It was a rare rebuke of one of the country's rapidly growing farming companies, and comes as China sustains a years-long effort to tackle its notorious pollution problem that includes frequently calling out companies that have failed to comply with regulations. | READ MORE
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 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).
The event's collaborators also include OFBF and Ohio-based Cooper Farms.
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
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.
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
It also coincided with the launch of a new, four-year effort by Dane County, called Suck the Muck, designed to literally suck a century's-worth of phosphorus from 33-miles of streams that feed the county's lakes.
Phosphorus, a nutrient found in the manure applied to agricultural fields, makes its way to Wisconsin waters (and waterways elsewhere) in runoff following rain storms. When the weather is warm, it can lead to the foul-smelling water and toxic algae blooms that plague lakes like Mendota, which is situated in an agricultural landscape.
This runoff may be getting worse, according to a recent study from researchers with the Water Sustainability and Climate Project at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With a changing climate, the frequency of high-intensity rain events is on the rise. These storms bring heavy rains over a short period of time and exacerbate phosphorus runoff from manure-covered agricultural fields, more so than scientists expected.
"Both things are bad for water quality – too much manure is bad and too many intense storms are bad, too," says lead author of the study in Environmental Research Letters, Melissa Motew. "This is a story about how one problem really compounds another problem."
Indeed, the Lake Mendota algal bloom came on the heels of the second-wettest May in Madison's recorded history, and its eighth warmest. The National Weather Service reported that May 2018 was the wettest on record for the contiguous United States.
But Motew didn't start out asking how heavy storms and manure interact synergistically to affect water quality. It was while studying legacy phosphorus in soils – the accumulation of the nutrient over time – that she and the research team noticed something interesting in the data.
"We knew that heavy rain transports a lot of phosphorus off of a field and in 2014, (co-author Stephen Carpenter, emeritus professor and director of CFL) found that a relatively small number of rain events each year were delivering the majority of phosphorus to the lakes," she explains. "We happened to notice that it seemed like when we had periods of heavy rainfall we were seeing worse water quality than we expected. It prompted us to set up this study."
Climate change is bringing more intense rainfall across the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and Northeast. The 2014 study from Carpenter and colleagues showed that 74 percent of the phosphorus load in Lake Mendota is now delivered across just 29 days each year, and a 2016 study from scientists at Marylhurst University in Oregon and UW–Madison showed that annual precipitation in the Yahara watershed, which includes Lake Mendota, increased by 2.1 mm each year between 1930 and 2010.
This amounts to an increase of about seven inches of additional rain today, Motew explains. That same study also showed that while the frequency of large storm events in the region averaged 9.5 events per decade between 1930 and 1990, between 1991 and 2010, the number of large storm events nearly doubled, reaching 18 events per decade.
Using simulation models, Motew and the study team asked how more extreme rain events might interact with manure-and-fertilizer phosphorus supply on croplands to affect runoff at the level of an individual lake and the streams that feed it. That is, what happens when a given amount of rain falls on a field over the course of two hours instead of 24 hours?
"The model lets us scale up and make interesting observations from the scale of one field to the entire watershed," she says. "Models let us home in and study the process of how phosphorus moves in great detail."
Using two 60-year climate scenarios, one which assumed daily precipitation, maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speeds, relative humidity and solar radiation similar to current mean annual values in Madison, and another assuming more extreme rain events, Motew's model explored what happens to phosphorus concentrations in Lake Mendota and its tributary streams under low- and high-intensity precipitation conditions.
It took into account the real-life practices of farmers in the watershed – including their typical fertilizer and manure applications and tillage practices, the amount of phosphorus already stored in the surface layers of the soil, and the composition of the land around Lake Mendota. More than half of the land surrounding it is agricultural.
Motew found that dissolved phosphorus – the kind found in manure, as compared to other fertilizers and that found in soil – combined synergistically with heavy rain events to increase the amount of phosphorus running off into Lake Mendota and its streams.
"This puts us at even greater risk of worsening water quality," says Christopher Kucharik, study co-author and Motew's former graduate advisor. "This result also has wide-reaching implications because the synergistic relationship will likely be present in many agricultural watersheds around the world, where livestock and surface water co-exist."
Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for living organisms like crops. But what it does on land, it also does in water: encourages growth of organisms like plants and algae. When they die, these organisms fall to the bottom of an affected waterway, decomposing and consuming oxygen. This kills wildlife and encourages the growth of cyanobacteria, the organism behind toxic algae blooms. In some parts of the country, it can lead to dead zones, like in the Gulf of Mexico.
Farmers in Dane County and elsewhere are already applying less manure and doing so more precisely, Motew says, and she is hopeful these strategies will help to reduce phosphorus runoff from their croplands.
Motew, who is now a research fellow at The Nature Conservancy, also thinks farmers should be a part of continuing efforts to improve water quality. "We need to partner more with farmers so we can not only improve our own research by using better data, but so we can work together and build on their ideas, too." she says. "They know the problems up-close-and-personal and can provide insights we haven't considered. We as scientists can help explore where those insights may lead."
Motew adds: "Farmers are key to solving the problem, even though they are frequently blamed. We all need to take responsibility for our food system and find ways to support farmers in better manure management."
The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant numbers DEB-1038759 and DEB-1440297).
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
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."
The three-year study is being performed to combat the 1.8 million tons of waste produced annually in Alabama from its $15 billion poultry industry.
Phosphorous-rich poultry litter is a big concern in Alabama and other states where the litter is used to fertilize fields. If the nutrient leaks into waterways, it can cause toxic algae blooms which can lead to deficient oxygen levels and destruction of life in the water.
The study will look at the Sand Mountain region of North Alabama and a row-crop field in Wisconsin, two large agro-ecosystems that are currently having issues with managing their phosphorous levels. | For the full story, CLICK HERE.
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
The goal of this effort is to improve program effectiveness and increase stakeholder engagement.
Funded by California Climate Investments, AMMP provides financial assistance for the implementation of non-digester manure management practices in California, resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Accordingly, all new practices must achieve methane emission reductions at California dairy and livestock operations through non-digester management practices.
Submission requirements, the process for inclusion, and additional details can be found at: www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP.
The average nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) content of broiler litter is 62, 59, and 40 lbs/ton, respectively. Having your manure analyzed for its actual plant nutrient content is recommended. Armed with this and appropriate soil test information you can decide on the best plan of action to use poultry litter for specific cropping needs. | READ MORE
"The goal is to improve the sustainability of how we apply and how we use manure on crops and find more value in the manure," Dr. Dana Kirk, biosystems and agricultural engineer with Michigan State University's Anaerobic Digestion Research & Education Center, said during a presentation on manure treatment technology options presented by DAIReXNET.
The question is whether a dairy wants to treat its manure and, if so, what technology will work best for it. That depends on the characteristics of the manure produced, including its moisture, nutrient content and contamination, Kirk said, as well as how the farm beds and handles its manure collection and conveyance. | READ MORE
The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool uses past and predicted National Weather Service weather data like precipitation, temperature, and snow melt. It predicts the likelihood that applied manure will run off fields in daily, next day, and 72-hour increments.
Farmers and commercial applicators use an interactive map to locate their field and find the forecasted risk.
Users can also sign up for email or text messages for their county that alert them to a severe runoff risk for that day.
"By providing this information, we hope to give our farmers and commercial manure applicators the tools they need to make well-informed decisions," said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. "By being able to better predict times of high runoff risk, we can decrease the potential loss of manure to our waterways and increase farm productivity by saving nutrients on the land. It is a win-win situation based on an easy-to-use tool."
When someone goes to the interactive map, the runoff risk is displayed in one of four categories: no runoff expected, low, moderate, and severe. When the risk is moderate or severe, it is recommended that the applicator evaluate the situation to determine if there are other locations or later dates when the manure application could take place.
The forecasting tool can also be used by others looking for climate information including two-inch soil depth temperatures which are useful at planting time, and six-inch soil depth temperatures which are helpful when determining fall fertilizer application in appropriate areas.
The Minnesota Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is part of a larger federal project. The National Weather Service has provided data and guidance to states to create similar tools in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. State funding for the project was provided by the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.
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