Livestock Production
The North Carolina Pork Council released the following statement in regards to this recent court verdict -  

The verdict is heartbreaking and could have severe and unforeseen economic consequences for our farmers, the pork industry and all of North Carolina agriculture.

It is heartbreaking because the jury did not hear the full story about Joey Carter's farm – and now an honest, hardworking farmer stands to lose everything. Joey Carter has always followed and exceeded the state's laws, which are the strictest regulations of any state and on any sector of agriculture. He invested in modern technologies. And he responded promptly to any concerns raised by his neighbors, who said his farm is not a nuisance. He should not be punished.

It is heartbreaking because Joey Carter's farm deserved a fair trial. And yet, the jury was prevented from hearing the expert testimony of a renowned scientist who studied the area around the farm and determined it does not produce objectionable odor.

The jury was prevented from visiting the farm in person – a request made by the defendant, Murphy Brown LLC. The jury was prevented from hearing about how these cases arose when out-of-state lawyers canvassed neighborhoods promising big payouts to plaintiffs who sued their neighbors.

We encourage an appeal to the Fourth Circuit, which must review the decisions that directly shaped the outcome of the trial.

This verdict signals that no farmer in North Carolina is safe from financially ruinous lawsuits even if they comply fully with all laws and regulations, as Joey Carter did; even if they use best management practices, as Joey Carter did; and even if they had never received any complaints from their neighbors, as was the case with the Carter farm.

We expect this verdict will force Smithfield Foods to reevaluate its operations in the state. We encourage state, county, local and agricultural leaders to show strong support for a company that has and continues to invest millions in modern technology and research in North Carolina and employs 10,000 people in rural counties.

This case is exactly why farmers like Joey Carter needed clarity and legal protection, and we applaud the bipartisan group of lawmakers who adopted changes this week to provide certainty for agriculture in the 2018 Farm Act.
Published in News
The BlueBox Ultra has been specially developed for the biological treatment of manure and fermentation residues and works the same way as a municipal wastewater treatment plant.

In the bioreactor of the BlueBox Ultra, the manure is converted into water, which contains only traces of nitrogen and phosphorus and is therefore ideally suited for irrigation.

Since nitrogen and phosphorus are almost completely removed, only very small surfaces are required for application. The BlueBox Ultra eliminates the need for expensive and environmentally harmful manure transports, where manure sometimes has to be transported over hundreds of miles.

"I no longer want to have to carry out expensive manure transports," explains farmer Jorn Ahlers, who runs a farm with a biogas plant in Lower Saxony. "I am convinced of the technology and user-friendliness of the BlueBox and I am confident that the system will go into operation on my farm this year."

"In recent months, we have presented our ground-breaking manure solution to many farmers and operators of biogas plants in Germany, especially in the manure hot spots of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Bavaria. The sale of the first manure treatment plant in Germany is of course an important milestone for us," says David Din, CEO of Bluetector. "Our BlueBox enables farmers to convert their manure into water with a low-cost bioreactor without the need for costly and maintenance-intensive equipment such as reverse osmosis or centrifuges."
Published in Biogas
Dirty cows have a negative impact on milk quality, including greater chances of getting mastitis and a high somatic cell count.

Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail, and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Since the ban on tail docking of dairy cattle, managing manure for cow hygiene is as automated as it has ever been.

"Automated alley scraper systems have been successfully used on livestock farms for decades to keep freestalls and cows clean," said Andy Lenkaitis, GEA product manager for manure equipment. "I work with many farmers who produce high-quality milk and have cows with long tails. They make management of their automated alley scraper systems a priority to avoid tail entanglement or animal injury." | READ MORE
Published in Dairy
A federal jury awarded more than $470 million to six neighbors of a hog farm in Pender County who complained of excessive noise, odor, flies, buzzards and other disruptions to their quality of life.

The stunning verdict, reached after just three hours of deliberation, came against pork producer Murphy-Brown, and marked the third time that juries have ruled against the company in a nuisance lawsuit. At $473.5 million, this was the largest of the three.

The first two verdicts were reduced in line with state law capping punitive damages. The cap will lower the amount to $94 million in total damages in this case. | READ MORE
Published in News
Animal mortality is a fact of life, and in livestock production the challenge is dealing with the number of animals over time and their size.

It is becoming more difficult to find outlets for spent animals, and cost must be considered. Mortality composting has gained in popularity over the years, but with that practice comes concerns related to nutrient management. T

here were several papers on animal mortality management presented at the Waste to Worth Conference held in April 2016. Craig Williams, Extension educator in Tioga County, gave two presentations on mortality composting.

He worked with a swine producer wanting to switch from burial to composting. This operation had a three percent mortality rate, or approximately 250 deaths per year in the finishing operation. The producer built a compost barn with a three-foot center dividing wall.

In the first year, approximately 56 cubic yards of wood chips/bark mulch was used. In the second year, this was replaced with 40 cubic yards of sawdust. The compost temperature is reaching 130 degrees, and so far there have been minimal issues in mixing and turning the compost. | For the full story, CLICK HERE


Published in Compost
A Wayne County dairy farm has agreed to pay a $9,600 civil penalty to settle complaints of a manure-lagoon spill that resulted in a fish kill.

The operation has also agreed to reimburse the Indiana Department of Natural Resources $1,775 for the value of damage to fish and wildlife.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says the lagoon was filled beyond capacity and overflowed into a field tile that led to Fountain Creek, causing the death of more than 3,500 fish on April 3, 2017. | READ MORE 
Published in News

Years ago, it was tradition for farmers to grow a variety of crops on their farm. There was limited food distribution to large grocery stores, and most of the food was grown locally. So, a farmer could be cropping cotton and sweet potatoes in one area of their farm. On another area, graze beef cattle, dairy, or chickens on forage crops like annual clovers, perennial tall fescue, wheat pasture, and native rangeland.

Pastures and hayland were rotated with crops so that the same enterprise was not on the same field year after year. Diversity of enterprises on each farm helped create stability in the production system.

With the advent of large farming equipment and commercial fertilizers following World War II, it became more efficient from a labor standpoint to grow the same types of crop year after year.

After investing in equipment to handle a particular crop like corn, farmers often became more specialized. This led to monoculture cropping, which can have positive effects on yields and efficiency. But, monoculture has some drawbacks, including environmental and social concerns.

The need for greater nutrient inputs with monoculture can lead to poor water quality underground or from run-off. Confined operations have the issue of disposing of large volumes of manure.

Interest in re-integrating farms to take advantage of the synergies between crops and livestock has increased in the past few decades. Our lab has embarked on researching such integrated systems as a way to improve agricultural sustainability.

Crop-pasture rotations are part of an integrated system. Farmers can match the energy and nutrient flows of different enterprises (i.e. types of livestock and types of crops) to meet the desired outcomes.

Ruminant livestock consume forages, often on pasture by themselves during much of the year. Animal manures are deposited directly on the land where they graze. Alternatively, they can be confined in areas during parts of the year with conserved forages, e.g. hay or silage.

Manures can also be collected from confinement areas and applied to cropland. This recycles and effectively utilizes nutrients throughout the entire system and can substantially reduce chemical fertilizer needs for cropping.

Forage grasses used for grazing often have extensive, fibrous root systems. These roots hold soil particles together. All plants take carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into simple sugars during photosynthesis.

Compared with annual crops, forage grasses form a thick mat over the soil, and can enrich the amount of carbon in soil more than annual crops. Forage legumes are capable of converting nitrogen from the atmosphere and add nitrogen to the soil as well.

The large gain in soil organic carbon under perennial pastures is a key benefit of integrated crop-livestock systems.

Pasturing is also an important adaptation strategy to overcome drought. Pastures can partially control flooding by improving water infiltration and soil health. Forage and grazing lands have historically provided a sustainable and resilient land cover. Grazing lands are rooted by a variety of grasses and forbs that serve to provide essential ecosystem services:

  • Water cycling
  • Nutrient cycling
  • Gas exchange with the atmosphere
  • Erosion control and landscape stabilizing
  • Climate moderation
  • Food and feed production, and,
  • Aesthetic experience

Integrated agricultural systems have the potential to adapt to weather extremes. This can make them more climate-resilient than monoculture systems. For example, integrated crop-livestock systems rely on forages as part of a diversity of crop choices. These forages provide a large benefit for positive balance of carbon stored in soil. Crops grown in rotation with forages can be more profitable, since yields are often enhanced and costly fertilizer inputs can be lower. The presence of forages can reduce nutrient runoff and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.1

The diversity of farming operations in integrated crop-livestock systems reduces the overall risk of failure. By having several different crops on a farm, the risk of any one component failing is reduced.

This diversity also offers resilience of the farming system against extreme weather events and potential climate change. Greater integration of crops and livestock using modern technologies could broadly transform agriculture to enhance productivity.

Integrated crop-livestock systems can also reduce environmental damage, protect and enhance biological diversity, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

Integrated systems likely provide healthier potentially more diverse foods and increase economic and cultural opportunities in many different regions of the world.

Diverse agricultural systems that include livestock, perennial grasses and legumes, and a wide variety of annual forages offer enhanced agro-ecosystem resilience in the face of uncertain climate and market conditions.

Indeed, there are many good reasons why a diversity of crops and livestock should be produced on the same farm and even the same field within a farm.

Published in Beef
Research conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc has shown individually formulated diets can reduce the nutritional needs of the swine herd and the nutrient content of the manure produced.

In an effort to reduce the overall nutrient requirements of the swine herd, scientists working in partnership with swine Innovation Porc have been developing technology designed to mix swine rations tailored to meet the specific nutritional requirements of each individual pig.

Researchers have now completed the basic concepts needed to estimate daily nutrient requirements.

Dr. Candido Pomar, a research Scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, explains in conventional systems all of the animals get the same feed so diets must be formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of the most demanding animals where as precision feeding allows the less demanding animals to be fed lower cost less nutrient dense diets. | READ MORE
Published in Swine
What can a trench filled with woodchips do to improve water quality? The Sustainable, Secure Food blog explains bioreactors, a solution to nitrogen runoff.

"Denitrifying bioreactors are a low-tech, yet highly sophisticated environmental solution," says blogger Hannah Dougherty, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Their design is simple—a trench with woodchips—yet the impact is notable. Bioreactors can remove up to 45 percent of the nitrogen load in a field's drainage water.

How does this happen? Dougherty explains: "Soil naturally contains bacteria and other microbes. Bioreactors enhance the natural process of denitrification–the conversion of nitrate in water to harmless nitrogen gas–performed by bacteria already present in the surrounding soil. The woodchips provide an additional fuel source for the bacteria in the form of carbon. Think of the woodchips as an extra cup of espresso in the morning!"

Illinois has a goal of installing bioreactors on half of the state's tiled agricultural fields. Bioreactors' success in improving water quality is also creating interest in other states.

"They have great potential for expansion," Dougherty writes. "While they are not a silver bullet, they do offer important benefits in that they don't negatively impact in-field crop production."

To read the complete blog, visit Sustainable, Secure Food at https://wp.me/p9gkW1-2S.

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified, professionals in the areas of growing our world's food supply, while protecting our environment. We work at universities, government research facilities and private businesses across the United States and the world.
Published in Research
Green Bay, W.I. - The state Department of Natural Resources is responding to manure runoff affecting miles of creeks in the Malone and Mt. Calvary areas of Fond du Lac County.

The manure plume has reached the canoe launch at County CCC and the Sheboygan River where county health officials said signs will be posted warning recreationists to avoid contact with the water because of concerns about e-coli bacterial contamination.

Ben Uvaas, a DNR wastewater specialist who has been on the scene since the manure was reported in an unnamed creek, said the responsible farm has initiated pumping activity in affected surface waters. However, the runoff was largely uncontained, and the contamination is expected to spread downstream.

A fish kill has been observed in the Sheboygan River near County Road CCC. Dead fish, mainly minnow species, have also been observed in two smaller tributaries. Approximately 11.5 miles of stream have been affected.

Clean-up activities will likely continue for days. The area involved straddles the towns of Taycheedah and Marshfield.

Uvaas said the Redtail Ridge Dairy, a DNR-permitted CAFO facility, had applied manure to several fields starting Friday and continuing through Monday. The area received heavy rain late Monday and manure ran off at least two fields, reaching nearby waterways. Dead fish were found in an unnamed stream at several road crossings, including Ledge Road, Valley Road and County W.

During this inspection a second runoff event was identified that resulted in surface water contamination and a fish kill. Redtail Dairy has confirmed the farm spread manure to fields near County Road WH and that manure had run off these fields into surface waters. The dairy has contracted with a local septic pumper to collect manure laden water.

A review of local well drilling records indicates deep clay soils in the area, which help protect groundwater quality. Impacts to wells are not currently anticipated.

DNR staff from multiple programs are responding, including agricultural runoff, water quality, fisheries, and remediation and redevelopment. Fond du Lac county conservationist Paul Tollard is also taking part in the investigation.
Published in News
Carpio, ND – Crop and livestock producers and others interested in composting will have an opportunity to learn more during the Manure Compost Demo Day that North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center is hosting Aug. 24 near Carpio, N.D.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon at Bloms Land & Cattle, 7470 42nd Ave. N.W., Carpio. No registration is required.

Topics that will be covered include turning manure into compost and using compost as a fertilizer. The event will also feature a compost turner demonstration and question-and-answer session on the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s animal feeding operation guidelines and creating comprehensive nutrient management plans.

After that, anyone wanting to continue the discussion can meet at the Cenex C-Store in Carpio.

For more information on the program, contact LoAyne Voight, an NDSU Extension agent in Renville County, at 701-756-6392 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Mary Berg, Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist at the Carrington Research Extension Center, at 701-652-2951 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Beef
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
Two farms operated by China's fourth-biggest pig producer Jiangxi Zhengbang Technology were found to be illegally dumping manure and allowing noxious sewage to seep into farmland, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

It was a rare rebuke of one of the country's rapidly growing farming companies, and comes as China sustains a years-long effort to tackle its notorious pollution problem that includes frequently calling out companies that have failed to comply with regulations. | READ MORE
Published in News
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $69.9 million in grant funding to 40 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

"Dairy operations in California continue to step up to ensure the agriculture sector contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These collaborative efforts between the State, dairy operations and developers are making California a national and international leader in supporting on-farm methane reductions using climate-smart agriculture management approaches that also generate renewable energy," said CDFA secretary Karen Ross.

Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters comes from California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that uses Cap-and-Trade program funds to support the state's climate goals.

CDFA and other state agencies are investing these proceeds in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide additional benefits to California communities. Dairy digester grant recipients will provide an estimated $95.5 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2018 Dairy Digester Research and Development Program projects is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/dd.
Published in News
There are safe, research-tested, beneficial ways to use manure on farm fields — methods that put its nutrients to good use while also protecting water quality — and they're the focus of an upcoming event in northwest Ohio.

On July 25, Watkins Farm in Hardin County will host Manure Science Review, an annual event showcasing new findings, practices, equipment and technology.

The expected 250 attendees will see field and indoor demonstrations and hear six expert talks.

One of the talks, by Tom Menke of Greenville-based Menke Consulting Inc., will get to the heart of matter: "Valuing Manure."

Manure's benefits to soil
Ohio State University Extension's Glen Arnold, a member of the event's planning committee, said Lemke's talk will include "information on soil quality benefits, such as improved organic matter and improved soil bacteria activity, not just the value of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potash nutrients."

Arnold, who is state field specialist for manure nutrient management systems for OSU Extension, will give a talk at the event called "Avoiding Manure Spills."

OSU Extension, which is the outreach arm of The Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), is one of the event's collaborators.

How to keep weed seeds in check
Another talk at the event will look at ways to reduce the impact of weed seeds in manure, including waterhemp. A species of pigweed, waterhemp has been spreading in Ohio and become increasingly resistant to herbicides.

Ohio's waterhemp appears to have come from eastern Indiana, said Stachler, an educator in the Auglaize County office of OSU Extension, who will give the talk.

"Today it's present in nearly every county in western Ohio," he said, its seeds dispersed by birds, water, farm equipment such as combines, and livestock feed that's turned into manure and ends up spread on fields.

In Darke, Mercer, Shelby and Auglaize counties, Stachler said, waterhemp is "spreading at alarming rates."

He said his talk will share ways to limit such problems and reduce the estimated $5 to 25 per acre it costs a farmer to manage resistant weeds.

Rules, regs and limiting phosphorus runoff
Other talks scheduled are:
  • "Manure Applications: Rules and Liability" by Peggy Hall, agricultural and resource law field specialist with OSU Extension.
  • "Reducing Phosphorus Runoff" by Greg LaBarge, agronomic systems field specialist with OSU Extension. Phosphorus runoff is a cause of the harmful algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie and other water bodies in recent years.
  • "Regulations Update" by Matt Lane of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) Division of Soil and Water Conservation and Sam Mullins of ODA's Division of Environmental Livestock Permitting. ODA is also an event collaborator.

Revealed: Why you should #SoilYourUndies
Also at the event, Sandra Springer, western Lake Erie Basin nutrient technician with the Allen, Hardin and Putnam county soil and water conservation districts, will show why — yes — you should #SoilYourUndies. The districts, too, are collaborators on the event.

Soil educators in the United States and other countries are using the #SoilYourUndies hashtag — and actual buried undergarments — as a fun way to show how crops and practices affect the activity of microbes in the soil.

"Soil microorganisms increase plant residue decomposition, which releases plant nutrients," Springer said. "We want farmers to be checking their soil health in fields," even if it costs them their skivvies to do it.

Springer, for her part, will be displaying undies she buried in May in five fields around Hardin County: ones growing conventional corn, no-till soybeans, no-till wheat, alfalfa and hay.

They definitely won't be clean. Which is good.

"The hashtag is just something that other soil and water conservation districts are using to promote soil health," especially with kids, she said. "As far as education goes, this is our first demonstration of it on the adult end."

Field demonstrations, indoor exhibits
Other demonstrations will look at preferential flow (the uneven movement of water through media such as soils), calibrating manure spreaders, shallow tillage for applying manure, seeding cover crops using a converted high-clearance "highboy" tractor, side dressing corn with manure, center pivot irrigation and composting dead farm animals.

Indoor exhibits will share details about a rainwater and runoff simulation with cover crops; a demonstration farm showcasing best practices for reducing nutrient runoff, which includes the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) as a partner; and a demonstration farm testing the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper, or ONMRK, a record-keeping app for smartphones or tablets that lets farmers record their manure and nutrient applications while still in the field.

Register early and save
Hours for the event are 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Watkins Farm is at 18361 Township Road 90 in Forest, about 70 miles south of Toledo and 80 miles north of Columbus.

Registration, which includes coffee, doughnuts and lunch, is $25 by July 16 and $30 after that date. Participants can register online at go.osu.edu/msr2018 through July 16, or they can fill out and mail the registration form available at go.osu.edu/msr2018flier.

Attendees will be eligible for the following continuing education credits:
  • ODA Certified Livestock Manager, 4.5 continuing education units (CEUs).
  • Certified Crop Adviser, 3.5 Soil and Water CEUs and 2.0 Nutrient Management CEUs.
  • ODA Fertilizer Recertification, 1.0 credit hour.
  • Indiana Office of State Chemist, 4.0 Category 1 (Agricultural Pest Management), Category 14 (Agricultural Fertilizer Application) and Category RT (Registered Technician) Continuing Certification Hours (CCHs).
For more information on the event, contact CFAES's Mary Wicks at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 330-202-3533.

The event's collaborators also include OFBF and Ohio-based Cooper Farms.
Published in News
A ban on Lancaster County farmers spreading manure during winter months is one of the measures the federal government is urging in a new forceful letter to Pennsylvania over lagging results in cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it expects the state to forbid such manure applications on bare fields in winter when runoff is most likely.

"That would be a hardship on many of the farms" if it becomes reality, said Christopher Thompson, manager of the Lancaster County Conservation District. | For the full story, CLICK HERE
Published in News
A multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will conduct a project transforming manure and cedar mulch from waste to worth. The project is funded by a $132,663 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Leading the research will be Amy Millmier Schmidt, assistant professor in biological systems engineering and animal science, and Rick Koelsch, professor in biological systems engineering and animal science. The project is designed to provide natural resource benefits to Nebraska through increased utilization of livestock manure and cedar mulch among crop farmers.

"When manure is applied to cropland at agronomic rates using recommended best management practices, it provides agronomic, soil health, and environmental benefits," said Schmidt.

As the management of eastern red cedar trees has become a critical issue in many parts of the state, Schmidt and others have been studying practices that utilize the biomass created during forest management activities in ways that add value to this product.

"Combining wood chips with manure prior to land application could provide a market for the woody biomass generated during tree management activities and help offset the cost that landowners bear for tree removal," she said.

The team's on-farm research to date has demonstrated that manure-mulch mixtures improve soil characteristics without negatively impacting crop productivity. This new award will allow an expanded project team to demonstrate the practice more widely throughout the state, complete an economic analysis of the practice, and engage high school students in educational experiences related to soil health, conservation and cedar tree management. It will also introduce the students to on-farm research for evaluating a proposed practice change.

"On-farm research is at the core of extension and research programs at land-grant universities like Nebraska," said Koelsch. "Giving high school students hands-on experience evaluating a practice to understand how it impacts farm profitability is a unique way to improve science literacy, critical thinking skills, and interest in agricultural careers."

Outreach activities will focus on improving understanding among crop farmers of the benefits these amendments provide and motivating implementation of this new practice. The long-term goal of the project is to improve soil health properties for Nebraska soils, reduce nutrient losses to Nebraska water resources, and reduce eastern red cedar tree encroachment on Nebraska's pasture and grassland resources.

The project is one of the 105 projects receiving $18,301,819 in grant awards from the Nebraska Environmental Trust this year. The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided over $289 million in grants to over 2,000 projects across the state.
Published in News
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
Nitrogen pollution flowing out of Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico has grown by close to 50 percent over nearly two decades, a new report shows, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to stem nutrients entering the state's waterways.

A University of Iowa study shows the state's contribution to the Gulf dead zone spiked 47 percent to 618 million pounds in 2016, based on five-year running annual averages. | READ MORE
Published in News
Madison, WI - New rule revisions designed to reduce manure groundwater contamination, specifically in the northeast section of the state, took effect July 1.

The changes, under the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code, relate to Silurian bedrock, which are areas where the soil depth to bedrock is shallow and the bedrock may be fractured.

"The main purpose of this targeted performance standards is to reduce the risk for contamination in groundwater from manure applications on shallow bedrock soils," said Mary Anne Lowndes, DNR Watershed Management Section chief.

Lowndes said Silurian bedrock soils identified in the rule revisions are dolomite bedrock with a depth of 20 feet or less. The rule targets an area in the state that may include portions of Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha counties.

"Within a specified area, the rule sets forth manure spreading rates and practices that vary according to the soil depth and texture," said Lowndes. "For Silurian bedrock, the most restrictive practices apply to those limited areas with the highest risk for pathogen delivery, zero to five feet in depth, and less restrictive requirements apply in areas with five to 20 feet to bedrock."

Lowndes added that Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the Silurian bedrock areas will be required to comply with the standards in the new rule, when it is incorporated into their permit under the Wisconsin Pollution Discharge Elimination System (WPDES), and a cross reference to the targeted performance standard language has also been added to ch. NR 243, Wis. Adm. Code., which applies to CAFOs subject to WPDES permitting. Non-permitted farms in Silurian bedrock areas will also be required to comply with the standards in the rule.

Lowndes added the DNR has worked with the University of Wisconsin Department of Soil Science to offer a Silurian bedrock map (exit DNR) tool that can be used to identify areas where the bedrock soil depth is less than 20 feet, and that the department is working with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection and county land conservation departments on how best to implement the new rules.

The new rule is based on a long-term effort by the department to seek public input on changes to NR 151, including conducting studies, public meetings and hearings and hosting a technical advisory committee and Groundwater Collaboration Workgroup that met between 2015-2017.
Published in State
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