Livestock Production
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
The Iowa Pork Producers Association is again partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to offer funding for pig farmers interested in new nutrient loss reduction technologies.

IPPA has provided $25,000 to IDALS to be used for various projects over the next year.

The funds will help offset up to 50 percent of the costs for pig farmers to install saturated buffers or bioreactors on their farmland.

Preference will be given to sites that provide the greatest opportunity for nitrate reduction and be geographically dispersed throughout the state to aid in education and demonstration opportunities. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in News
Beef cattle feedlot, Simplot Feeders, LLP has agreed to pay a reduced fine and invest in a project that reduces small-particle pollution at their operation in Walla Walla County.

In 2015, the Washington Department of Ecology fined the company $50,000 for failing to manage air pollution, including dust and dried manure. Fine particles like dust can cause health problems for people who are exposed frequently and at high enough levels.

Ecology reduced the amount to be paid to $35,000 as part of the settlement agreement. Also, Simplot agreed to pay $5,000 of the fine, and use the remainder to fund a project to help improve air quality. The project includes paving a high-traffic area to significantly reduce dust from vehicles driving in and out of the facility.

The settlement also requires Simplot to update the facility's dust control plan to strengthen measures that prevent particle pollution. The plan calls for improved staff training, using water to control dust from roadways and cattle pens, and daily monitoring to determine if dust control practices need to be adjusted.

The Pollution Control Hearings Board dismissed Simplot's appeal of the penalty on April 3, 2018.
Published in News
Installation and construction are complete on a DVO Inc. anaerobic digester at Ar-Joy Farm, a dairy farm in Cochranville, Pennsylvania.

This is DVO's first installation in Pennsylvania, bringing the number of states with a DVO digester to 19. Its patented digester system has also been constructed in six foreign countries.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a collection of processes by which naturally occurring microorganisms transform waste into valuable byproducts in a controlled, oxygen-free environment.

DVO's patented Two-Stage Linear Vortex anaerobic digester is unlike any other technology. Traditional AD technologies featuring above-ground tanks are inefficient and costly to operate.

"We are honored to be working with Marilyn and Duane Hershey (owners of Ar-Joy), a couple long admired in their community and acclaimed in the dairy industry for their advocacy and leadership. Marilyn serves as chair of Dairy Management, Inc. and in 2017 was named Dairy Woman of the Year at the World Dairy Expo. Duane serves on the Land O'Lakes Board of Directors," said Steve Dvorak, president of DVO. "We know they are dedicated to environmental sustainability and are proud they chose to implement DVO's digester technology."

The DVO anaerobic digester processes the waste from Ar-Joy's 700 milking cows, as well as local organic waste streams. Currently the farm is adding waste from a potato chip company three times a week and is seeking additional feedstocks for the digester.

The biogas generated from the waste streams is powering a 300-kW gen-set which delivers renewable electricity to the local grid. The farm has a net-metering program with its local utility which allows the farm to lower its electrical costs by off-setting the power from its electrical meters. Any excess generated power not used by the dairy is sold to the utility.

The dairy is utilizing the separated digested solids for bedding, having previously bedded with sand. The digested liquid is stored in a lagoon to be applied as fertilizer on to growing crops, increasing crop yield and reducing the likelihood of nutrient runoff.

"The digester provides us a variety of environmental benefits, such as producing power and recycling waste. A big driver for us was the ability to expand our operation and bring in additional revenue without adding cows," explained Duane Hershey. "The community response to our digester has been real positive. When the neighbors come down and see it, they get excited. They all say we need more of these digesters on farms."

Learn more about DVO's solutions for agricultural wastes and renewable energy here, http://www.dvoinc.com/

Published in Anaerobic Digestion
There is a great misconception within the global marketplace about the durability, service life cost and capacity capability of bolted steel tanks when compared to both sectional and pre-cast concrete tanks for applications within the water, wastewater, and anaerobic digestion market sectors.

When correctly specified and produced, concrete can be an excellent construction material providing long service in many conditions, however, the quality and durability of a concrete tank is dependent on many factors that are often difficult to control.

Consider the following:
Pre-stressed concrete tanks:
  • Bioenergy plants provide a severe environment for concrete. As these tanks enter the first, second and third decade of service, the effects of years of unprotected exposure are apparent with cracks, spalls, and leaks.
  • The introduction of reinforcing steel created a problem affecting the durability of concrete. As rebar corrodes, concrete cracks and spalls reducing structural integrity AND allowing elements to enter into the concrete increasing the deterioration. Additionally, rust forming on rebar increases the volume (result = expansion) of the steel creating large tensile forces. Concrete cannot withstand tensile stress and it cracks to relieve the pressures.
For more, CLICK HERE
Published in Storage
Hiawatha, KS – AgJunction, Inc., a global leader in advanced guidance and autosteering, recently announced the opening of the www.HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all farmers.

To launch the online store, AgJunction introduced RANGER, precision farming made simple with an easy-to-install and use guidance system for under a thousand dollars.

"The launch of our Hands-Free Farm online store is an exciting milestone for AgJunction as we continue to expand our vision to bring hands-free farming to every farmer," said Dave Vaughn, AgJunction president and chief executive officer. "Critical to our vision is the need to change both the method of getting product to the farmer and the level of complexity in installation and use of precision ag equipment."

With the introduction of HandsFreeFarm.com, a new online buying experience has been created to sell direct to all American farmers. Customers will find the easy-to-use products, affordable prices, simple purchasing, and always accessible support that they desire, but have never had, for precision agriculture solutions.

Hands-free farming represents the precision guidance, positioning, autosteering and machine control that is the foundation of any precision agriculture solution. Until now, products for hands-free farming have been sold almost universally through dealers who are best suited to support the expensive purchasing decisions, complex installation, and extensive training required for the current offerings in the market. The cost, complexity, and cumbersome purchasing process limits the reach of hands-free farming to only the largest farms despite evidence that every farmer can benefit.

"We are commited to bringing the benefits of precision ag to all farmers." Vaughn continued, "The HandsFreeFarm.com store is a key step in providing all farmers easy to use, low cost solutions they can easily purchase and install themselves without having to leave the farm."

RANGER, an easy to use, complete GPS guidance solution priced at only $995, is the first product in the HandsFreeFarm.com online store. RANGER is ready to use right out of the box, with everything included, installs in minutes and is so simple to use customers can start farming with precision right away.

The intuitive, patented steering guide shows visual cues in advance affording farmers the time to focus on farming instead of staring at a map. The system provides the essential accuracy for spraying, spreading, tilling and planting crops like soybeans and supports both straight line and free-form contours useful for terraces and irregular fields. RANGER provides farmers the flexibility to leave the field and return precisely where they left off and gives the option to share GPS location data with implements and yield monitors.

Farming is a legacy to be cherished and, hopefully, passed on to the next generation. The www.HandsFreeFarm.com online store has been created to increase access to precision agriculture to ensure that every farmer can prosper through the benefits of hands-free farming.
Published in Companies
The cattle housing period, on most farms, has been prolonged due to inclement weather. Poor grass growth, coupled with saturated land, has prevented the turnout of cattle to grass. As a result, many farmers will have built up a large supply of farmyard manure (FYM).

However, FYM is only as valuable as the chemical fertiliser that can be saved by using it. According to Teagasc, if farmers are importing organic fertiliser without making adjustments in chemical fertiliser applications, then the organic fertiliser will not be saving any money.

Volatile chemical fertiliser prices in recent years have resulted in equally volatile organic fertiliser value. This can complicate decisions of whether or not to import organic fertilisers onto the farm. | READ MORE
Published in Beef
One of the big challenges when using manure as a fertilizer source is knowing the amount of plant nutrients that are present and available in the manure.

This uncertainty increases the risk of over-applying or under-applying nutrients to the field.

The risk is greatest with nitrogen (N), which can easily move out of manure during storage and is a source of drinking water concerns. However, there are ways that producers can lower that risk. One of those ways is by getting manure tested.

Studies from Minnesota and elsewhere have shown how important it is to get manure tested rather than relying on published book nutrient values, says Gregory Klinger, Extension educator for the University of Minnesota.

Book values suggest a specific nitrogen credit for specific manure types. They are useful for planning where to spread your manure, but can lead to over- or under-application of nutrients if used as the basis for actual application rates.

Manure nitrogen content is highly variable. Consider the case of liquid dairy manure, which has book values of 31 or 32 lbs N/1,000 gallons in Minnesota. Different studies on lab-tested dairy manure have found that individual manure N contents are typically anywhere from 20 to 40 percent higher or lower than these book values.

With a book value of 32 lbs N/1,000 gallons, the nitrogen in your dairy manure could be anywhere from 19.2 to 44.8 lbs/1,000 gallons. That creates quite a risk of over- or under-applying nitrogen.

Agitating and testing manure reduces that variability. While there is still variability in the results you get when you test manure, it is lower than relying on book values. Studies suggest 10 to 30 percent for unmixed manure, but as low as three to seven percent for well-mixed or agitated manure.

That means if you have 24 lbs N/1,000 gallons in your manure and it has been agitated and analyzed, you could reasonably expect the measured results to be from 22.3 to 25.7 lbs/1,000 gallons.

Much better than the 19.2 to 44.8 lbs/1000 gallons range you could expect without testing. While dairy manure is the example used here, these trends are true of other manure sources as well. Just by mixing and analyzing your manure, the risk of over- or under-applying nitrogen goes down immensely.

If you can't agitate your manure, try to take a number of subsamples from across the manure stockpile and mix them. Studies show that 15 to 25 subsamples will get the variation below 10 percent. For manure with an actual nitrogen concentration of 24 lbs N/ton, this would mean the N content reported by the lab would likely be 21.6 to 26.4 lbs/ton.

Many soil scientists in the Midwest have noted that when nitrogen application rates are less than 25 pounds above or below the best rate for a field, it usually has a negligible effect on yields and profitability, regardless of form.

That means that you don't need to hit a magical number that is best for your field, you just want to get within 25 pounds of that number. Testing manure will minimize how much uncertainty there is in manure N concentrations and help you hit that goal.
Published in News
Montevideo, M.N. — A hearing on a permit to build an underground pipeline to carry millions of gallons of liquid manure drew a small crowd to the Chippewa County Board of Commissioners meeting recently in Montevideo.

Ten landowners joined David Yost, representing Louriston Dairy, to show support for the dairy's plans to bury a pipeline to carry liquid manure.

The Chippewa County Board unanimously approved a utility permit for the project, and made note of the support for it by affected landowners near the dairy. | READ MORE
Published in News
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
Ohio - The Ohio Pork Council, Brookside Labs, Menke Consulting Inc., and OSU Extension are teaming up to encourage pork producers to learn more about livestock manure and soil sampling by offering discounts on manure sample analysis and soil sample analysis through the end of 2018.

Soil sample bags and manure containers have been mailed to approximately 18 county Extension offices in central and western Ohio. Sample containers are also available by stopping in at Brookside Labs. For pork producers to participate they need to follow these steps.

Online Survey: All participating pork producers must complete an online survey. If they are unable to complete an online survey they are encouraged to work with their local Soil and Water Office or OSU Extension to complete the survey. The survey is here: http://www.ohiopork.org/soilsample

Unique Identifying Code (UIC): Within 24 hours of completing the survey, participants will receive an email from Remington Road Group containing a soil sample worksheet with a unique identifying code that qualifies them for the discount with Brookside Labs.

Appropriate paperwork will also be available online for the participants to print and complete to attach with their manure and soil samples.

All soil samples must include a swine manure sample to qualify.

Samples and accompanying worksheets will be delivered by the pork producer to Brookside Laboratories in New Bremen (200 White Mountain Drive) M-F between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. Appropriate fee will accompany samples when delivered to Brookside (check or credit card). Checks should be made out to "Brookside Laboratories, Inc."

Soil and manure test results will be sent to the producer directly from Brookside to the customer's address. Sample identification on the reports will be a code number that will link the customer to soil tests. Only Brookside Labs will have record of the customer's identification.

The discounted cost of a soil sample analysis will be $3.00/sample. The discounted cost of a manure sample analysis will be $20/sample. By participating, pork producers agree to allow the Ohio Pork Council to utilize the information provided at their discretion in an aggregated format (no personal or individual farm information).

Tom Menke is serving as a point of contact for individuals who need assistance sampling, interpreting results or questions. For the greatest accuracy, manure samples should be collected when manure storages have been properly agitated and the manure is being land applied.

For more information please contact the Ohio Pork Council at 614-882-5887..
Published in News

Iowa State University researchers have completed testing of a key component of a new concept for disposing of animal carcasses following a disease outbreak.

The research someday may help producers facing animal disease emergencies, such as in 2015 when avian influenza resulted in disposal of millions of chickens and turkeys in Iowa and other states.

Jacek Koziel, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, said animal health emergencies occur around the globe each year due, not only to disease, but also to hurricanes, flooding, fire and blizzards.

These incidents often require the disposal of numerous animal carcasses, usually accomplished via burial. In research published recently in the scientific journal Waste Management, Koziel and his team analyzed a method that could help livestock, poultry and egg producers deal more efficiently and safely with crises that lead to sudden increases in animal mortality.

Koziel and his team focused their research on improving on-farm burial, the method most commonly employed for large-scale carcass disposal due to its low cost and ability to quickly reduce the spread of airborne disease and foul odors. But emergency burial can contaminate nearby water resources with chemical and biological pollutants, and many locations in Iowa are considered unsuitable for such practices by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Buried carcasses also decay slowly, sometimes delaying use of burial sites for crop production and other uses for years, Koziel said.

To overcome these problems, the researchers studied a hybrid disposal concept conceived at the National Institute of Animal Science in South Korea following a massive outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2011.

The method combines burial with aerobic digestion, a method commonly used for treating sewage in which air is pumped through the content to speed decomposition.

The experiment also included burial trenches lined with flexible geomembranes like those used to prevent seepage from landfills and wastewater treatment ponds to protect water quality. The researchers then injected low levels of air into the bottom of the trench to accelerate carcass decomposition and treat the resulting liquid contaminants.

The experiment tested the performance of the aerobic component of the hybrid method in a lab using tanks containing whole chicken carcasses, water, and low levels of oxygen that occasionally dropped to zero as would be likely in emergency burial trenches.

Results of the study showed low levels of oxygen accelerated carcass decay significantly, reducing carcass mass by 95 percent within 13 weeks, while similar tests without air produced no noticeable decay. The air and water used for the experimental method create an ideal environment for bacteria to break down the carcasses quickly, a "shark tank," as Koziel described it.

Chemical contamination in the liquid waste met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria for safe discharge to surface waters. The hybrid method also eliminated two common poultry pathogens, salmonella and staphylococcus. Aeration also reduced odorous gases sometimes associated with mass burial.

Koziel said the the encouraging laboratory results could pave the way for follow-up field studies that will include evaluation of alternative geomembrane liners, aeration system designs and components, and performance testing of the complete hybrid disposal system.

The research was supported by funding from the Korean Rural Development Administration.

Published in Other
Intensive animal farms in America currently store manure sludge in large waste lagoons, and what Jordan Phasey is working on, is essentially a new approach to drying out manure.

Constructed wetland technology, uses sand, plants, and a network of pipes, to drain the moisture out of the sludge and dries the remaining solids into a concentrated and far more valuable fertiliser. | READ MORE
Published in News
Many Beef cow-calf producers feed hay rations to cows in confinement settings during the winter months. Feeding hay on fields away from the barn is gaining popularity.

Labor and machinery requirements of hauling manure can be minimized by winter-feeding beef cattle on fields. Care should be taken with feeding practices to ensure that crop nutrients are evenly distributed.

Feeding on fields is typically accomplished by strategically spacing hay bales around the field either with or without hay rings frequently referred to as bale grazing. Another feeding method on fields includes unrolling bales on the ground. Unrolling bales on the ground typically allows for better crop nutrient distribution.

Spacing bales across a field creates a situation of concentrated nutrients from manure and waste hay in the areas where bales are fed. Over time, nutrient distribution can equalize with good grazing and management practices to promote soil health. Nutrients can be distributed by livestock and soil microbes over time, however, uniform nutrient spreading is more ideal for crop production yields.

Utilizing the various feeding methods can result in a wide range of hay waste. Producers need to weigh cost savings associated with winter feeding on fields and feed loss with any given feeding method.

Feeding on fields allows nearly 100 percent nutrient cycling into the soil for both phosphorous and potassium while nitrogen capture will be variable. Consequently, hay waste is not a 100 percent loss.

Much of the crop nutrients from hay waste is available to the next growing crop. If hay is harvested on the farm, nutrients are simply redistributed to the feeding area. If hay is purchased, those nutrients are added into the farm nutrient pool.

Purchasing hay and bringing nutrients onto the farm can be a cost-effective addition of fertilizer to the farm. The vast majority of fertilizer costs for crop production are for application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Producers should use a feed analysis of purchased feed to determine its fertilizer value. Producers can use dry matter, crude protein, phosphorous and potassium content to determine fertilizer value.

Dry feeds will usually contain 10 to 15 percent moisture or 85 to 90 percent dry matter. A 1,000 lb. bale of dry hay with 15 percent moisture will contain 850 lb. of dry matter. Ensiled feeds will contain considerably more moisture.

Protein contains 16 percent nitrogen. Crude protein is calculated by multiplying the percent nitrogen by a conversion multiplier of 6.25. From the example hay analysis, 10.6 percent crude protein can be multiplied by 0.16 or divided by 6.25 to equal a rounded off 1.7 percent nitrogen.

The nitrogen content multiplied by the dry hay bale weight of 850 lb. equals 14.45 lb. of nitrogen in the bale of hay. The percent phosphorous (0.18 percent) and potassium (1.6 percent) are also multiplied by the 850 lb. of dry matter hay to equal 1.53 lb. of phosphorous and 13.6 lb. of potassium.

Producers must be aware of the differences between feed analysis and fertilizer analysis. Feed analysis are recorded as percent crude protein, elemental phosphorous, and elemental potassium.

Fertilizer analysis is recorded as percent elemental nitrogen, phosphate (P2O5), and potash (K2O). Using Upper Peninsula of Michigan fertilizer prices, nitrogen is valued at $0.47/lb. N, phosphate at $0.35/lb. of P2O5, and potash at $0.325/lb. K2O.

The calculated fertilizer value of the 1,000 lb. bale of hay is worth $7.07/bale or $14.14/ton. Current value of this quality of hay is roughly $80-100 per ton. In this example, about 15 percent of the value of average beef quality hay can be attributed to its fertilizer value. Farms that are marginal on soil nutrient levels may consider purchasing at least a portion of their feed to increase crop nutrients on the farm and replace some portion of purchased commercial fertilizer.

Feeding hay on fields during the winter months has several advantages that beef producers can use to offset some of the production costs associated with beef production.

For more information regarding the impact of feeding hay on pasture and hay fields, contact MSU Extension Educators Frank Wardynski, 906-884-4386 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or Jim Isleib, 906-387-2530 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit http://www.msue.msu.edu.
Published in Beef
Marshfield, WI - At the Healthy Soil, Healthy Water Conference, held in late-March, Doug Szemborski with Bazooka Farmstar said manure injection could be the best way to use the manure on the farm in a way that makes the neighbors happy while allowing farmers to get the most nutrient value from it.

Farmers who are able to properly use the manure produced on their farms save money in fertilizer costs. Szemborski said injecting the manure into soil allows for reduced runoff and loss of nutrients, while also reducing odor from the manure due to the ammonia that causes the smell being locked into the soil during injection. | READ MORE
Published in Manure Application
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
A recent report by Island County Public Health showed that surface water in the area tested high in fecal coliform, but the National Park Service worked with the Whidbey Island Conservation District to try and solve the problem.

Source identification testing traced much of the water contamination to agricultural operations being performed on land owned by the National Park Service.

A farmer operating under a permit from the National Park Service has a concentrated animal feedlot on the park service's land. According to a report on the operation, "years of system neglect and poor maintenance practices by the farms" and "benign neglect by NPS officials" led to a partial failure of the farm's existing manure containment system. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
Published in News
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).

The AMMP is one of two programs designed by CDFA to reduce dairy and livestock greenhouse gas emissions. The program will provide $19 to 33 million in grants to California dairy and livestock operators to implement non-digester manure management practices that reduce methane emissions.

Applicants must access the 2018 Request for Grant Applications at www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/ammp/ for detailed program requirements and application instructions.

CDFA has partnered with the State Water Resources Control Board to utilize its online application site, the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST). All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov to apply. Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

All prospective applicants should access the AMMP webpage for information regarding additional, free-of-charge technical assistance conducted by non-profit organizations, Resource Conservation Districts and California academic institutions to assist in the submission of AMMP applications.

Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  with general program questions.
Published in News
Marin County, Calif. - On one organic dairy farm, the feed truck runs on cow power.

"I was able to put together a fully electric truck to feed the cows that's powered by the cow's waste. We claim that's the first one in the world to do that," says Albert Straus, CEO of Straus Family Creamery in Marin County, California.

When cow manure breaks down, it releases methane, a potent global warming gas. But that methane can be captured and used to make electricity. Using technology called a methane digester, Strauss has been converting his cow's manure into energy for the last 14 years. The process produces enough electricity to power the whole farm. And now, that energy is also being used to charge his electric truck. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
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