Livestock Production
Gibsonburg, Ohio - An agricultural scientist said farmers are contributing to the efforts to reduce the phosphorus runoff that leads to Lake Erie's harmful algal blooms, but cautioned that the battle must continue.

Mark Riehl, an agronomist with Sunrise Cooperative, spoke at the Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Ag Week Kickoff Breakfast on Friday at Ole Zim's Wagon Shed in Gibsonburg.

"The phosphorus cycle and how it occurs is rather complicated," Riehl said. "That's part of the reason why this isn't a quick-resolve issue." | READ MORE
Published in News
For a team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln chemical and biomolecular engineering students, biogas refining isn’t just a senior design capstone project, it’s a potential means of supplying Nebraska’s rural communities with a renewable source of energy that comes from resources that are both local and plentiful.
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
The same products that get rid of internal parasites in livestock may adversely impact the dung beetles that help break down dung, according to South Dakota State University assistant professor Lora Perkins of the Department of Natural Resource Management. That could be bad news for the dung beetles and livestock production.

Through a four-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, Perkins and three colleagues will examine how producers' use of products to control parasites, known as parasiticides, has changed and how that has impacted the dung beetle population, soil quality and forage production. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture funding is part of the Bioenergy, Natural Resources and Environment Program, which focuses on the environmental sustainability of rangeland livestock production.

"Dung beetles are little drivers of ecosystem function," Perkins said. "They turn a big pile of dung into nutrients in the soil that can be taken up again by plants." Previous SDSU research looked at the biodiversity of dung beetles and other insects that populate dung pats. "We're adding onto that research and moving it all the way through to forage production," she explained.

Perkins, assistant professor. A. Joshua Leffler and professor Paul J. Johnson, an entomologist, will examine areas at the Ft. Pierre National Grasslands which are used by different livestock producers. Some producers use parasiticides to control parasites; others don't. "By conducting our research at Ft. Pierre, we are able to study areas that are adjacent to one another so the environmental variation among study areas is minimal," Perkins explained.

The researchers will measure the dung beetle population and examine how rapidly the dung is incorporated into the soil. They will measure nitrogen in the soil and plant production by weighing the biomass.

"Nitrogen availability is a key factor limiting forage production, and dung beetles are key organism in making nitrogen available to plants," Leffler explained. One doctoral student will also work on this portion of the project, with fieldwork beginning this summer.

However, what makes this project unique is collaboration with assistant sociology professor Jessica Ulrich-Schad. She will survey approximately 2,500 livestock producers to see whether they use parasiticides to control parasites in their livestock or not, whether that has changed over time and why. She will also ask how the parasiticides they are using have changed and what led to those changes. "Jessica is a critical member of our team. She helps us bridge the gap between the technical analyses and landowners and managers" said Perkins.

"We want to understand the drivers behind the use of these products," said Ulrich-Schad, who began exploring producer decision-making as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University. "We must get a better grasp of how farmers are making these decisions to know how we can encourage them to voluntarily use practices that are good for soil and water quality."

Through the survey, she will examine producers' awareness of how these parasiticides can impact dung beetle population, soil quality and forage production, as well as the roles that social networks play in the practices they use and the awareness they have. One doctoral student will work with Ulrich-Schad. Preliminary interviews with seven producers she characterized as innovators revealed that some are noticing a decrease in the dung beetle populations.

"When dung piles accumulate, fields become 'fouled'—livestock won't eat by the pile," Perkins explained. "We need the beetles to help break down the dung and keep the nutrients flowing and the plants growing." Research at other universities also shows that the presence of dung beetles can reduce the survival of parasite larvae in the dung pats.
Published in Other
Extend your operation's manure application window while delivering the nutrients crops need at the right time and in the right place.

To hear the latest about applying liquid manure as a side dress to growing corn and wheat crops check out Manure Manager's webinar event featuring Ohio State University associate professor and manure nutrient management specialist Glen Arnold. 

Arnold is an associate professor with Ohio State University Extension and serves as a field specialist in the area of manure nutrient management application. His on-farm research focuses on the use of livestock manure as a spring top-dress fertilizer on wheat and as a side dress fertilizer for corn. His research goal is to move livestock producers toward applying manure during the crop growing season instead of late fall application window. His more recent research has focused on side dressing emerged corn with a soft drag hose system.

Arnold has years of experience conducting in-field trials using drag hose and tanker mounted toolbars to apply liquid manure "in-season." Learn from his expertise.

To veiw a free, live recording of this Manure Manager webinar event, held September 2017, register here:

Published in Manure Application
Long term trials conducted in Saskatchewan have shown the application of livestock manure fertilizer typically improves the health of the soil.

The University of Saskatchewan has been conducting long term livestock manure application trials, in some cases on plots that have been studied for over 20 years, looking at the implications of using livestock manure at various rates with different application methods throughout Saskatchewan's major soil climatic zones.

Dr. Jeff Schoenau, a professor with the University of Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture research chair in soil nutrient management, says the organic matter in manure, especially in solid manures, can directly benefit things like soil structure, water retention and so on.

"I think in terms of effect on the soil, especially with the solid manures where we're adding a fair bit of organic matter to the soil, we certainly see some beneficial effects show up there in terms of increased organic matter content, increased carbon storage. We see some positive benefits as well in water relations, things like infiltration," said Dr. Schoenau.

"We also need to be aware that manures also contain salts and so, particularly some manure that may be fairly high in for example sodium, we do need to keep an eye on the salt and sodium content of the soil where there's been repeated application of manure to soils where the drainage is poor. Generally what we've found is that the salts that are added as manure in soils that are well drained really don't create any kinds of issues. But we want to keep an eye on that in soils that aren't very well drained because those manures are adding some salts, for example sodium salts."

Dr. Schoenau says, when manure is applied at a rate that is in balance with what the crop needs and takes out over time, we have no issues in terms of spill over into the environment. He says that balance is very important, putting in what you're taking out over time.
Published in Other
OriginClear Inc. recently announced that its licensee in Spain, Depuporc S.L., has signed a commercial contract to supply complete mobile treatment systems to pig farm operators.

The units have a daily capacity of 120m3, or 31,700 gallons per day. Depuporc intends to integrate OriginClear's Electro Water Separation with Advanced Oxidation technology in the systems it deploys.

The contract outlines orders beginning with 12 machines in the first year, tripling to 36 units by the third year. Between component sales and royalties, OriginClear believes that this project will generate about half a million dollars in the first year, also tripling by year three.

"We licensed the OriginClear technology to optimize and improve the patented manure treatment process that we have developed over the past years," said Francisco Longares, CEO of Depuporc SL. "We did several tests with various animal farming effluents, including one particularly successful test that our team published on video, and this confirmed our opinion of EWS:AOx. We are extremely happy to see that our efforts are now materializing into commercial results."

OriginClear's EWS:AOx will form the core of a complete mobile system designed and built by Depuporc in Spain. Large solids will be removed before EWS:AOx, with a polishing stage afterwards, to ensure discharge water quality will meet stringent European Union water quality standards.

"The Spanish market is undoubtedly huge and as such, a first commercial implementation has tremendous value to us," said Jean-Louis "JL" Kindler, president of OriginClear Technologies. "In addition, a success there will set an example for other major markets in the animal effluent industry, namely the U.S. and China, where we are already present and active."

With over 28 million animals, Spain is now the world's third largest pork meat exporter after China and the U.S. Furthermore, increased industrialization has seen the average number of animals per farm nearly quadruple, from 122 to 467, in less than 15 years. This also concentrates the production of manure in Spain, which is currently estimated at 62 million cubic meters per year. This is equivalent to covering the whole area of New York's Central Park in manure, to the height of a five-floor building (17 meters or 55 feet).
Published in News
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
February 15, 2018, Washington, DC – Legislation strongly supported by the National Pork Producers Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and United Egg Producers was introduced Feb. 13 to exempt farmers from reporting to the U.S. Coast Guard emissions from the natural breakdown of manure on their farms.

Led by Sens. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Ranking Member Tom Carper, D-Del., the bipartisan “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act” would fix a problem created last April when a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a 2008 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that exempted farmers from reporting routine farm emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). READ MORE

Published in Associations
February 7, 2018, Lancaster, PA – Pennsylvania’s largest farms may soon be operating under new regulations that will streamline some requirements while mandating additional safeguards against water pollution.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has proposed the new regulations for so-called concentrated animal feeding operations, defined as farms with more than 300 animals. READ MORE
Published in State
February 7, 2018, Winnipeg, Man – A scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says tailoring ration formulations to the needs of each pig will lower feeding costs and reduce the environmental impact of manure.

As part of research being conducted on behalf of Swine Innovation Porc, Canadian scientists are developing a precision feeding system that will tailor the ration to match the nutritional needs of each individual pig.

Dr. Candido Pomar, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, says by supplying one diet that meet the needs of the least productive pigs, the producer ends up overfeeding the more productive pigs.

“We have to look at nutrient requirements from two different points of view,” says Dr. Pomar. “One is when we are looking to a given animal or when we are feeding a group of animals the definition of nutrient requirements is very different. Feeding one pig at a given time is not the same thing as feeding a large group of pigs during a long period of time. We have to understand that estimating nutrient requirements, we are addressing the issue of one animal, why are we using that to feed groups of animals?”

“When you over supply the nutrients, you are using important resources that finally ends in manure so this is very expensive,” he adds. “Today the farmers are challenged to reduce feeding costs.”

“Feed costs represent 60 to 70 percent of the cost of producing a hog. So optimizing the level of nutrients, knowing how much the pigs need we can reduce costs. Reducing costs, we are [also] reducing the environmental impact because all the nutrients they giving in excess finish always in the same way, in manure.”

Dr. Pomar says early indications are that by personalizing formulations for each pig, we can produce the same amount of meat with 25 percent less protein, dramatically reducing feed costs.
Published in Swine
January 29, 2018, Montpelier, VT – Vermont has a problem. The state is $1.2 billion short of the funding it will need to meet federal targets for reducing pollution in state waterways.

To solve that problem, Gov. Phil Scott recently suggested a creative solution in his budget address – turning the pollutant into a commodity and selling it out of state.

The pollutant is phosphorus, a primary ingredient of fertilizer, which is widely used in farming. READ MORE
Published in State
January 26, 2018, Des Moines, IA – Coming March 2018, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will have an option for livestock and poultry farmers to submit their annual Manure Management Plan (MMP) updates and pay compliance fees online.

The electronic (eMMP) option provides a simplified process for producers, their consultants, counties and the DNR.

Producers can submit annual short forms and pay fees from home, the office or their smart phone. Or, they can assign rights to their consultant to file the forms. The streamlined process will cut out driving to county offices for signatures. Instead, the DNR will notify counties once the submission is complete.

Producers can find out more about the process by going to DNR’s eMMP webpage and pre-registering for a Feb. 28 live webinar.

Published in State
January 22, 2018, Madison, WI – The University of Wisconsin-Extension and the Department of Natural Resources are co-hosting a series of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) update meetings throughout Wisconsin in early February.

The meetings are specifically designed for WPDES permitted CAFO owners/managers, producers considering expansion, nutrient management plan writers and engineers. Each meeting will provide information on new policies, proper spill response, manure hauling, day-storage calculations and will feature a DNR panel.

The forums are slated to be held throughout the state in the coming weeks. Nutrient management plan writers and engineers working on large farms are also invited to attend.

The meetings will be held on the follow dates and locations:
  • February 5: Tundra Lodge Conference Center, Green Bay
  • February 5: Crystal Falls Banquet Hall, New London
  • February 6: Silver Valley Banquet Hall, Manitowoc
  • February 6: University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac
  • February 8: County Building, Dodgeville
  • February 9: UW-Extension office, Jefferson
  • February 12: UW-Marshfield Ag Research Station, Marshfield
  • February 13: Clarion Hotel, Eau Claire
Wisconsin has more than 250 CAFO farms throughout the state and these meetings offer an opportunity for owners, managers, advisors, and other CAFO stakeholders to receive updated information to help meet permit requirements. The meetings also provide an opportunity for permittees to learn about new report submission processes and learn how to avoid common errors and problems. Each meeting also features a local topic of interest such as prairie buffer strips, automated calf feeding, CAFO community outreach, nitrogen application, human resource management, and environmental efforts.

More information on the meetings and individual meeting brochures can be accessed at

To pre-register for any of the workshops, call UW-Extension at 920-391-4652.

Published in Dairy
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, Des Moines, IA – Iowa lawmakers should halt construction on animal confinements until Iowa's water quality is significantly improved, a coalition of about two dozen state, local and national groups said Tuesday.

The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture asked lawmakers to support 15 bills tightening oversight of confinements introduced by Sen. David Johnson, an independent from Ocheyeden. READ MORE
Published in Associations
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
January 17, 2018, Salem, OR – How did a Salem-area dairy rack up dozens of environmental violations over 15 years without the public knowing anything about it?

That’s what attendees at a public hearing on a new permit for the dairy asked the Oregon Department of Agriculture Jan. 10. READ MORE

Published in Dairy
January 16, 2017, East Lansing, MI – Michigan State University Extension is pleased to announce that Erica Rogers recently started as an Extension educator to serve the livestock industry throughout the state of Michigan.

“I am excited to build relationships with farmers locally and statewide to help them maximize production while remaining environmentally sound as well as educating community members on the important role that agriculture plays in the food system and the steps agriculture takes daily to protect the environment,” Rogers said.

She will be based out of the Gratiot County MSU Extension office in Alma, Michigan.

A native of Michigan, Rogers’ passion for both animal science and Extension programming began at a young age through her experiences in 4-H, which carried forward as she earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University in 2012. Her dedication and interest in Extension programming led her to pursue a master’s degree in Pennsylvania State University’s Department of Animal Science, which she completed in 2017.

Rogers’ research efforts [which will be featured in an upcoming Manure Manager magazine feature] centered on environmental poultry management, focusing on discovering and promoting efficient poultry production systems that place minimum burden on the environment. Although managing manure and the by-products of poultry production are obvious endeavors, other important efforts include impacts of odor, flies and traffic (to name a few) on the environment. All of which are important to the sustainability of poultry production and processing in Pennsylvania. Rogers and her advisors, Dr. Paul Patterson and Dr. Michael Hulet, addressed this region’s industry needs for research-based information on poultry manure production and nutrient content within the Chesapeake Bay watershed through Rogers’ master’s thesis project, which investigated nutrients produced by commercial laying hens, laying hen pullets, broilers, turkeys, and breeders under changing management styles for use in the Chesapeake Bay models that determine Total Maximum Daily Loads. She presented her work at the 2017 International Poultry Scientific Forum during the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, GA, and the 2017 Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.

Through her research efforts at Pennsylvania State University, Rogers has worked with poultry integrators and visited more than 70 farms, collecting manure samples from random points and at varying depths throughout manure stacks. The manure was sampled at the time of hauling to best represent the nutrients being land applied. Due to the nature of her research, Rogers discovered a passion for helping farmers be successful in their operations and to help the community better understand agriculture’s role in protecting the environment.  

Rogers can be reached at the Gratiot County MSU Extension office, 989-875-5233, or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Other
January 10, 2018, Woodstock, Ont – Manure applied to wheat crops or to forage crops can be an excellent option, but not in winter on frozen soils.

Manure application in winter should not ever be part of a manure management plan. Rather, it should be part of a contingency plan, because we all know that weather happens. Frequent rain and a late corn harvest are taxing manure storage capacities on many farms. Contingency plans are essential for manure that must be applied in less than ideal conditions. A forage or wheat field can be an ideal site for contingency plan manure application, because compaction should not be an issue, and the soil cover would help prevent nutrient runoff and erosion. Forage or wheat fields are ideal for those reasons. However, winterkill becomes a much greater risk, especially with application of liquid manure. Why? Beside the common risks – which include compaction from wheel traffic and crown damage – manure contains salts!

Salinization, the concentration of salt in the root zone, is not an issue in Ontario. Ample precipitation and drainage leaches the salts through the soil profile. However, when the soil is frozen, infiltration can’t occur. Salts in manure can then turn deadly. High sodium also has a negative effect on soil structure; making the soil more susceptible to crusting, and further decreasing the capacity for infiltration.

Livestock manure contains many salts, including ammonium, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. When accrued, they can be significant. Salt content varies from farm to farm based on livestock species, diet formulation and even the salt in the drinking water. Many manure analyses report “Total Salts” or electrical conductivity (EC) to reflect the accumulated salts. A typical hog manure (as applied basis) can have about 20 mS/cm (milliSemens/cm) or about 125 lbs of total salts per 1,000 gallons. Dairy manure average is 14 mS/cm or about 90 lbs/1000 gallons. Sodium and magnesium chloride have a working temperatures to about -15° C; potassium chloride to -4° C, while calcium chloride can work to about -23° C.

When manure is applied on frozen or snow-covered soils, the salts melt the snow and ice at the soil surface. The layer below may still be frozen, preventing infiltration. The melted, saturated layer is high in salts, toxic to roots, and more prone to erosion and runoff, and more susceptible to frost heaving. All these risks are increased where manure with high EC or total salt contents has been applied.

When contingency plan applications become necessary during the winter season, options include:
  • Late summer application to forage crops after the final cut or at the beginning of the critical harvest period,
  • Temporary storage at a neighbouring storage that has extra capacity,
  • Application to forage fields or cover crops that will be tilled or killed,
  • Application to the most level harvested fields, preferably with residue still present, furthest away from surface water, where application does not occur through water runs or “flow paths.”

Sampling manure at the time of application should be standard practice. A manure analysis that includes total salts will help to determine the level of risk if contingency application in winter is a last resort.

Published in Other
January 8, 2018, Lincoln, NE — Eight Nebraska Extension offices across the state will offer workshops in February providing livestock and crop farmers with information on how to turn manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment.

“The workshops will help livestock producers put to use the nutrient management planning requirements of Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality regulations and increase the economic value of manure,” said Leslie Johnson, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Animal Manure Management coordinator. Participants who attend the day-long event will receive NDEQ Land Application Training Certification.

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified, and farms must complete an approved training every five years. Re-certification will be held during the first two hours of the day-long land application training. Farm personnel responsible for land application of manure are encouraged to attend for either the initial or re-certification portion of the training.

The morning portion of the workshops will consist of a two-hour program including updates on changing regulations and other manure management topics, such as protecting herd health with biosecurity. Any farm staff responsible for implementing the farm’s nutrient plan are encouraged to attend.

Pre-registration is required for all workshops. A $60 fee per operation (includes one representative) will be charged for the workshops plus a $15 fee for each additional participant to cover local costs including lunch.

The re-certification portion of the workshop is $30 for each participant.

The workshops are sponsored by the Nebraska Extension Animal Manure Management Team, which is dedicated to helping livestock and crop producers better utilize manure resources for agronomic and environmental benefits.

For additional information on the workshops and other resources for managing manure nutrients, visit or contact Johnson at 402-584-3818 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dates, times and locations:
  • West Point: Feb. 13, 9 a.m., Nielsen Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave.
  • Lexington: Feb. 15, 9 a.m., Extension office, 1002 Plum Creek Parkway
  • Ogallala: Feb. 16, 9 a.m., Extension office, 511 N. Spruce St.
  • Scottsbluff: Feb. 21, 9 a.m., Extension center, 4502 Ave. I
  • Ainsworth: Feb. 22, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 148 W 4th St.
  • Wilber: Feb. 23, 9 a.m., Extension office, 306 W. Third
  • Columbus: Feb. 26, 9 a.m., Pinnacle Bank, 210 East 23rd St.
  • Neligh: Feb. 28, 9 a.m., Courthouse meeting room, 501 M St.
Published in State
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