Livestock Production
May 24, 2017, Hoytville, OH - Two small sections in Wood and Henry counties were selected by the Ohio Department of Agriculture for a pilot program.

The announcement was made at the Drewes farm in Jackson Township.

The pilot program is called the Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program. ODA Director David Daniels made the announcement and apologized for the long name, adding, "but that's what it is."

The program is currently only for those in the watersheds of Cutoff Ditch in Wood County and Upper Beaver Creek in Henry County.

Daniels anticipates this program going statewide fairly quickly. It is designed to provide certification for farmers who protect farmland and natural resources by implementing best management practices on their farms. READ MORE
Published in News
May 24, 2017, Granville, Mass. – The Town of Granville could soon be using cattle to create energy.

The town's select board plans to power their municipal buildings with credits from Rockwood Farm, which is planning to build a methane digestor.

A digestor converts manure into methane gas, which will run a generator that will heat and power the farm. The farm will sell its metering credits to the town.

The local renewable energy would reduce the cost for powering town buildings. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
May 23, 2017, Saratoga, WI - The developers of the proposed Golden Sands Dairy in Saratoga have filed papers with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in hopes that justice will hear their case.

On Monday, the Wysocki Family of Companies submitted legal documents to overturn a recent decision by the Wisconsin District IV Court of Appeals that stated the farm would not be able to use more than 6,000 acres of nearby land for manure spreading or other agricultural purposes because of a local ordinance instituted by the town board.

The dairy wants to house 5,300 animals on the site, which would generate 55 million gallons of liquid manure and another 25,000 tons of solid waste each year. But neighbors are concerned that the manure would contaminate local drinking water and increase traffic on their local roads. READ MORE
Published in News
May 19, 2017, U.S. - In April, a major decision came out of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in the Waterkeeper Alliance v. Environmental Protection Agency case.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act ("EPCRA"), both federal environmental laws passed in the 1980's, parties must notify the National Response Center (for CERCLA) or state and local government agencies (for EPCRA) when amounts of certain hazardous materials over a set quantity are released into the environment.

After this notification is made, the NRC notifies all necessary governmental authorities. The statutes give the EPA power to further investigate, monitor, and take remedial action if necessary.

An issue arose related to the application of these statutes to animal waste. At least two substances–ammonia and hydrogen sulfide–are emitted by animal waste during decomposition.

Both ammonia and hydrogen sulfide fall under the CERCLA definition of "hazardous substances" and EPCRA's definition of "extremely hazardous substances" to which the statutory reporting requirements apply. Under both statutes, the reportable quantity for ammonia and hydrogen sulfide is set at 100 pounds/day.

During rulemaking, the EPA proposed exempting farms from CERCLA and EPCRA reporting air releases from animal waste. The EPA reasoned that requiring reports for animal waste air releases was "unnecessary" because a federal response would usually be "impractical and unlikely."

They noted that, as of 2007, they had never taken a response action based on animal waste.

During public comment, the EPA expressly requested comments on whether there could be a situation where a response would be triggered due to air release from animal waste on a farm.

In 2008, the EPA finalized the rule. With regard to CERCLA, the rule exempts all farms from reporting air releases from animal waste.

Under EPCRA, while most farms are exempt from reporting, the exemption does not include confined animal feeding operations ("CAFOs").

A CAFO is defined as a farm that "stables or confines" more than a certain number of animals. For example, a CAFO contains more than 1,000 head of cattle, 10,000 head of sheep, or 55,000 turkeys. READ MORE
Published in Regulations
Wisconsin is known as America’s Dairyland. More than one-third of all the cows in U.S. live on approximately 3,000 farms in Wisconsin.
Published in Dairy
May 8, 2017, Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision May 5 to veto a bill protecting North Carolina’s hog farms from lawsuits sets up the fourth legislative vote to override a Cooper veto this year. If Cooper, a Democrat, doesn’t muster enough votes, the Republican-dominated legislature will hand Cooper his fourth defeat.

House Bill 467 was passed in April in response to 26 lawsuits pending in federal court against the state’s largest hog producer, Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods. In the suits, nearly 500 residents say hog farms have made their lives unbearable from odors, flies, buzzards, pig carcasses and other aggravations. READ MORE





Published in State
May 5, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – On May 2, 2017, Manitoba's Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) confirmed positive test results for PEDv from a sow operation in southeast Manitoba.

The CVO has activated Manitoba Agriculture's Emergency Operation Centre to assist the affected producer and conduct a full disease investigation. Control measures were implemented immediately, and a plan has been developed for restricted site access, barn cleanup and animal care. Producers within a 5-km radius of the infected site have been alerted, and are monitoring their herds and collecting samples for testing. All swine veterinarians with producer clients in the region have been notified of the site's location so that those producers are aware of the disease potential.

Sharing of the site location information was made possible by the affected producer voluntarily providing permission to his herd veterinarian to share the information at his discretion with Manitoba Pork and other swine veterinarians through signing this Sharing of Information Waiver. Providing this permission through the waiver allows the CVO and Manitoba Pork to assist the producer in a more comprehensive and timely manner, while concurrently protecting the broader pork industry. Manitoba Pork urges all producers to sign the waiver with their veterinarian – and encourages all veterinarians to ask their clients to sign it and keep it on file – ahead of a disease outbreak.

With a new case of PED in Manitoba, producers should take this opportunity to review and further strengthen their biosecurity practices, paying particular attention to the following:
  • Ensure that the trailers you allow on your farm have been thoroughly washed, disinfected and dried.
  • Exercise extreme vigilance with trailers coming back from assembly yards (known hotbeds for all swine diseases) and other major collection points.
  • Ensure that people coming onto your site follow strict biosecurity guidelines, with only essential service people being allowed into the yard and preferably parking outside of it if possible.
  • For trailers returning from the U.S., request that a second wash and a complete dry be done in Canada at a trusted facility.
All producers are encouraged to work with their veterinarian to review their biosecurity plans and ensure that their herds have the best practical protection from PEDv and other diseases.
Published in News
May 4, 2017, Pennsylvania – On the day of the inspection of the 350 acres he farms, Jay M. Diller drove his skid loader from the barn to meet staff from the district conservation office. The farmer pulled out large files from his desk and got ready.

Pennsylvania farmers like Diller are finding themselves under increased scrutiny as the state and many county conservation districts have ramped up their efforts to check whether farms have required manure management and sediment control plans. The inspections are part of the state's Chesapeake Bay "reboot" strategy announced last year that was aimed at getting its Bay cleanup efforts on track. READ MORE
Published in State
May 4, 2017, Auburn, NY – Several New York environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the state's Department of Environmental Conservation regarding the agency's newly released permit for large animal farms operating within watersheds. The groups argue that the permit violates the federal Clean Water Act.

The complaint was filed April 11 in state Supreme Court in Albany County by Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization. READ MORE
Published in State
April 25, 2017, Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf recently announced the investment of $39 million for 12 drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and non-point source projects across nine counties through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).

The investment includes four projects aimed at improving manure control facilities:

Chester County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Elmer Kaufman received a $408,039 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including a concrete waste storage structure, gutters and downspouts, four catch basins and new pipes, as well as planting 900 feet of new grass waterways, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into Two Log Run during wet weather.
Lancaster County
  • Chester County Conservation District and Daniel Esh received a $350,467 grant to install a variety of manure control facilities, including more than 1,000 square feet of paved and curbed barnyard as well as 14,400 square feet of reinforced gravel animal trail, in order to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of the East Branch of Octoraro Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and Fiddle Creek Dairy received a $245,494 grant to install a roofed manure stacking structure, a watering facility, underground outlets, as well as animal trails and walkways that will serve to reduce nutrient run-off into a tributary of Big Beaver Creek during wet weather.
  • Chester County Conservation District and David Stoltzfus received a $347,055 grant to make a variety of improvements it manure handling facilities as well as installing reinforced gravel animal walkways, a stream crossing and streambank fencing, all of which will reduce nutrient run-off into Muddy Run during wet weather.
"Today marked another special day for the PENNVEST program and for the citizens of Pennsylvania. By approving almost $40 million in funding for clean water projects across the commonwealth, the PENNVEST Board continued its commitment to improve the quality of our rivers and streams, the health of our families and the economic prosperity of our state", said Governor Wolf. "Together we will further the achievement of these goals and make Pennsylvania an even more desirable place to live and work for this and future generations."

Of the $39 million, $18.2 million is allocated for low-interest loans and $20.8 million is awarded through grants.

The funding comes from a combination of state funds approved by voters, federal grants to PENNVEST from the Environmental Protection Agency and recycled loan repayments from previous PENNVEST funding awards. Funds for the projects are disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST. READ MORE
Published in News
April 25, 2017, Sacramento, CA – The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has issued an administrative civil liability penalty of $75,600 against a Visalia-area dairy for failing to file its 2015 annual report on the impacts of its dairy operations on water quality. The board also adopted a cease and desist order against the operation for failure to comply with requirements set forth in the Dairy General Order.

The cease and desist order requires the owners to resume compliance with all the requirements of the Dairy General Order, including filing annual reports, or face the possibility of additional civil penalties and/or judicial enforcement from the California Office of the Attorney General.

"Fully complying with all requirements of the Dairy General Order is needed to protect water quality," said Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer for the Central Valley Water Board. "Annual reports are a vital component of the Dairy General Order because they inform the board about manure handling activities at dairies, and nutrient management planning on dairy cropland."

"It is critical that dairies adequately implement the requirements of the Dairy General Order including submitting annual reports that show they are taking the steps necessary to protect water quality. In assessing the penalty and adopting the cease and desist order, our board is recognizing a discharger's responsibility to comply with orders issued by our board, including submitting required documents."

According to the CVRWQCB, the owners of the dairy have failed to file annual reports required by dairies regulated under the Dairy General Order since 2009. Further site inspections have determined the owners have failed to implement many other requirements of the Dairy General Order.

The Dairy General Order, first adopted by the Central Valley Water Board in 2007 and revised in 2013, requires dairies to handle waste in ways that preserve and protect water quality. The order contains a number of requirements, including standards for manure and dairy wastewater storage, and criteria for the application of manure and dairy wastewater to cropland. The order also contains reporting requirements for regulated dairies, including the submission of annual reports, submission of a waste management plan, implementation of a nutrient management plan, and implementation of groundwater monitoring. Failure to submit any of the required reports is a violation of the order.
Published in Dairy

March 7, 2017 – Rotterdam-based architects are coming up with plans to transform the city through the construction of a floating dairy farm, which is expected to commence operation later this year.

The Floating Farm project team is led by Peter van Wingerden, Carel de Vries and Johan Bosman of property development company Beladon who see it as a way of bringing food production very close to the consumer when there is limited available space on land to do so. The designers aim to bring people into closer contact with the natural value of agriculture and horticulture, livestock farming and a healthy diet. READ MORE

 

Published in Dairy

February 15, 2017, Chippewa Falls, WI – With good sense and advance planning, CAFOs won’t destroy rural life as we know it. When dairy farmers, the public and county government cooperate, there is room for both CAFOs and good public health, say two of the state’s leading authorities on Concentrated Animal Feed Operations.

State Toxicologist Robert Thiboldeaux and Davina Bonness, Kewaunee County land and water conservationist, shared their expertise with Dunn County’s Livestock Operations Study Group which has been meeting since December to solve the conflicts between large-scale farms and public health. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

February 15, 2017, Findlay, OH – Given the warmer than normal winter and large amounts of rainfall received in areas, some livestock producers will be looking to apply manure in February when farm fields are frozen enough to support application equipment.

Permitted farms are not allowed to apply manure in the winter unless it is an extreme emergency, and then movement to other suitable storage is usually the selected alternative. This article is for medium and small livestock operations. READ MORE

Published in Other

 

Forget about cleaning cattle pens. An Ohio feedlot owner has taken the approach of housing his herd in a well-ventilated barn on slatted concrete floors. Manure collects in pits below the cattle pens, with the partially enclosed barn offering the cattle shelter from the elements.

Rom Hastings – co-owner of Hastings Farms General Partnership, along with his wife, Jodi, and son, Cody – says he doesn’t need to clean the barn except to pump out the collection pits below the concrete slatted floor once a year. The movement of the cattle within the pens propels the manure through the slats.

“As far as a slatted floor and manure collection pit operation, that is kind of unique for this area,” says Hastings. “At the time that the barn was built, it was probably state-of-the-art in the county … the cattle sleep and stand on those concrete slabs and the slabs have never been scraped since the barn was built, no power washing, nothing.”

Nor is there is any bedding used in the barn pens, which Hastings says is what he appreciates most about the barn enclosure. There is no need to handle and haul bedding out of the facility with this management system. And because the barn is well-ventilated, there is no requirement for fans or fly control. Also, in terms of potential accumulation of frozen manure on the floor in cold weather, Hastings says it has to be zero degrees for several days before he notices any accumulation.

A technical review of slatted concrete flooring suppliers shows that today, there are a number of suppliers aiming their products primarily at the hog and dairy industries, however, there is little or no mention of the beef cattle industry. For its time, it appears that this manure management method adopted by the Hastings for raising beef cattle was definitely breaking new ground.

The barn enclosure was designed by Hastings’ father and the landlord who owned the farm back in the early 1980s, with the expressed purpose of having a facility big enough to house a fairly large herd but with the need for minimal effort to manage the manure. At the time, Hastings, his father, and the landlord were partners in the cattle business, with Rom purchasing the farm in the early 1990s, eventually setting up a partnership with his wife and son.

The building design came about from investigating other barn enclosures as well as working with experts at Ohio State University (OSU).

The structure cost about $1 million to build in the early 1980s. Hastings says to build the same structure today, depending on the approach and who builds it, he estimates that it could be built for about $1.5 million.

When people think of raising cattle, they often picture places like Alberta or Texas. But Hastings says the part of Ohio where he is located has a long history of cattle farming, although like so many other branches of agriculture, cattle businesses have had to get bigger to survive. Hastings Farms is probably the largest beef cattle endeavor left in their county, with many smaller operations having shut down.

The approach of raising cattle in an enclosure with a manure collection system below the floor is markedly different from places like Texas, where large cattle herds sometimes numbering in the thousands are typically raised in open pens in feedlots. The accumulated and packed manure is scraped out and usually land applied as needed. Hastings says his approach of providing an enclosure offers his cattle herd with protection both winter and summer in an area that really needs it. The Ashville, Ohio, area where the farm is located typically accumulates about 25 inches of snow per year. Ashville is about 15 miles south of the state capital of Columbus.

“In the summer time, the barn offers protection from the heat and in the winter time its protection from the elements,” he says.

Feeding the cattle is also easier. Storage silos were constructed right next to the enclosure and in addition to the cattle, the barn roof protects an alleyway that is wide enough to accommodate a tractor and mixer wagon used to fill the concrete feeding bunks daily.

Currently, Hastings Farms manages a cow-calf operation essentially for breeding stock consisting of two herds with 30 head of cattle per herd raised on pasture – one being on rotational grazing and one not. The maturing calves from this operation are raised in the barn enclosure. The farm also purchases 300 yearlings annually that it raises within the barn. They consist of about 90 percent Black Baldy cattle, the rest being some Herefords and cross Charolais. Each yearling comes in at about 800 lbs and they feed them to 1,350 lbs. The cow-calf herd on pasture are a Black Angus cross breed.

Hastings says he purchases the yearlings from beef cattle farmers who don’t have the land base to grow the food necessary to raise their cattle to full maturity. He does have that capability.

Hastings Farms also manages a large, no-till, cash crop business on 4,300 acres of corn and soybeans, and about 200 acres of winter wheat. Of that cropland, the farm owns 1,600 acres, with the rest rented. All the feed used in the cattle operation is grown on the farm, and the manure pumped from the barn collection pits is applied and rotated typically on a four-year rotation as organic fertilizer on Hastings cropland.

The all-wood barn structure which houses the yearlings and maturing calves from the breeding herd measures 60-feet wide by 300-feet long. It is enclosed on three sides with the south side of the barn left open. The north side is walled in and windows installed about five feet above ground. Where the north sidewall meets the roof, there is about an 18-inch space for good ventilation from the rising manure fumes. The roof is metal and insulated to control how much the enclosure heats up in summertime. Inside the barn, there are eight pens. Each pen, measuring 30-feet by 36-feet is capable of housing 40 head of cattle, meaning that there typically are about 320 head of cattle in the barn at a time. An alleyway runs along the front of the pens so that feeding equipment can drive into the barn to deposit feed into concrete bunks placed in front of each pen.

The cattle in the pens stand on concrete slats, with the manure they generate dropping into 10-foot deep pits below each pen. There are a total of four pits below the entire cattle pen space, with each pit collecting manure from two pens.

The concrete slats – manufactured by United Precast Industries located in Mount Vernon, Ohio – are replaceable, and fit together in segments. Each segment measures 4-feet by 10-feet and there are 216 concrete slabs in the entire structure. Hastings says they went about 28 years before having to replace some of the concrete slabs, and that was only because the edges on some of the slabs were starting to chip off, making it harder for the cattle to walk on. Since the barn was built, they have replaced about 25 slabs.

There is spacing on each concrete segment of about 1.5-inches for the manure to fall through. Although beef cattle are hooved and can sometimes become nervous about certain types of materials beneath their feet, which is why Texas gates are so effective, Rom says that the cattle in his barn don’t react nervously walking on the slatted concrete floor. However, he is careful about how mature the animals are before he houses them in the barn to avoid the potential of younger cattle catching their hooves in the openings.

“The slatted floor is flat,” says Hastings. “The only thing is that the cattle need to be 500 lbs or bigger to be housed in there. You don’t want any small, weak calves in this facility because the smaller animals tend to have more hoof damage.”

Once a year, Hastings uses a Houle agitating pump to mix and remove the manure from each pit and load it into a 5,300-gallon Houle tank for land application. There is no water added to the manure collected in the pits, which have a capacity to collect manure for an entire year before needing to be cleaned.

The pits are pumped out either in July or September, with the manure surface applied either on harvested hay or wheat crops. Hastings says luckily the farm is still allowed to surface apply the manure in his county without incorporation because his farmland is generally flat, with not a lot of concern about potential surface runoff. The entire process of pumping out the pits and land applying the manure only takes about 40 hours, or four 10-hour days.

The manure is land applied at 4,000 to 5,000 gallons per acre on a four-year rotation. The manure feeds about 100 acres per year.

“On farms where the manure is surface applied, I’d say that it cuts down my fertilizer costs by 30 percent or more,” says Hastings.

The organic fertilizer is supplemented with commercial fertilizer as needed, based on soil sampling conducted every 2.5 acres.

Over the 35-year history of the barn enclosure, it has proven its worth for manure management as well as providing a comfortable environment for the herd. Because the enclosure is properly ventilated, the cattle raised inside have experienced no health issues.

 

 

 

Published in Beef

December 15, 2016, Casco, WI — A highlight of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin tour of the 6,000-cow Kinnard Farm in Casco was the sand recycling system that is in place on the farm since last year.

Lee Kinnard, CEO and owner of the farm, together with his brother Rod and his wife Maureen and sister Jackie and her husband David Stewart, described the benefits of the system that is a part of their manure management on the farm. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

August 29, 2016, Lancaster, PA – Silage harvest is starting soon, which means dairy farmers will also be stirring up trouble in their manure pits.

Noxious gases can escape from a manure lagoon at any time, but the risk is especially great when it’s being agitated. READ MORE

Published in News

April 26, 2016, Sioux Falls, SD – While often considered a condition of dairy cows, Johne's Disease has increasingly been identified as a concern for beef producers, and paying attention to manure exposure is a crucial component in controlling it, said Russ Daly, professor, South Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and state public health veterinarian.

Johne's Disease primarily affects the intestine, so manure is the source of bacteria that infects healthy cattle, Daly said. READ MORE

Published in Beef

February 17, 2016, Des Moines, IA — An Iowa father and son and a Wisconsin father and son died in July when they were overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas in manure pits. In both cases, one went into the pit to work on or retrieve equipment and was overcome. The others went in to help.

Hydrogen sulfide is a serious issue, said Dan Andersen, an ag and biosystems engineering professor at Iowa State University. He and Renee Anthony, an occupational and environmental health professor at the University of Iowa, reviewed the dangers of manure gases and outlined ways for producers to stay safe during a seminar at the Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines. READ MORE

Published in Swine

January 20, 2016 - This month, the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association (CASA) released an eight-part training series for dairy workers.

The Dairy Worker Safety Orientation Series covers:


  • Animal handling and health
  • Chemical safety
  • Feed handling and storage
  • General safety

  • Machinery safety in the field

  • Milking and chores
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Robotic safety.

“The program was laid out in a way that it would be suitable for someone with zero to little dairy experience, but was in-depth enough that an experienced dairy worker would gain insight from it as well," says Emily Kerr, a safety advisor with AgSafe. "I would recommend the program to dairy farm employers as a training tool for new and experience employees. Well done.”


The series is appropriate for anyone looking to develop, or brush up on their dairy safety skills, including producers, dairy workers, and health and safety professionals. The Dairy Worker Safety Orientation Series is affordable, professional and conveniently available 24 hours a day through CASA’s website.

Each course takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes to complete and offers a quiz at the end of the learning experience. Courses available in English only.



For more information on the Dairy Worker Safety Orientation Series or other CASA courses available online, visit casa-acsa.ca/training or contact Glen Blahey, Agricultural Safety and Health Specialist with CASA at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 1- 877-452-2272. Please note, CASA offers discounts and other services related to bulk online course purchases.

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Published in Dairy
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