Livestock Production
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 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 Research
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
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
Sioux Center, IA — Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges.

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

Doran said taking care of animals is a priority.

She says moving cattle to drier areas is critical as wet feet can lead to foot rot and lameness. Producers will also want to watch for other signs of health issues and make sure their vaccination programs are current since soil and water-borne diseases can be present for months following flooding. According to Doran, there is also the potential for grazing animals to swallow storm debris, such as nails and staples. Consequently, cattle should be monitored for hardware disease. | READ MORE
Published in News
A Vancouver college is looking for new ways to manage manure in British Columbia's Fraser Valley.

Working with Muddy River Technologies of Delta, B.C., researchers at Langara College are seeking a cost effective way to prevent soil degradation and water contamination by removing phosphorus, nitrogen and other byproducts from animal manure.

The Fraser Valley is home to about 500 dairies, and the high amounts of slurry cause environmental and economic problems. Farmers do not have enough land to dispose of it, and they cannot expand because of the limitations placed on them by excess manure, said Langara researcher Kelly Sveinson.

This spring the college received $90,000 from the B.C. Innovation Council Ignite Award to support the project involving Sveinson, chemist Todd Stuckless and Rob Stephenson, chief technical officer of Muddy River Technologies, which works on water and waste treatments.

The project involves removing phosphates from manure using an electrochemical process similar to that used in environmental cleanups. The second step is to use a biochar carbon filter to capture ammonia that can be released as nitrogen. Ultimately those products could go back on the land as fertilizer. | READ MORE
Published in News
More than 150 farmers, businesses and agricultural leaders were on hand in mid-June as Crave Brothers Farm and Crave Brothers Homstead Cheese of Waterloo hosted a Green Energy Showcase for June Dairy Month.

The Green Energy Showcase kicked off with an overview of two bio-digesters and green energy production, and an update on farm and cheese plant activities. And of course, it was a celebration of June Dairy Month.

The idea behind the showcase was for participants to learn about the family business, sustainable agriculture practices, modern agriculture technology, animal husbandy and green energy production. | READ MORE
Published in News
The state has made $17 million available to protect and conserve critical soil and water resources on farms across New York.

Grants provided through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program will help farmers address water quality challenges in priority watersheds by supporting environmental planning and the best management practices.

The program provides grants to County Soil and Water Conservation Districts on behalf of farmers statewide. The funding will assist farms with manure storage facilities for better nutrient management, with buffer strips to prevent nutrient runoff, and with cover crops to enhance soil health. | READ MORE
Published in News
The foul scent of manure is a fact of life in the country. Sometimes it smells like home. Other times the stink is bad enough to wrinkle your nose as you urgently roll up the car windows.

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

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

A bill moving quickly through the state Legislature would remove an advisory panel with input on those regulations, the Nutrient Management Advisory Board, and replace it with a new panel, the Farm Animal Advisory Board, broadening the scope of oversight and changing the make-up of the members to mostly large farmers. The move minimizes the role of environmentalists, critics say. | READ MORE
Published in State
Recent heavy rains in southern Minnesota finds some livestock producers scrambling to stem overflow from livestock manure storage basins. Pollution problems include overflowing manure and wastewater storage structures and releases from underground and above-ground storage tanks as well as open feedlots located in floodplains or in sensitive areas where runoff can enter surface waters.

Farmers must call the Minnesota Duty Officer immediately at (800) 422-0798 (calls answered 24/7) if their manure-storage facilities overflow, if manure enters surface waters or if their manure-storage structure is inundated by floodwaters. If their manure-storage facilities are in danger of overflowing, farmers can contact the MPCA at (800) 657-3864 or (651) 296-6300 (during regular business hours) and ask for a feedlot staff person. Farmers in feedlot delegated counties also may contact county feedlot staff.

To reduce the likelihood of an overflow, feedlot operators are encouraged to divert water from manure-storage facilities if possible. Manure stockpiles located in areas that could flood should be removed immediately.

While we can't control weather, planning ahead helps to better deal with the impact of bad weather on manure management and land application. A little more investment in storage, conservation practices, and planning can be a very cost-effective form of insurance. It also reduces the risk of economic loss of nutrients from surface-applied manure without incorporation. Farmers with open feedlots should scrape-and-haul weekly if possible.

For more information about flooding and the environmental problems it can create, visit the minimizing flood risk page on the MPCA website.

Factsheet: Managing manure storage and land application during adverse weather conditions.
Published in Storage
A decade ago, Maryland's environmental regulators greatly expanded their scrutiny of densely packed animal farms, including the chicken houses that crowd much of the Eastern Shore's landscape.

Since then, the Maryland Department of the Environment has approved scores of new industrial-scale operations without ever turning down an applicant. That may change, though, as a Maryland administrative law judge's ruling has found a recently issued permit in violation of the agency's own rules. | READ MORE
Published in News
Montpelier, Vermont - The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM, the Agency) has issued a revised Medium Farm Operation (MFO) General Permit (GP), following a lengthy information gathering and revision process.

The MFO GP sets standards for MFOs in the State of Vermont generating animal waste to ensure they do not have a discharge of waste to the waters of the State and operate in accordance with their Nutrient Management Plan. Unless otherwise given notice by the Agency, all farms meeting the definition of a MFO in the State of Vermont are required to operate under the coverage of this GP.

All MFOs must follow the Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) in addition to requirements outlined in the MFO GP.

The revision process focused on streamlining the MFO GP with the RAPs, removing duplicative language, and increasing the focus on nutrient management plan recordkeeping for MFOs. All MFOs currently covered, or farms seeking coverage under the MFO GP, must submit a new Notice of Intent to Comply (NOIC) within 180 calendar days from the issuance of a new MFO GP.

Hence, MFOs should submit a new NOIC by December 12, 2018. All forms referenced in the MFO GP, including the NOIC, can be found on the Agency's website (http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo) or by contacting the Agency Water Quality Division.

These forms are subject to revision so the applicant, prior to use of a form referenced in this MFO GP, should always consult the website listed above or the Agency Water Quality Division to make sure that they are using the current version.

The Agency is required to update the MFO GP every five years as outlined in MFO program rules. The current MFO GP was issued in 2012 and was therefore due for updating; the 2012 MFO GP continued in force and effect until the new MFO GP was issued. The MFO GP was established in 2007 and underwent revision for the first time in 2012. The newly revised MFO GP will be effective from 2018 to 2023.

For more information about the MFO GP revision process, to find the associated MFO GP Forms, or to read the newly revised MFO GP in full, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/mfo

Published in State
Sharon, Wisconsin – AQUA Innovations is proud to announce Son-Bow Farms as the first farm in Wisconsin to install its fully commercialized NuWay nutrient concentration system. The company has had systems running in other states, such as Oregon, for nearly eight years.

The AQUA Innovations NuWay nutrient concentration system eases the pain of managing dairy manure with an all mechanical separation process. The proprietary system is capable of reclaiming over 50 per cent of manure as distilled water without the use of harmful chemicals.

Another by-product of the process is organic super nutrient fertilizer, which contains sought-after nutrients like nitrogen and potassium with virtually no phosphorus or pathogens. This diminishes a farmer's dependence on chemicals by allowing them to care for crops using the super nutrient water by-product during the growing season.

"The NuWay system is environmentally compliant, customizable to any dairy operation and provides 24/7 remote monitoring and support from AQUA Innovations," said Chris Lenzendorf, president of AQUA Innovations.

This technology reduces the need to haul and store manure to later be spread on fields as fertilizer, which not only minimizes the smell of manure, but also the cost of transporting it.

Jay and Kristi Richardson of Son-Bow Farms, located outside of Spring Valley, Wisconsin, are the first dairy operators in the state to embrace this innovative technology from AQUA Innovations.

"We had been looking for a system to decrease our manure hauling costs for many years," said Jay Richardson, Son-Bow Farms' owner. "The financial impact is huge for us, no doubt about it. The synergies that this system allow are not only financial but environmental and neighbor friendly as well."

Former Governor Tommy Thompson and Green Bay Packers legend Frank Winters also back the technology as partners at AQUA Innovations.

"Jay and Kristi should be applauded for being pioneers and thinking about not only how to better their farm, but also the environment," said Frank Winters, AQUA Innovations shareholder. "I truly believe AQUA Innovations' technology and process will change the way dairy operators handle cow manure, not only here in the great state of Wisconsin, but across the globe."
Published in Dairy
Durand, Wisconsin — A group of Pepin County citizens is using the time provided by a moratorium on large-scale livestock facilities to offer solutions to a potential threat to groundwater that could occur when the moratorium expires if such a facility were to expand or move into the county.

The Neighborhood Ladies, an ad hoc group of Pepin County citizens concerned about the county's groundwater, is working to inform citizens and local officials on the levels of nitrates in groundwater and the health problems associated with nitrate contamination.

According to a news release from the group, their goal is, through research, to stop the practices that are eroding the county's water quality and to promote alternative farming methods that protect groundwater. | READ MORE
Published in Compost
Hancock County, Ohio - State grant money will be used to showcase a new way for local farmers to fertilize their fields.

This time of year, when cornstalks are becoming fully emerged, farmers will usually fertilize their crops with nitrogen rich fertilizer.

But a new system is being demonstrated for local farmers through the Ohio State University Extension office. Manure from the farms swine barn is pumped across the field and a special arm tool on a tractor incorporates the manure directly into the soil. | READ MORE
Published in Manure Application
What if odor from swine confinement barns could be reduced by 65 percent or more?

It's possible with trees and technology, according to Iowa Select Farms, which is incorporating evergreens and innovative electrostatic fencing at its new 4,800-head Hale Finisher Farm near Williams.

The odor associated with pork production is often transported on dust particles from hog barns. Planting trees and shrubs planted around hog facilities helps reduce odor, improve site aesthetics and helps control snow deposition. Iowa State University research shows that trees can help reduce swine barn odors by 10 to 15 percent. | READ MORE
Published in Swine
Puck Custom Enterprises recently upgraded its trademark LightSpeed software to the improved "LightSpeed Pro." This new version brings customers remote pump control with a higher level of efficiency and ease of use.

This software program was developed by PCE to enable automated pump control, whether for manure application or other fluid delivery uses. While it is an optional program for PCE customers, it syncs with the LightSpeed IQ technology that comes standard on all Puck Custom Enterprises pumps.

LightSpeed IQ is the only program on the market that offers in-depth pump diagnostics and insight, and when paired with LightSpeed Pro, gives users remote monitoring and control of their pumps in almost real time.

The LightSpeed technology can be operated on any tablet, phone or laptop in the cab of the applicator tractor without the need for any other hardware. It can also be outfitted and adapted to any third-party pump by PCE's service crew, giving all applicators the opportunity to adopt the high-tech system.

LightSpeed Pro is the newest iteration of PCE's automated pump control software, which first launched in 2007. More than a decade later, LightSpeed Pro includes a redesign geared toward ease of use and navigation, streamlined pump control and more in-depth diagnostics, in addition to full site-mapping capabilities. This feature is particularly useful for custom applicators and row crop farmers, who are now able to set up job sites, map the location of pumps and hoses, and lay out fields within LightSpeed Pro.

PCE designed and built the LightSpeed Pro and LightSpeed IQ software entirely in-house, which gives them the ability to react quickly to changes in the market and customers' needs. Compatible with nearly any connected device, it has a half-second update rate that results in near real-time visualization and pump control. Unlike many competitors' technology, LightSpeed also offers detailed diagnostics, helping applicators to find and address pump problems as they arise.

According to Matt Lindemann, PCE's technology specialist, the company's 11 years of experience with pump control software has allowed them to hone LightSpeed Pro into an invaluable tool for applicators — with a 99 percent uptime guarantee.

"This is a great service for our customers, and helps them increase their efficiency and effectiveness in the field," said Lindemann. "We're proud to offer this technology, built by an experienced team with firsthand pumping expertise."

LightSpeed Pro is developed and overseen by a PCE team with over 75 years of involvement in the industry, and even used by Puck Custom Enterprise employees on the application side of the business. As the LightSpeed Pro software becomes more robust and wide-ranging, PCE looks to continue innovating and updating its technology to meet its customers' needs and improve their efficiency on the job.
Published in Manure Application
Hauling manure on Alberta roads requires operators to pay close attention to highway safety, road infrastructure and the environment.

This factsheet discusses manure application equipment and road use requirements. Its purpose is to help farmers and custom manure applicators understand the impacts manure hauling equipment has on roads and bridges and the legal requirements for road access as well as providing tips and suggestions on how to minimize wear and tear on the infrastructure. | CLICK HERE
Published in Manure Application
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