultaneously: a high-pressure cannon discharge and a high-volume propeller wash. Manure is actively pushed into the impeller blades around the outer edge of the turbine by the outward flow from the propeller core, providing improved cannon and load out performance in thicker slurry.

The turbine housing features large openings in the back wall that permit the excess flow exiting the propeller core to travel straight through the housing. The combined discharges of the cannon and the propeller create a high suction at the turbine inlet that pulls solids toward the pump.

The Pumpeller homogenizes solids as they pass through the turbine instead of relying on the cannon jet pressure or an external propeller.

The AE50 Awards are presented annually by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers in recognition of that year’s product innovations in the areas of agricultural, food, and biological systems.

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