In recent years, scientists around the world have made great progress in their attempts to recycle cattle manure, including turning it into natural fertilizer and biogas, but Eindhoven designer, Jalila Essaïdi didn't think they were efficient enough to solve the global manure surplus problem.
So, she started on her very own solution, one that approached animal waste as a valuable material that could be processed into useful products. The results of her work prove that manure really is worth its weight in gold.
Working in her BioArtLab, Essaïdi discovered that cow manure provided both the base for a new, bio-degradable material and the chemicals required to produce it.
She started by separating the waste, with the dry manure used to extract pure cellulose from the grass that cows eat. From the wet manure, she extracted acids used to create cellulose acetate, a natural liquid plastic. This was used to make fibers, which are later turned into fabric or bio-plastics, but it can also be freeze-dried to create an aerogel.
The new material was named Mestic, from mest, the Dutch word for manure. Essaïdi claims that it has the same properties as plastic derived from fossil fuels, but is bio-degradable. Better yet, the degradability can be tweaked in the lab, making it possible to create materials that last for different periods of time depending on their purpose. READ MORE
The three projects with the university are supported by the $27 million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP), to help the Canadian farming sector become a world leader in the development and use of clean and sustainable agricultural technologies and practices. These projects will also help farmers increase their understanding of GHG emissions.
The AGGP covers four priority areas of research: livestock systems, cropping systems, agricultural water use efficiency and agro-forestry.
"This is a significant investment in U of G research, innovation, and knowledge mobilization. All three of these projects will help improve life and protect our planet, from improving agroforestry practices, to developing crop fertilization methods that reduce emissions, to use of aerial devices to assess soil carbon levels and elevate precision agriculture," said Malcolm Campbell, Vice-President (research), University of Guelph
The new AGGP investments will continue to support the work of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which brings together 47 countries to find ways to grow more food without growing greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE
The investigation began following a complaint about chicken litter dumped in a crop field near the intake to an underground tile line.
On April 24, DNR discovered a certified commercial manure applicator from Iowa Falls had dumped the litter so he could remove his manure spreader, which had been stuck in a wet spot near the tile intake. Water samples from pooled water around the litter showed high ammonia levels where runoff entered the tile line.
The tile line was partially plugged, but investigators found some runoff flowed underground. Joined by several other tile lines, ammonia levels in the tile line were low by the time it flowed into a small, unnamed tributary of Maynes Creek. DNR staff found no dead fish in the stream.
"We recognize that accidents happen and some things can't be prevented," said Jeff Vansteenburg, supervisor of the Mason City DNR field office. "When something like this happens, several responses are possible including putting a plastic pipe over the tile inlet to keep runoff from going underground."
The custom applicator has worked to remove the litter and pump up ponded runoff. He has removed contaminated litter and runoff and land applied it to crop fields. Repairs to the tile line should occur this week, weather permitting.
DNR will continue to monitor the tile discharge and consider appropriate enforcement action.
The investment includes four projects aimed at improving manure control facilities:
- Chester County Conservation District and Elmer Kaufman received a $408,039 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including a concrete waste storage structure, gutters and downspouts, four catch basins and new pipes, as well as planting 900 feet of new grass waterways, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into Two Log Run during wet weather.
- Chester County Conservation District and Daniel Esh received a $350,467 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including more than 1,000 square feet of paved and curbed barnyard as well as 14,400 square feet of reinforced gravel animal trail, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of the East Branch of Octoraro Creek during wet weather.
- Chester County Conservation District and Fiddle Creek Dairy received a $245,494 grant to install a roofed manure stacking structure, a watering facility, underground outlets, as well as animal trails and walkways that will serve to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of Big Beaver Creek during wet weather.
- Chester County Conservation District and David Stoltzfus received a $347,055 grant to make a variety of improvements it manure handling facilities as well as installing reinforced gravel animal walkways, a stream crossing and streambank fencing, all of which will reduce nutrient run-off into Muddy Run during wet weather.
Of the $39 million, $18.2 million is allocated for low-interest loans and $20.8 million is awarded through grants.
The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. READ MORE
"Livestock are significant emission contributors," says Dr. Sean McGinn of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a long-time researcher in the emissions area. "That's quite clear and generally recognized by the agricultural research community."
Fifty to 60 percent of feed nitrogen is lost as ammonia at the feedlot. Eight to 10 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and 90 percent of the atmospheric ammonia comes from cattle manure. Ammonia in the atmosphere is an economic loss because the nitrogen fertilizer potential of manure is lowered. And it's a health hazard. Ammonia mixes with acid to form fine aerosols, the white haze seen in confined airsheds.
"We know beef feedlots are 'hot spots' of ammonia emissions on the landscape, but we didn't know as much about the dynamics of ammonia emissions from feedlots. For example we didn't have real numbers from actual feedlots on how much is emitted, how much is deposited on nearby soil and how much re-emission occurs when that happens."
That's what McGinn and his colleague Dr. Tom Flesch (University of Alberta) set out to understand. Backed by funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), a two-year project investigated the fate of nitrogen in feedlots, what amount is deposited on land downwind and how much is carried long distances.
The other part of their research involves measuring methane and nitrous oxide, two prominent greenhouse gasses. Methane is produced by cattle due to the anaerobic digestion of feed in the cow's rumen and both nitrous oxide and methane come from stored manure in the pens.
The research produced significant results on several fronts from techniques to measure on a commercial scale, to new information on transfer, deposits and re-emission to nearby lands, to related opportunities for mitigation and management.
New measuring techniques
One major positive outcome was the development of new measuring technology adapted from what has been used successfully for measuring flare emissions in the oil and gas industry.
Using open path lasers that move over the feedlot and calculate concentration and wind characteristics, the system is able to measure emissions regardless of wind direction.
Measuring in real world situations offers some significant advantages to the more standard research protocols of using animals in individual chambers to measure emissions, says McGinn.
This new technique evaluates the feedlot as a whole, which means it can consider whole-unit management aspects which impact emissions. Also, by keeping animals in their natural environment and not interfering with them in any way, the laser approach promises more accurate, commercial scale results.
On a bigger picture level, this means actual feedlot emission numbers can be used in greenhouse gas assessments, an improvement from past practices of using estimates from global sources.
Early results show surprises
One of the surprises learned from this study was the fact that a significant fraction of ammonia was deposited on the land adjacent to the feedlot and, once deposited, how much was reemitted into the atmosphere.
"Our results illustrate the dynamics of reactive ammonia in the vicinity of a beef cattle feedlot," says McGinn. "It confirmed that a large portion of the nitrogen fed as crude protein is volatized from the feedlot's cattle manure. In the local vicinity of a feedlot, both ammonia deposition (14 percent of the emitted ammonia) and reemission occurred. That 14 percent is a large amount considering a typical feedlot emits one to two tonnes of ammonia per day."
There was a change in the soil captured ammonia that decreased with distance from the feedlot (50 percent over 200 m).
Logically it follows that quantifying the local dry ammonia deposition to surrounding fields is required when applying feedlot-based emissions to a large-scale emissions inventory, says McGinn. Failure to do that could mean badly misrepresenting the real situation.
"We need better emissions numbers to anchor effective public policy and fairly represent the feedlot industry in that data pool," says McGinn. "It's important to have research done before policy is set. The U.S. cattle feeding industry already has specific ammonia emission targets in place."
Related scientific paper here: "Ammonia Emission from a Beef Cattle Feedlot and Its Dry Local Deposition and Re-Emission."
Officials with the North American Manure Expo – being held August 22 and 23, 2017, in Arlington, Wisc. – are hoping to update the event's collectible T-shirt, an annual favorite among attendees. So, the hunt is now on for some of the crappiest slogans out there.
Spread the word or provide your own "deposit." Slogans are being collected through June 15, 2017, and can be submitted at: http://www.agannex.com/administrative/manure-expo/crappiest-t-shirt-slogan or by visiting manureexpo.org and following the links.
The top 50 slogans received – as decided by expo planners – will be voted on by the public with the top 10 going on the back of the 2017 Manure Expo T-shirt.
Anyone who submits a slogan that makes the T-shirt will receive a free shirt. Your friends will be brown with envy.
The brainchild of Rob Meinen, a senior associate with Penn State University Extension, the "Top 10 Rejected Manure Expo Slogans" T-shirt has become the must-have wardrobe item since 2015. During the first T-shirt slogan contest, more than 750 manure-themed messages were collected from participants all over the world. Planners are hoping for even more "offal" entries this year.
To help inspire, here are some of the top slogans from the 2015 Crappy T-shirt Contest:
• NOBODY sticks their nose in our business
• Immerse yourself
• Where no one stands behind their product
• You provide the creek, we provide the paddle
• Rated M for manure
• You name the species – we've got the feces
• Nature called – it wants its nutrients back
• Our grass is always greener
• Be part of the movement
• The incredible spreadable
• The future of what's left behind
Give into the pressure and dig deep. It's your "doody."
March 23, 2017, Emeryville, CA – New Logic Research recently announced the successful commissioning of a VSEP vibrating membrane system to make clean water from digested cow manure.
The VSEP system, located in the Italian Alps region of Wipptal, takes the effluent from an anaerobic digester and transforms it into clean water which can either be reused or safely discharged to the environment. The project was implemented with the expert assistance of O.B. Impianti, New Logic's distribution partner in Northern Italy.
Although cows have a simple diet, the digestive system of ruminant animals makes for complicated wastewater treatment scenarios. VSEP's vibratory shear mechanism, coupled with a filter pack design means, it can create crystal clear permeate from water heavily laden with biological material like cow manure.
"Digesters are great at making green power and reducing contaminant levels in the waste, but in most cases, further treatment of the liquid effluent is still necessary,” said Greg Johnson, CEO of New Logic. “Many have tried to treat digester effluent with standard spiral-wound reverse osmosis membrane systems only to find that it's incredibly difficult, if not impossible. That's why VSEP is a perfect fit for digester effluent treatment: you get the reverse osmosis separation you desire, but deployed in a robust system designed to tackle the world's toughest applications."
The Wipptal project is a cooperative one, taking cow manure from more than three-dozen local farmers. The liquid manure is transported to the treatment facility where more than 60 percent of it is transformed into clean water, while the remainder is turned into concentrated organic fertilizer. The only pretreatment between the digester and the VSEP is a 100-micron screening device to remove large particles from the feed material.
O.B. Impianti and New Logic are already building on the success of the Wipptal installation – they are currently working on two additional installations on the continent, where EU funding is frequently available for such projects.
February 24, 2017, The Netherlands – A storm that hit the Netherlands on Feb. 23 damaged a manure silo in Aalten, Gelderland, to such an extent that some three million liters of manure leaked out into the town, AD reports.
The leak was discovered the morning of Feb. 24. The ditches in the town are full of manure and it looks like the Schaarsbeek is also contaminated. A number of streets are also flooded. READ MORE
January 30, 2017, Eyota, MN – A MN dairy farmer found himself in a nightmarish situation Monday night when a valve broke on the liquid manure tank.
But a supervisor for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency said the farmer did an excellent job containing the spill and notifying officials. His quick action prevented environmental damage. READ MORE
January 17, 2017, Winona, MN – A proposal to expand two area hog farms encountered resistance recently when several area residents raised concerns about water quality and odor at informational meeting with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Holden Farms, of Northfield, MN.
January 16, 2017, Baltimore, MD – Supporters say the Perdue AgriRecycle facility a few miles from the Maryland state line is one solution for chicken farmers on the Eastern Shore who need to get rid of manure.
Along with the chicken litter, the Perdue facility receives hundreds of thousands of state taxpayer dollars each year. A state program reimburses farmers, brokers and poultry companies for half of their costs to haul manure around Delmarva and beyond. Perdue is one of the largest beneficiaries. READ MORE
January 16, 2017, Deerfield, MA — The 500 Holstein cows chewing in the Bar-Way Farms barn don’t seem to notice, but something exciting is happening with their manure.
And when spring arrives, farmer Peter Melnick says, he’ll be thrilled to be spreading a liquid fertilizer from the new $5 million electricity- and heat-producing waste digester that’s getting ready for operation. READ MORE
January 16, 2017, Little Rock, AR — How high is too high for a pile of chicken manure? Eight feet, apparently.
To reduce the risk of fire from spontaneous combustion, poultry experts are warning farmers that piles 6.5- to 7-feet high are high enough. One pile caught fire in western Arkansas recently, triggering a wildfire that destroyed a mobile home. READ MORE
January 16, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – A new tool to help mitigate phosphorus run-off risk will soon be available.
Over the past three years, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and the Intensive Livestock Working Group have been collaborating to build a simple, personalized farm management decision-support tool designed to help manage phosphorus run-off. The Alberta Phosphorus Management Tool, expected to be available in late spring, is a free, Excel-based tool for assessing phosphorus run-off risk. READ MORE
Crystal Creamery operates an industrial wastewater pretreatment system to remove organic contaminants from water before the clarified water is discharged to the City of Modesto’s Publicly Owned Treatment Works. Organic by-products are removed and then transported to nearby Fiscalini Cheese Company, which has an anaerobic digestion facility. The by-products are combined with manure and other food waste to produce electricity and valuable commodities such as fertilizer and cow bedding.
- divert dairy by-products from disposal
- generate renewable energy
- produce fertilizer and animal bedding, and
- support closed loop and zero waste operations.
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World Pork Expo 2017Wed Jun 07, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Wisconsin Farm Technology Days 2017Tue Jul 11, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Empire Farm Days 2017Tue Aug 08, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Dakotafest 2017Tue Aug 15, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
North American Manure Expo 2017Tue Aug 22, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Farm Progress Show 2017Tue Aug 29, 2017 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM