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Liquid manure project launched in Alberta


June 1, 2009
By manure manager

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The Alberta government has joined forces with several counties in the
province plus the local agriculture industry to launch a four-year
project aimed at increasing the amount of liquid dairy manure being
injected or applied through surface banding.
The Alberta government has joined forces with several counties in the province plus the local agriculture industry to launch a four-year project aimed at increasing the amount of liquid dairy manure being injected or applied through surface banding.

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A four-year project, dedicated to increasing the amount of liquid manure injected or surface banded in the province, was recently launched by the Alberta government, several counties in the province and the local agricultural industry.
Photo by Margaret Land


 

The project, which hopes to reduce the amount of manure-applied nitrogen being lost to the atmosphere and reduce odor from liquid manure application, was launched in the fall of 2008. It involves Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Red Deer County, Leduc County, the County of Wetaskiwin, Alberta Milk plus Reduced Tillage Linkages, and targets dairy producers, custom manure applicators and other stakeholders in the three partnering counties.

“We’re looking at increasing the adoption of liquid manure injection or surface banding application technology,” said Stephanie Kosinski, a forage specialist at the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Ag Info Centre. “(We’re) trying to get those dairy producers that have liquid manure moving from traditional broadcast and incorporation to liquid manure injection or surface banding,”

During the first year of the project, four demonstration sites were established – one large-scale demo plot, which was set up with custom applicators in the area, and three smaller scale demonstration plots that use smaller application equipment. Surveys were also mailed out to all dairy producers and custom manure applicators in the three partnering counties to determine current manure handling and application practices. Two producer appreciation days were also held during February 2009 in Millet and Innisfail, Alberta.

“At those days we invited the dairy producers that participated in our surveys as well as some of the councilors and ag service members from our participating counties,” explained Kosinski. “We kind of just went over where we’re at with the surveys and gave some information on the value of manure, some of the new manure calculators we have coming out and getting their input on what they would like to see and where they would like the project to go this year.”

Currently, researchers are examining the data collected from the producer surveys. There are plans to establish additional plots this year and host field days during the summer and fall.

“We will invite those producers who participated with us and maybe even some others who are interested to come out and see our plots,” said Kosinski. “(They can) look at the types of injection equipment available, how they operate in the field and look at some of the benefits of moving toward surface banding or injecting liquid manure.”

It’s also hoped the project researchers can work one-on-one with the involved dairy producers to examine the economics of moving from broadcast to liquid manure injection.

During years three and four of the project, researchers hope to continue with the demonstration plots and collect yield data. There are also plans to continue with field days and workshops to help educate producers about different manure calculators and how to sample liquid manure.

“We’ll probably be doing some more economic analysis and a bit more extension work,” said Kosinski. “We’ll keep touching base with the dairy producers we’re working with as well as the counties and see where their needs are and what they would like to see.”