Manure Management
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
About 100,000 gallons of manure have spilled into two streams in Pennsylvania, killing fish in the area but not posing a threat to the water quality.

LNP newspaper reports a manure storage facility failure at a farm in Sadsbury Township caused the spill March 5. The state Department of Environmental Protection says the manure facility was located under a barn and had the capacity of 150,000 gallons. | READ MORE
Published in News
Farm manure could be a viable source of renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo are developing technology to produce renewable natural gas from manure so it can be added to the existing energy supply system for heating homes and powering industries. That would eliminate particularly harmful gases released by naturally decomposing manure when it is spread on farm fields as fertilizer and partially replace fossil natural gas, a significant contributor to global warming.

"There are multiple ways we can benefit from this single approach," said David Simakov, a professor of chemical engineering at Waterloo. "The potential is huge."

Simakov said the technology could be viable with several kinds of manure, particularly cow and pig manure, as well as at landfill sites.

In addition to being used by industries and in homes, renewable natural gas could replace diesel fuel for trucks in the transportation sector, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

To test the concept, researchers built a computer model of an actual 2,000-head dairy farm in Ontario that collects manure and converts it into biogas in anaerobic digesters. Some of that biogas is already used to produce electricity by burning it in generators, reducing the environmental impact of manure while also yielding about 30 to 40 percent of its energy potential.

Researchers want to take those benefits a significant step further by upgrading, or converting, biogas from manure into renewable natural gas. That would involve mixing it with hydrogen, then running it through a catalytic converter. A chemical reaction in the converter would produce methane from carbon dioxide in the biogas.

Known as methanation, the process would require electricity to produce hydrogen, but that power could be generated on-site by renewable wind or solar systems, or taken from the electrical grid at times of low demand. The net result would be renewable natural gas that yields almost all of manure's energy potential and also efficiently stores electricity, but has only a fraction of the greenhouse gas impact of manure used as fertilizer.

"This is how we can make the transition from fossil-based energy to renewable energy using existing infrastructure, which is a tremendous advantage," said Simakov, who collaborates with fellow chemical engineering professor Michael Fowler.

The modelling study showed that a $5-million investment in a methanation system at the Ontario farm would, with government price subsidies for renewable natural gas, have about a five-year payback period.

A paper on modelling of a renewable natural gas generation facility at the Ontario farm, which also involved a post-doctoral researcher and several Waterloo students, was recently published in the International Journal of Energy Research.
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
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
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
Nitrate levels above the drinking water standard of 10 ppm are frequently found in subsurface drainage tile water or groundwater below farm fields of the upper Midwest. Nitrogen comes from applied manure and fertilizer, along with natural mineralization of organic matter.

What was done
Winter cereal rye planted as a cover crop has been shown effective in capturing nitrate before it leaches from the root zone. We conducted on-farm trials in central and southern Minnesota to determine if a rye cover crop would capture significant root-zone nitrate in the fall and spring but release it in time to maintain yield in the subsequent corn crop.

In the fall of 2015 and 2016, we partnered with 19 farmers (ten in 2015 and nine in 2016) to drill strips of cereal rye immediately after harvest of corn silage or soybean. After the rye was established and soil temperatures began to fall, we injected liquid dairy or swine manure into the cover crop and check strips. Three replications (with and without cover crop) were planted as wide or wider than the farmer's combine or silage chopper. The following spring, we sampled the cover crop for biomass and nitrogen content. We also soil sampled the cover crop and check strips to a 24-inch depth for nitrate. The rye was terminated, usually before reaching eight inches in height. In most cases, the rye was terminated with herbicide and tilled in. Corn was planted in the cover crop and check strips, usually with a small amount of starter nitrogen. We measured yield and nitrogen content of the corn at harvest.

Fall manure injection into cereal rye cover crop.

Fall manure injection into cereal rye cover crop.
Cereal rye at same location two weeks after manure injection

Cereal rye at same location two weeks after manure injection
Spring rye growth at the same site.

Spring rye growth at the same site.

Our results indicated
Spring Soil 24 inch Nitrate. Cover crop had 124 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre. No cover crop had 202 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre. The difference was 78 pounds of nitrate nitrogen per acre.

In both years, adequate growing season existed to establish the rye cover crop after either corn silage or soybean harvest, but above-ground fall growth was limited.

The rye was very resilient to manure injection, however, stand reduction was considerable at two sites where shank injectors or disk coverers were too aggressive.

Spring rye growth was good at most sites, with soil nitrate reduced under the cover crop compared to the check strips at all sites.

Rye growth and nitrogen uptake were greater in southern than central Minnesota.
Across sites, there was no significant difference in silage or grain yield between the cover crop and check strips.

Grain yield adjusted to 15 percent moisture. Cover crop yielded 199.5 bushels per acre whereas no cover crop yielded 201.2 bushels per acre.

Corn silage yield adjusted to 65 percent moisture. Cover crop yielded 20.7 tons per acre whereas no cover crop yielded 20.8 tons per acre.

Take home message
We concluded that, in central and southern Minnesota, it is feasible to establish cereal rye cover crop after corn silage or soybean harvest, inject liquid manure, capture root-zone nitrate with the rye, and deliver sufficient nitrogen to the subsequent corn crop.

Additional experiments are needed to determine any nitrogen recovery effect of no-till vs tillage termination, as well as supplemental nitrogen needs if the rye were terminated at a later maturity.

Authors: Les Everett, University of Minnesota Water Resources Center and Randy Pepin, University of Minnesota Extension

Reviewer: Melissa Wilson, University of Minnesota and Mary Berg, North Dakota State University
Published in Manure Application
February 22, 2018, Champaign, IL – The Illinois manure haulers group will be holding several update meetings for members during March and April.

On-site workshop sign-in and late registration starts at 10:30 a.m. for each meeting. They will begin at 11 a.m. and conclude by 1:30 p.m. The registration cost is $20 and lunch is provided. Register here.

Some of the rules and setbacks for manure spreading in Illinois were changed by the 2014 Environmental Protection Agency AFO/CAFO rules. Commercial manure haulers and farm operators can learn how these rules – which address all livestock facilities in Illinois – affect their operations, by attending one of the four regional meetings being held this spring. This is an important, unique opportunity to hear Illinois rules clarified by experts. Speakers include Illinois EPA regional environmental protection specialists, University of Illinois Extension faculty and educators, and agriculture commodity group representatives.

Sponsored by the Illinois Pork Producers, Illinois Farm Bureau, and University of Illinois Extension, these information-packed mid-day meetings are designed for anyone involved in hauling and spreading livestock or poultry manure in the state. Operators need assurance that they are correctly interpreting the 2014 Illinois EPA rules for manure application; at these events, the regulations will be illustrated using lots of example cases for clarity. Manure nutrient management planning and data recording tools, manure gas personal safety monitors, and best management practices for environmental protection will also be discussed. Register soon for a meeting near you! These events are a great value, seats are limited, and we anticipate a big turnout this spring.

Dates and locations are below.

March 8, 2018 – Mahomet, IL; Farm Credit Illinois, 1100 Farm Credit Drive, Mahomet, IL 61853

March 15, 2018 – Mt Vernon, IL; Farm Credit Illinois, 410 Potomac Blvd, Mt Vernon, IL 62864

March 20, 2018 – Monmouth, IL; Compeer Financial, 700 E. Jackson Ave, Monmouth, IL 61462

April 3, 2018 – Sycamore, IL; DeKalb County Farm Bureau, 1350 W. Prairie Dr., Sycamore, IL 60178
Published in State
February 20, 2018, Western Grove, AR – Operators of an unpermitted hog farm in the Buffalo River's watershed must clear improperly stored hog manure and develop a plan to manage the manure by March 15, a judge has ordered.

But the farm won't have to shut down or get an operating permit, Boone County Circuit Judge Gail Inman-Campbell ruled this month. READ MORE
Published in Swine
February 15, 2018, Lansing, MI – Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Agribusiness Association are hosting a meeting March 1 at Michigan Farm Bureau in Lansing to introduce a manure hauler certification program.

Anyone who applies manure is urged to attend. The purposes for the meeting are to present the draft version of the proposed manure hauler certification program, receive comments on the material that has been developed in support of the certification program and increase hauler knowledge of manure application.

The goals of the certification program are to:
  • Prevent manure application problems before they occur.
  • Increase nutrient management plan implementation.
  • Demonstrate responsible manure application.
  • Increase the base level of manure management knowledge of all applicators.
The certification program consists of three tiers. Individuals who are certified at tier one have a basic knowledge of manure spill response and proper manure application techniques. Individuals achieve this level by passing a test. Once certification has been awarded, individuals will be required to take two hours of training and testing annually to retain tier one certification. Tier two certification is for anyone who supervises manure application. This level focuses on more advanced training and may include topics like odor management, using GPS in manure application, ethics and regulations. Maintaining tier two certification requires participating in a minimum of four modules over two years and showing proficiency through testing. Tier three is achieved by developing and implementing an environmental management system (EMS) plan. An EMS plan is designed to improve the day-to-day management of farm and for-hire applicator business practices with an emphasis on environmental stewardship.

One of the benefits of a certification program includes a reduction in pollution insurance premiums. Since 2003, the Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin (PNAAW) has partnered with the insurance industry to provide discounts for manure applicators that participate in their voluntary certification program. Due to court decisions in 2015 that decreed bacteria was a pollutant, PNAAW spent a year revamping the insurance portion of their certification program. PNAAW initially looked at a group policy, but then opted to go with individual policies in grouped pools based on the program. The new program has a strengthened auditing component by the insurance industry and provides full environmental coverage for $10 million aggregate. The new discounts average 38 percent on all insurance, except workman’s comp, for for-hire applicators. In its first year, the new program saved applicators more than $300,000. Dave Anderson with Vincent Urban Walker and Associates (Green Bay, WI) was a primary architect in designing the revamped insurance component of the certification program. He will provide more details on the insurance premium reductions offered to certified manure haulers and the third party verification process conducted by the insurance industry during the meeting.

While the morning will be spent learning about the manure hauler certification program, the afternoon will be spent learning about the impact of the Lake Erie watershed on Michigan agriculture, getting a regulatory update from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and learning about manure handling and storage safety.

There is no registration fee to attend the winter manure hauler meeting due to the generous financial support from Bazooka Farmstar and Bambauer Equipment. However, registration is required to ensure an accurate handout and lunch count. To register and get more details on the meeting, go to The registration deadline is February 26. If you have questions about the program, contact Charles Gould at 616-994-4547 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in Associations
February 13, 2018, Minneapolis, MN – It may be hard to imagine spring coming anytime soon with the recent arctic temperatures, but in a few short months it’ll be time to apply nutrients for the upcoming crops. If you plan to apply manure, now is the time to start mapping out your plans for the year to save headaches down the road. Here are some tips to get you started on your plans and for applying manure this spring:
  • Inspect equipment. Make sure everything is functioning properly. To avoid leaks or spills, replace or repair anything that needs fixed.
  • Get your manure sampled and analyzed, or find your most recent manure analysis. This will give you an accurate idea of how many nutrients are available to you.
  • Plan applications for each field. Calculate your application rates using the nutrient needs of your upcoming crop (based on the University of Minnesota recommendations) and your manure nutrient analysis. Subtract out any nutrient credits from manure applied in the past 3 years or from legumes grown in the past year.
  • Determine any setbacks needed in fields. This includes streams, ditches, lakes, tile inlets and sinkholes. Also mark locations of sensitive features to avoid.
  • Put together an Emergency Action Plan. Make a list of emergency contacts in case of a leak or spill and think of ways that you could possibly contain a spill so that you can have the appropriate tools on hand.
Tips for manure application:
  • Monitor the weather. Avoid applying immediately before a predicted rainfall.
  • Avoid wet or frozen fields. Manure can very easily run off of a frozen field, especially in spring rains. On fields that are wet, adding manure (which has liquid in it) will only increase the likelihood of runoff or the start of tile flow. You are also more likely to cause soil compaction in wet conditions.
  • Apply manure according to calculated rates. Do not overapply! Nutrients are less likely to be lost to our waterways when applied at appropriate rates.
  • Monitor equipment for leaks. Have equipment handy for stopping leaks and for cleanup. Know the numbers you need to call if there is a spill.
  • Keep records. Always note the field location, manure source and amount applied. Keep records on file for at least three years.
For the latest nutrient management information, visit the UMN Extension Nutrient Management website.
Published in Other
February 12, 2018, Greenwich, N¥ – As winter manure spreading regulations have tightened over the years, dairy farmers must consider ways to expand manure storage, especially those whose herds are growing.

About 90 people turned out recently for “Managing Dairy Manure Systems: Sharing Experiences of Farmers and Engineers,” a program put on by Washington County Extension. They learned the pros and cons of different practices such as hauling, satellite lagoons, pumps and draglines, and how to implement such systems. READ MORE

Published in Regional
February 9, 2018, Yuma, CO – An anaerobic digester plant that would covert animal waste into a usable energy source, among other things, is being planned for south of Yuma.

Sheldon Kye Energy and Harvest Operating LLC are teaming up to develop the digester. Both companies are headquartered in the metro Denver area. Brian Johnson is heading up the project for Sheldon Kye Energy, and Alan Nackerud is the Harvest Operating representative. READ MORE
Published in Anaerobic Digestion
February 1, 2018, Sacramento, CA – The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $9.64 million in grant funding to 17 alternative manure management projects across the state.

These projects, part of the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions on California dairy farms and livestock operations by using manure management practices that are alternatives to dairy digesters (i.e. non-digester projects).

The winning projects can be viewed here.

When livestock manure decomposes in wet conditions, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 72 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Changing manure management practices so that manure is handled in a dry form can help significantly reduce methane emissions. These reductions contribute to the state’s overall short-lived climate pollutant strategy under Senate Bill 1383, which aims to reduce California’s methane emissions to 40 percent below 2013 levels by 2030.

“California dairy farmers are leading the way in proactively addressing greenhouse gas emissions” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “I am excited to see both the diversity of farms and the variety of non-digester manure management practices being adopted through these projects that will help meet the state’s climate goals.”

Financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester practices 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. AMMP grant recipients will provide an estimated $2.7 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2017 Alternative Manure Management Program projects is available at .
Published in Dairy
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 25, 2018, Madison, WI – The state Department of Natural Resources Board has approved new restrictions on manure spreading in 15 eastern Wisconsin counties.

The DNR developed the rules largely in response to widespread groundwater contamination in Kewaunee County. Manure runoff has harmed drinking and surface water in parts of the county and other communities.

The regulations limit how much manure farms in the counties can spread. The limits vary according to the depth of each farm's topsoil. Farms with less than two feet of topsoil would be prohibited from spreading any manure. The restrictions also carve out zones around wells where farmers can't spread manure. READ MORE
Published in State
January 24, 2018, Madison, WI – Factory farms in eastern Wisconsin would have to limit manure spreading under new restrictions the state Department of Natural Resources board is poised to adopt in an attempt to protect groundwater from contamination.

The DNR has been working on the regulations for two years, largely in response to widespread drinking water contamination in Kewaunee County. The initial version called for statewide manure restrictions, but the dairy industry balked at the potential costs after Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s office shared the plan with farm groups. READ MORE

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 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
You might wonder what dry weather and feedlot runoff would have in common. On the one hand, a spell of dry weather can cause expanding areas of moderate drought and dry soils. But dry conditions also make for an excellent time to maintain your feedlot runoff control system.
Published in Beef
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