Animal Housing
It’s a beautiful spring day as you drive along a country road. The sun is out and your windows are rolled down when suddenly an offensive odor hits you right in the nostrils. Someone hit a skunk. What is it about this smell that makes it so offensive? Does this have any relation to the odor of livestock manure?
Published in Air quality
Research is underway in southern Alberta to assess how housing feedlot cattle in roller compacted concrete (RCC) floor pens compares to traditional clay floor pens.

Traditionally, feedlot pen floors in Alberta are constructed of compacted clay. Annual feedlot pen maintenance requires clay to repair damaged pen floors, which can significantly add to input costs and the environmental footprint of feedlots.

Constructing feedlot pen floors with RCC is one possible sustainable solution for stabilizing the pen floors, subsequently improving efficiencies of feedlot operations and animal performance, among other potential benefits.

This research project aims to assess the social, environmental, technological and economic performance - positive, negative or neutral - associated with housing feedlot cattle in RCC floor pens versus traditional clay floor pens. Examples of a few objectives being examined are animal welfare, water runoff, emissions, manure volume, durability and strength of pen floor, as well as average daily gain.

This project is anticipated to be completed by February 2019. For more information, contact Ike Edeogu, technology development engineer with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, at 780-415-2359.
Published in Beef
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding livestock producers to review changes made to standard animal weights that take effect in 2019.

These new weights could reclassify some livestock farms as Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), requiring those farms to adopt new levels of compliance with nutrient management laws. | READ MORE 
Published in State
Sioux Center, IA — Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges.

Beth Doran, beef specialist for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says that one of the first things to check is the structural strength of the livestock buildings, electrical equipment, and safety of the water systems. She says that the potential for flooded or spilled pesticides, fuel or oil spills and flooded grain bins should also be monitored.

Doran said taking care of animals is a priority.

She says moving cattle to drier areas is critical as wet feet can lead to foot rot and lameness. Producers will also want to watch for other signs of health issues and make sure their vaccination programs are current since soil and water-borne diseases can be present for months following flooding. According to Doran, there is also the potential for grazing animals to swallow storm debris, such as nails and staples. Consequently, cattle should be monitored for hardware disease. | READ MORE
Published in News
The foul scent of manure is a fact of life in the country. Sometimes it smells like home. Other times the stink is bad enough to wrinkle your nose as you urgently roll up the car windows.

Odor management rules are among the many regulations defining how animal farmers handle never ending piles of manure or the way it is spread on fields for fertilizer.

The spread of manure by Pennsylvania farmers is regulated to keep pollutants from seeping into the air and waterways.

A bill moving quickly through the state Legislature would remove an advisory panel with input on those regulations, the Nutrient Management Advisory Board, and replace it with a new panel, the Farm Animal Advisory Board, broadening the scope of oversight and changing the make-up of the members to mostly large farmers. The move minimizes the role of environmentalists, critics say. | READ MORE
Published in State
Last June, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board (RB5) adopted a General Order for Confined Bovine Feeding Operations (R5- 2017-0058). Heifer operations and feedyards that supplement feed (confine animals) more than 45 days a year are covered by this Order and include: Calf ranches, dairy heifer operations, stockyards, finishing yards, auction yards, veal calf facilities, and corrals or other confinement areas used to finish cattle for slaughter at grazing operations.

What is not covered: Corrals that are an integral part of a grazing or pasture operation.

This order covers limited time operations (auction yards), smaller facilities (with less than 100 animal units), and all other facilities. Although there are reduced monitoring and reporting requirements for the auction yards and smaller facilities, all facilities need to submit a Notice of Intent.

RB5 staff identify more than 800 facilities will be covered under this Order. | READ MORE 
Published in News
Fine Swine knows how to do things large. In 2017, the Ohio-based swine farm with more than 11 locations and 30,000 sows, built a 6,200-head sow gestation barn, incorporating a dual permanent mass agitation system.
Published in Swine
Annapolis, MD – The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland recently addressed an appeal of a Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County decision upholding Maryland Department of the Environment permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations under the Clean Water Act’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program.

Food and Water Watch and the Assateague Coastal Trust challenged Maryland’s permit restrictions both during open public comments before promulgation and in Circuit Court following the permits finalization.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is authorized to delegate Clean Water Act permitting requirements to the states. The states may promulgate regulations with a narrower scope. The issue in this case was whether MDE’s restriction was consistent with the requirements with state and federal laws, including the CWA. READ MORE
Published in State
New components were added to a Missouri House bill that would exempt agricultural storm runoff and other agricultural practices from the Missouri clean water law. One is meant to appease the concerns of some Missouri citizens and environmentalists.

House Bill 1973, sponsored by Rep. John Wiemann, R-O'Fallon, was discussed in a Senate committee hearing recently after previously being approved in the House. | READ MORE
Published in News
You might wonder what dry weather and feedlot runoff would have in common. On the one hand, a spell of dry weather can cause expanding areas of moderate drought and dry soils. But dry conditions also make for an excellent time to maintain your feedlot runoff control system.
Published in Beef
Carroll County, M.D. - After years of complaints from residents, the Carroll County Commissioners are now considering increasing the distance of confined animal feeding operations from neighbors' homes.

Unfortunately, that doesn't help the group of people who came to the April 2 commissioners' meeting asking for relief from an 8,000-hog operation that is now planning to add another 10,000 hogs. | READ MORE
Published in News
Kankakee Sands, IN - A prominent statewide conservation organization has weighed in on a proposed dairy facility in Newton County.

In a press release, The Indiana Audubon Society expressed formal opposition to the proposed Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) on property located next to The Nature Conservancy's Efroymson Restoration at Kankakee Sands.

The proposed CAFO, built by Natural Prairie Dairy, LLC, a Texas owned company, will annually produce more than 26 million gallons of urine, feces and contaminated wastewater, as stated in their permit application with Indiana Department of Environmental Management. | READ MORE
Published in News
Pipestone, MI - Six new feedlots were built and two existing feedlots expanded in Pipestone County in 2017.

The additional six feedlots brought the number of feedlots in the county that are required to be registered to 447, according to an annual feedlot report the county must submit to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

The MPCA requires feedlots capable of holding 50 or more animal units, or 10 or more animal units in shore land areas, to be registered. | READ MORE
Published in News
Rooterdam, Netherlands - Construction has begun on a floating farm that will be moored in a harbour in Rotterdam.

Three floating platforms will support 40 cows that will live partially on the 1,200 sq m farm. They will produce around 800 litres of milk per day, which will be sold locally, and will be able to cross to terra firma.

The cows can also find shade behind trees on board the farm and will be milked by a robot, allowing them to choose when they will be milked. The building will be made of concrete, with galvanized steel frames and a special membrane in the floor that lets bovine urine soak through. | READ MORE
Published in News
Boardman, OR - An imperiled mega-dairy near Boardman will be allowed to continue operating under a settlement it reached with state regulators Wednesday.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture agreed to let Lost Valley Farm, a 7,288-acre ranch permitted to house 30,000 cows, to produce massive amounts of wastewater and manure, despite a year of repeated violations of its permits. The state had threatened in a February lawsuit to temporarily shut down its operations.

Under the new agreement, Lost Valley can generate up to 65,000 gallons of wastewater per day compared with the 514,000 the dairy estimated it would need. It also must comply with other terms of its permit, such as notifying the state if there is a wastewater or manure spill. And the dairy must remove 24.4 million gallons of liquid manure from its overloaded storage facilities by summer, so that it can avoid polluting local water sources during a heavy rainstorm. | For the full story, click here
Published in News
Ithaca, N.Y. - A major study led by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine researchers reveals for the first time that water troughs on farms are a conduit for the spread of toxic E. coli in cattle, which can then spread the pathogen to people through bacteria in feces. The study was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Water troughs appeared in our mathematical model as a place where water can get contaminated and a potential place where we could break the cycle," said Renata Ivanek, associate professor of epidemiology and the paper's senior author. The hypothesis was then tested in the field – with surprising results.

People commonly acquire infections from shiga toxin-producing E. coli through cow feces-contaminated beef and salad greens. The main shiga toxin-producing strain, E. coli 0157:H7, causes more than 63,000 illnesses per year and about 20 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Though cows carry and spread E. coli 0157:H7 when they defecate, the bacteria do not make them sick. For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in Beef
February 26, 2018, Des Moines, IA – Recent application denials at the county level mean more Iowans see the need for a moratorium on new factory farms, according to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association said a moratorium on hog farms would devastate Iowa's economy and livestock producers. READ MORE
Published in Swine
An over-wintering cow-calf beef herd produces manure – quite a lot of it.
Published in Beef
January 19, 2018, Holland, MN – The Pipestone County Board of Adjustments, over the objections of a handful of residents, approved a variance allowing a local farm to build a feedlot located less than a mile from the city limits of Holland.

A variance was required because the county’s zoning ordinance prohibits new feedlots or expansions of existing feedlots within one mile of “the corporate limits of any incorporated community.” The proposed location is 220 feet short of the required mile. READ MORE
Published in Regional
January 17, 2018, Little Rock, AR – Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied the application for a permit to a Mt. Judea area hog operation, according to a letter issued by the agency's director on Jan. 10.

In response, the farm owner filed a request for a stay of the state's decision before the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, the appellate body for ADEQ. The farmers released a statement calling the department's decision to deny their permit request "politically motivated." The statement says the Newton County farm hasn't had any environmental violations since opening nearly five years ago. READ MORE
Published in Swine
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