Manure Manager

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In the NEWS: May/June 2009

June 1, 2009  by Manure Manager

Trevor Borduzak knew he wanted to be a custom applicator since he was
eight years old and rode in the three-wheeled TerraGator that was
spreading fertilizer on his family farm.
Canadian Ag-Chem Operator of the Year named
Trevor Borduzak knew he wanted to be a custom applicator since he was eight years old and rode in the three-wheeled TerraGator that was spreading fertilizer on his family farm.

That commitment to the job made the 12-year veteran applicator from Legal, Alberta, the winner of the 2008 Canadian Ag-Chem Operator of the Year contest and the owner of a new Arctic Cat.

Borduzak works for Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers, Ltd., and was named the Operator of the Year during the 2009 Canadian Association of Agri Retailers (CAAR) Conference in Regina, Sask.

“I was shocked this all took place,” Borduzak said. “Getting nominated for the Operator of the Year award was an honor in itself, and winning the award has been amazing. There are a lot of people out there who work really hard. And, I can’t be a good operator without all the people behind me to help make it happen. It was quite humbling to hear they thought that much of me.”

Borduzak began working for Sturgeon Valley Fertilizers after high school. “I really like the machines,” he said. “There aren’t many people who get the opportunity to run iron like this.” And, starting a relationship with a new Ag-Chem dealership, Selmac Sales, with locations in Camrose and Stony Plain, Alberta, he’s been able to keep his TerraGator running smoothly.

Great custom applicators must know what they are doing in the field at all times, Borduzak added. “You need to have knowledge in several areas – agronomy, crop inputs, technology – and understand all phases of the production cycle in order to do your job well. It’s important to know crop planning, crop production and crop nutrition. If you are involved in all of that you are going to be a better operator, because you want that much more to come out of the job you do.”

Borduzak sprays up to 20,000 acres per year, and runs the floater over an additional 15,000 acres. When he’s not spraying or spreading, he farms 1,200 acres of canola, oats and barley, and raises cattle.

The other three finalists for the 2008 Canadian Ag-Chem Operator of the Year program were: Jason Morrow, Double Diamond Farm Supply, Pilot Mound, Manitoba; Gordon Moore, KARE Ag Services, Radisson, Saskatchewan; and Norman Schmidt, Platinum Farm Services, Ltd., Smoky Lake, Alberta.

Recognizing the importance of honoring the unsung contributors in a successful custom application business, the Ag-Chem Canadian Operator of the Year program was introduced in 2007 with the help of CAAR. Judging criteria includes experience, quality of work, customer service, community involvement, customer appreciation and overall dedication to the job.

“We started this program to recognize the good work of our customers,” said Mark Sharitz, director of marketing for Ag-Chem. “They are the guys on the machines doing their best work all day, and who are always willing to work when called on.”

Pine River Ranch wins 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award
The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) recently announce that Amos and Heidi Brielmann are the winners of the 2009 Environmental Stewardship Award (TESAward), sponsored by RBC Royal Bank and OCA.

The Brielmanns operate a 1500 head cow/calf ranch near Pinewood, Ont., and were nominated for the award by Kim Jo Bliss, a fellow producer in the Rainy River District.

Pine River Ranch (PRR) has a goal of making a profit with healthy cows, healthy land and healthy family. The Brielmanns continue to make improvements that not only benefit the environment but also the livestock they raise – which should, in turn, increase productivity as well as profitability.

“Here in Rainy River we are truly lucky to have such an environmental role model and steward,” said Bliss. “Amos Brielmann, his wife Heidi and children, Susanne and Timo, have worked hard on their farm and are very deserving of this award. They have undertaken numerous environmental improvements. Not only have many been completed, and more are in progress, as the family works to continuously improve their operation.”

PRR operates approximately 2000 hectares of hay and pasture land, breeding 600 Angus/Angus Cross beef cows – wintering all calves and grazing them the following year. Examples of environmental projects undertaken include fenced off waterways and installation of solar pumps (a real challenge was to provide fresh water for up to 600 calves, even when it is -40 degrees C).

“The family and staff at Pine River Ranch have been the active force behind achieving the goals we have set out for ourselves,” says Brielmann. “We have also been fortunate enough to have support from the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Rainy River Soil and Crop Improvement Association, the Rainy River First Nation’s Watershed Program, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Green Cover Canada Plan.”

The Brielmanns have created riparian areas over 12 kilometers and expanded their wintering lots from seven hectares to 43 hectares, which in turn has reduced the animal density to less than five animal units per hectare. More than 15,000 trees have been planted on the ranch. The Low Water Cattle Crossings that have been installed are very impressive. One of PRRs major improvements – installing the solar watering system – has proven to be very beneficial to the Rainy River District. Since the Brielmanns started the remote watering systems, there was a strong acceptance from the larger farmer community. These systems have provided many others with the tools to be able to fence off creeks, rivers and dugouts.

PRR has also been helping other farmers to design solar-powered winter watering systems. These systems have given others the option to feed cows during the winter months away from the conventional barnyard. This practice is reducing the manure loads in the farmyards during the winter and in the spring with runoffs.

The Brielmanns will go on to represent Ontario at the National Environmental Stewardship Award competition to be held the week of August 9, in Regina, Sask.

ADI Group creates new position
ADI Group Inc. recently announced the addition of Noel Eustace (Jr.) to the ADI team.

ADI Group created the new position of manager of marketing and sales for ADI Systems Inc. and Geomembrane Technologies Inc. (GTI), two of ADI’s companies. This new position allows ASI and GTI to place greater emphasis on worldwide marketing and sales efforts.

Eustace comes to ADI with more than 20 years experience in marketing, sales and business management, plus strong academic credentials (BBA, Acadia and MBA U. de Moncton). His background in sales management complements the strong technical abilities of existing staff at both ASI and GTI.

The ADI group of companies offers a range of services including design-build, project and construction management services plus planning, architectural design and consulting engineering.

California dairy group sticking to rules
Members of the Western United Dairymen (WUD) are continuing to follow California air quality rules even after they were suspended in May.

Recently, the environmental group the Association of Irritated Residents (AIR) won a court order directing the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) to suspend the air quality rules pending further study. The group challenged the air quality rules believing they weren’t tough enough.

WUD president Ray Souza said the organization’s members continue to follow the air quality rules. “This is not a responsibility that dairy families will shy away from,” he said “We are proud of the role that we play, along with our fellow Californians, in making our state a better place to live.”

The San Joaquin Valley district has prepared a draft health assessment that is available for public review and comment. District staff recommended at the May board meeting that the rule’s enforcement be suspended until the health study is completed. The board will consider the health study at its June meeting and decide whether to re-adopt the rule in its original form or to direct staff to being the public process for amending the rule.

“We are disappointed that attorneys representing AIR rejected our proposal to leave the rule in place and continue the progress that we have made in significantly reducing dairy emissions,” said Seyed Sadredin, the air district’s executive director and air pollution control officer. “Setting the rule aside at the peak of the valley’s ozone season is not in the best interest of the valley residents.”

Continued growth in digester projects
There are now 125 livestock manure anaerobic digester systems in operation in the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

An additional 26 systems are currently under construction and another 70 digester projects are planned states a report recently released by the EPA’s AgStar program.

In 113 of the operational systems, the captured biogas is used to generate electrical power, with many of the farms recovering waste heat for the electricity-generating equipment for on-farm use. These systems generate about 244,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year. The remaining 12 systems use the gas in boilers, upgrade the gas for injection into a natural gas pipeline, or simply flare the captured gas for odor control. Most digester systems (78 percent) operate at dairy farms and are largely concentrated in the Midwest, West, and Northeast.

The majority of commercially operating digesters (78 percent) are plug flow and complete mix systems operating at mesophilic temperatures (95ºF – 105ºF). The next most popular system is covered lagoons, operating at ambient temperature. More specific details about the systems are posted in AgSTAR’s Anaerobic Digester Database.

Although the majority of systems are still farm-owned and operated with only livestock manure as the feedstock, other approaches are emerging. These include the codigestion of high strength organic wastes (e.g., food processing wastes) to increase gas production per unit volume of reactor; third-party owned/operated systems; centralized systems handling manure from multiple farms; and direct gas sales to customers or gas utilities.

New $500,000 biomass grant program

The Ohio Department of Development is currently accepting proposals for $500,000 in funding available for the Biomass – Waste to Energy Program.

The funding is available to projects that demonstrate technologies that utilize farm waste to produce energy in Ohio’s farming communities

The Biomass – Waste to Energy program is funded through the Advanced Energy Fund administered by the Ohio Department of Development’s Ohio Energy Office. The program encourages private investment in projects that use anaerobic digestion or similar technologies to produce electricity, thermal energy and/or conditioned methane gas from farm waste. Eligible projects must demonstrate completion within two years, job creation and retention during the construction and operation phases, and the use of Ohio manufactured components and/or ownership by an Ohio partnership or company. One award of $500,000 or two awards of $250,000 will be selected through a competitive process.

For more information about the program and funding requirements, visit: .

Applicator saves the day

Quick action by a manure applicator kept a 4,000-gallon manure spill from becoming worse.

According to a report in the Globe Gazette, Tim McCandless was land-applying manure when a line supplying manure to the applicator came undone. McCandless constructed a berm across a ditch on the farm to keep the manure from flowing downstream.

The spilled manure was pumped up and land applied.

Officials with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources praised the quick action and urged producers to have emergency plans in place.

“Alertness and fast action on the part of the applicator had helped avoid further contamination,” said Jeff Vansteenburg, supervisor of the Iowa DNR’s field office in Mason City.

Funding available to reduce air emissions in California
Farmers interested in reducing air quality emissions are invited to apply for 2008 federal Farm Bill funding.

“The primary goal of this new portion of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is to help farmers and ranchers attain the standards set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS),” said Ed Burton, California State Conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

There are 36 counties in California eligible to use the new funds to help achieve compliance with the ambient air quality standards for eight hour ozone and PM10 and PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 10 and 2.5 microns, respectively). The eligible counties are: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura, and Yolo.

NRCS has worked with academic, conservation, regulatory and industry groups to identify agricultural practices that will reduce ozone precursors [oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)] and particulate matter [respirable (PM10) and fine (PM2.5)] emissions from agricultural sources. Applications will be ranked according to the amount of emission reductions achieved in the proposed plan.

Funded practices include the NRCS’ combustions system air emissions management practice to improve high polluting, fully functional engines with newer, reduced-emission technologies that meet or exceed current emission standards. Stationary, portable and heavy-duty off-road mobile systems will be included. Other covered air quality practices will include conservation tillage, dust control on farm roads, precision pest control, and manure injection.

For the complete list of practices and for information on how payments will be calculated, see or visit a local NRCS conservationist.


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