Iowa State University researchers have completed testing of a key component of a new concept for disposing of animal carcasses following a disease outbreak.
The research someday may help producers facing animal disease emergencies, such as in 2015 when avian influenza resulted in disposal of millions of chickens and turkeys in Iowa and other states.
Jacek Koziel, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, said animal health emergencies occur around the globe each year due, not only to disease, but also to hurricanes, flooding, fire and blizzards.
These incidents often require the disposal of numerous animal carcasses, usually accomplished via burial. In research published recently in the scientific journal Waste Management, Koziel and his team analyzed a method that could help livestock, poultry and egg producers deal more efficiently and safely with crises that lead to sudden increases in animal mortality.
Koziel and his team focused their research on improving on-farm burial, the method most commonly employed for large-scale carcass disposal due to its low cost and ability to quickly reduce the spread of airborne disease and foul odors. But emergency burial can contaminate nearby water resources with chemical and biological pollutants, and many locations in Iowa are considered unsuitable for such practices by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Buried carcasses also decay slowly, sometimes delaying use of burial sites for crop production and other uses for years, Koziel said.
To overcome these problems, the researchers studied a hybrid disposal concept conceived at the National Institute of Animal Science in South Korea following a massive outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2011.
The method combines burial with aerobic digestion, a method commonly used for treating sewage in which air is pumped through the content to speed decomposition.
The experiment also included burial trenches lined with flexible geomembranes like those used to prevent seepage from landfills and wastewater treatment ponds to protect water quality. The researchers then injected low levels of air into the bottom of the trench to accelerate carcass decomposition and treat the resulting liquid contaminants.
The experiment tested the performance of the aerobic component of the hybrid method in a lab using tanks containing whole chicken carcasses, water, and low levels of oxygen that occasionally dropped to zero as would be likely in emergency burial trenches.
Results of the study showed low levels of oxygen accelerated carcass decay significantly, reducing carcass mass by 95 percent within 13 weeks, while similar tests without air produced no noticeable decay. The air and water used for the experimental method create an ideal environment for bacteria to break down the carcasses quickly, a "shark tank," as Koziel described it.
Chemical contamination in the liquid waste met U.S. Environmental Protection Agency criteria for safe discharge to surface waters. The hybrid method also eliminated two common poultry pathogens, salmonella and staphylococcus. Aeration also reduced odorous gases sometimes associated with mass burial.
Koziel said the the encouraging laboratory results could pave the way for follow-up field studies that will include evaluation of alternative geomembrane liners, aeration system designs and components, and performance testing of the complete hybrid disposal system.
The research was supported by funding from the Korean Rural Development Administration.
The award is given annually in acknowledgment of exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production.
“It is a privilege to recognize these nine family farms for the excellent job they do in being good stewards of their land,” said Tom Hensley, president, Fieldale Farms, Baldwin, Ga., and newly elected U.S. Poultry chairman. “Our industry could not continue to operate and flourish without taking proper care of our natural resources. These six winners and three finalists are to be commended for their efforts.”
Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques and participation in education or outreach programs. In selecting the national winners and finalists, applications were reviewed and farm visits conducted by a team of environmental professionals from universities, regulatory agencies and state poultry associations.
The winners were chosen from six geographical regions from throughout the United States. They are as follows:
Northeast Region winner – Baker’s Acres, Millsboro, Del. Terry Baker Jr., nominated by Mountaire Farms
North Central Region winner – Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Saranac, Mich. Greg Herbruck, nominated by Eggland’s Best, LLC
South Central Region winner – 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo. Bill and Lana Dicus, nominated by Cargill
Southeast Region winner – Morrison Poultry, Wingo, Ky. Tim and Deena Morrison, nominated by the Kentucky Poultry Federation and Tyson Foods
Southwest Region winner – Woape Farm, West, Tex. Ken and Dana Smotherman, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation and Cargill
West Region winner – Pickin’ N Pluckin’, Ridgefield, Wash. Rod and Glenda Hergert, nominated by Foster Farms
There were also three finalists recognized at the award presentation. They are as follows:
West Region finalist – Hiday Poultry Farms LLC, Brownsville, Ore. Randy Hiday, nominated by Foster Farms
Northeast Region finalist – Foltz Farm K, Mathias, W.Va. Kevin and Lora Foltz and sons, nominated by Cargill
South Central finalist – Featherhill Farm, Elkins, Ark. Bud and Darla O’Neal, nominated by Cargill
The hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year close to the Chesapeake Bay worries residents of Virginia's Eastern Shore. READ MORE
The McCloskey’s farm is located in Houston, where they grow broilers for Allen Harim Foods. On top of the four poultry houses, with a capacity of 136,800 birds per flock, the McCloskey’s farm 500 acres of grain. As part of their efforts to be good environmental stewards, the McCloskey’s have utilized diverse road-side plantings to help reduce dust, control odors, and increase aesthetics; a storm water pond on the farm is fed by seven swales; and they follow a nutrient management plan that utilizes their poultry litter for soil health benefits. When farming is done for the day, both Jordan and Randy serve as ambassadors for the industry speaking with neighbors about the antibiotic-free chickens they raise and debunking myths surrounding the industry.
The Environmental Stewardship Awards were presented recently to the McCloskey’s and three other runner-ups by Nutrient Management Commission Chairman Bill Vanderwende and Nutrient Management Administrator Chris Brosch.
“Each of the poultry companies nominates a Delaware poultry grower that excels in preserving and enhancing environmental quality on their farms,” Brosch said. “These farmers are great examples of the hard work and dedication that Delaware farmers have in protecting our land and water resources.”
- Josh Parker of Bridgeville who began farming in 2008, grows for Perdue Farms, with a capacity of 100,500 roasters per flock. Parker has planted a diverse assortment of flowering native shrubs and trees as visual buffers and windbreaks. He has planted bald cypress trees in swales between houses to help take up nutrients, while storm water from the production area drains into a farm pond for treatment.
- Norris and Phyllis West of Laurel, who grow for Mountaire Farms, have six poultry houses with a capacity of 168,000 broilers per flock. The West’s have been raising chickens since 1968. The farm has four modern and well-maintained poultry houses. On the property, the West’s utilize three manure sheds and two composters. They have created a drainage pond and planted the banks in trees as a buffer.
- Brian Kunkowski of Laurel, who grows for Amick, raises 144,000 broilers per flock in his four poultry houses on 32 acres. Along with a manure shed, the storm water engineering includes stone beds along the houses, grass swales draining to a 2.5-acre pond lined with giant trees and a screened drain. Kunkowski also owns horses, but leaves the hayfields un-mowed in the winter so that wildlife can benefit.
But while Riverhill Farms may seem unchanged by time, Rodes and his family are looking to the future. They have been experimenting with turning manure into energy for several years. Rodes even calls himself a “fuel farmer” in his email address. READ MORE
With no incineration, leaving behind no waste or byproducts and in just 30 minutes, ReGreen Organic's innovative recycling process transforms waste into clean, sanitary, odor-free and marketable products: Fertilizers, compost, animal feed and fuel pellets. READ MORE
The Virginia State Water Control Board, a citizen body appointed by the governor, this summer rejected state regulators’ recommended fines against a Tyson Foods facility that’s a hub for a growing number of chicken houses in Accomack County.
By a vote of 4 to 1, the board decided in July that a $26,160 fine proposed by the Department of Environmental Quality was insufficient, given the history of violations at the plant. The board’s rare rejection of a consent order negotiated by the DEQ to settle a pollution violation heartened activists, who fear the poultry industry’s expansion on their narrow, low-lying stretch of the Delmarva Peninsula puts the Chesapeake Bay and their quality of life at risk. READ MORE
Poultry farmers in the country can’t send the tainted manure to biomass power plants that convert the feces into electricity, as many typically do. They must send it to two incinerators equipped to eliminate the insecticide-contaminated feces, which can’t keep up with the demand to burn the chicken manure since August’s chicken egg scandal. The tainted manure has sat in barns and farms since that time. READ MORE
The award recognizes exemplary environmental stewardship by family farmers engaged in poultry and egg production. Those eligible for the award include any family-owned poultry grower or egg producer supplying product to a USPOULTRY member or an independent producer who is a USPOULTRY member. Nominations are due Oct. 16.
This year, the award was presented to exemplary family farmers in five regions of the country: Northeast, Southeast, South Central, North Central and Southwest. Nominations for the 2018 competition must be made by a USPOULTRY member or an affiliated state poultry association by completing the application provided by USPOULTRY. Each integrator or egg processor may nominate one grower or producer for each processing facility in each state supporting their operations.
Five families received the Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award in 2017. The winners were: Daniel Lausecker, Nature Pure, Raymond, Ohio, nominated by the Ohio Poultry Association; Tom and Kim Nixon, Glenmary Farm, Rapidan, Va., nominated by Cargill; Tammy Plumlee, Lazy J Farm, Fayetteville, Ark., nominated by Cargill; Collins Bullard, Bullard Farms, Stedman, N.C., nominated by Prestage Farms; and Gary Fuchs, Ideal Poultry Breeding Farm, Cameron, Texas, nominated by the Texas Poultry Federation.
Three finalists were also recognized in 2017. They were Dennis and Yvonne Weis, Den-Yon Turkey Farm, Webster City, Iowa, nominated by West Liberty Foods; Greg and Carla Grubbs, Natural Springs, Clinton, Ky., nominated by Tyson Foods; and William and Lana Dicus, 4 T Turkey Farm, California, Mo., nominated by Cargill.
"Best management practices are used by poultry growers to enhance environmental stewardship on their farms,” said Jerry Moye, retired president, of Cobb-Vantress, Siloam Springs, Ark., and USPOULTRY chairman. “The dedication and inventiveness that our award winners and finalists display each year through their environmental management practices is commendable.”
All semi-finalists will receive a trip that covers travel expenses and hotel accommodations for two nights to attend a special awards ceremony that will take place during the 2018 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Ga. Each semi-finalist will also receive a Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award sign to display near the entrance of their farm.
The overall winner of each region will be named at the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit, held in conjunction with IPPE, on Jan. 30, 2018. Each regional winner will also receive a $1,000 cash award. In addition, the farm for each regional winner will be spotlighted on USPOULTRY’s website, and the association will provide assistance in publicizing the farm’s award in local, regional and national media.
Competition details are available on the USPOULTRY website at www.uspoultry.org/environment.
The video features one of USPOULTRY’s Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award winners, Bullard Farms in Stedman, N.C. Collins Bullard and his wife, Alison, own a 1,500-acre farm with eight turkey houses. They also raise pigs and grow corn, wheat, soybeans and hay.
The Bullard’s grow 180,000 tom turkeys a year for Prestage Farms. All the litter produced by their turkeys are used on their crops. This has allowed the Bullards to increase profitability by eliminating the need for commercial fertilizer. They remove the litter after each flock and store the litter until it can be applied according to their nutrient management plan. Their storage facility is covered and off the ground to protect groundwater and prevent runoff of nutrients. The Bullards use a forced air compost facility that can hold 90,000 pounds of mortality at any given time.
The use of GPS allows Bullard Farms to apply litter in specific areas where there is a need versus applying to the entire field. The farm has implemented a phosphorus-based nutrient management plan since they started raising turkeys in 2006.
"My family has been farming for five generations, and a lot of changes have occurred over the years. Searching for new and better ways to farm has helped us to strive to use the best environmental management practices possible," said Collins Bullard.
“USPOULTRY and our members know the significance of exemplary environmental stewardship. We are pleased to be able to provide this video series highlighting the environmental efforts of our family farmers,” commented Jerry Moye, retired president of Cobb-Vantress and USPOULTRY chairman.
Bullard Farms was recognized for exemplary environmental stewardship by family farms engaged in poultry and egg production. Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award winners are rated in several categories, including dry litter or liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, innovative nutrient management techniques and participation in education or outreach programs.
The video can be viewed on USPOULTRY’s YouTube channel.
It's a new twist on an old joke, but it's true. Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) is restoring a former coal power plant to do exactly that, in the rural community of Lumberton, North Carolina.
Agriculture is an enormous industry in North Carolina. Known as the American Broiler Belt, the state garners hundreds of thousands of jobs from this industry, most of which comes from poultry. More than 5,700 farmers sell this type of harvest statewide and the local economy is $37 billion larger because of it.
Reflecting this success, chicken coops are expanding, both in size and in number. But because some of these farms produce 700 tons or more poultry manure each year, they're exceeding the amount of farmland that can use it as fertilizer. It has to go somewhere else, and if not managed properly, unneeded manure can be dangerous to the health of local waterways and the people who depend on them. READ MORE
Its PLF-500 biomass furnace offers a pioneering farm technology that addresses financial, health and environmental issues facing the agriculture industry.
Global Re-Fuel's warm-air biomass furnace – now in use on a farm in Texas – converts raw poultry litter into energy, providing heat to broiler houses while creating a pathogen-free organic fertilizer.
"A ton of litter has the equivalent energy content of 67 gallons of propane. Extracting that heat and using the ash as fertilizer is a really good situation, which not only helps farmers, but is also beneficial to the environment," says Glenn Rodes, a farmer who has used the technology on his Virginia poultry farm.
As the number of poultry operations in the U.S. increases, so do the attendant problems.
Today, there are more than 110,000 broiler houses in the country, with that number expected to exceed 131,000 by 2024, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) growth projections of the industry.
More than 32 billion pounds of poultry litter were generated in 2015. That number is expected to grow to more than 37 billion pounds per year by 2024, which will exacerbate the soil nutrient overload that contributes to runoff pollution into US waterways.
In addition, poultry farms require a great deal of propane to heat broiler houses, with the average broiler house using about 6,000 gallons of propane each year.
In 2015, more than 8.5 million tons of CO2 were emitted from burning propane to heat broiler houses, and that number is projected to grow to almost 10 million tons by 2024, according to the USDA. Global Re-Fuel's technology eliminates nearly 100 percent of propane usage, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 70,000 lbs/yr/house.
"The Global Re-Fuel PLF-500 increases farmers' operating margins, decreases pollution, eliminates propane usage – which reduces CO2 emissions – and improves poultry living conditions," says Rocky Irvin, a founding member of Global Re-Fuel and a poultry grower for more than 10 years. "It's good for the family farm and the environment."
The Delaware Nutrient Management Commission unanimously approved a pilot cost-share program intended to motivate increased adoption of freezer units.
Commission members cited several reasons for supporting the relatively new nutrient management practice, including improved worker welfare, enhanced biosecurity, better neighbor relations and a creditable reduction in pollution.
The commission, which has a long history of promoting good stewardship practices, already administers another hauling cost-share initiative. The state's manure relocation program, which has been operating for a decade, assists with the transport of litter from a farm where the excess nutrients were generated to another farm in need of nutrients or to an alternative-use facility.
"The new mortality relocation program is a natural complement to the original one," said Victor Clark, who co-owns Greener Solutions, a mortality collection service based in Millsboro. "Whether the excess nutrients are in the form of manure or mortality, encouraging alternatives to land application is one of the commission's stated strategic goals."
Interested farmers can apply to the Nutrient Management section of the Delaware Department of Agriculture for the cost-share funding. The reimbursement procedure is simple:
Growers must first register at www.accounting.delaware.gov/w9_notice.shtml before applying for cost assistance the first time.
The mortality collection company will send its customers a reimbursement form in January of each year containing the total fees paid in the prior year.
That form is then filled out and submitted to the Delaware Department of Agriculture as the invoice for mortality collection reimbursement.
The payment is then deposited directly into each applicant's bank account.
The reimbursement form will be added to the nutrient reduction statement that the collection company already mails annually to its customers. That one-page statement sets out how many pounds of mortality - along with the associated amount of nitrogen and phosphorous - were prevented from being land applied and potentially polluting area waterways.
"We thought it was important to share with the growers the real-world impact of their nutrient management efforts, so we began issuing these annual nutrient reduction statements a few years ago," said Terry Baker, Clark's business partner.
The amount of nitrogen and phosphorous being diverted from land application has broader implications. A joint application by Delaware and Maryland to assign the use of freezer units "interim best management practice" status was approved last year by the Chesapeake Bay Program's Ag Workgroup.
Member states can now use this BMP as part of their menu of options for reaching their pollution reduction targets. Once those interim numbers for nitrogen and phosphorous content are deemed final, all of the nitrogen and phosphorous that has been diverted since interim status was granted will be grandfathered in, meaning the states can claim those reductions, helping them to meet their overall nutrient reduction goals.
Chris Brosch, commission administrator, said, "The method of crediting this BMP already exists because it works the same way manure transport out of the state works, but with more ancillary benefits."
Using on-farm freezer units for mortality management is simple. Routine mortality is stored inside a specially designed freezer collection unit. A customized collection vehicle arrives between flocks to empty the units so they are ready for the next flock.
The deadstock is taken to a rendering plant where the material is recycled for other uses (like using poultry fat to make biofuels), which is why the material must be preserved in a freezer until pickup.
Growers switching to freezer units have been able to greatly reduce the time and money they previously spent on composting, realizing thousands of dollars a year in operational savings. They have also enjoyed better biosecurity because the sealed containers lock out scavengers and flies, reducing the risk of disease transmission. The grower, and the grower's neighbors, enjoy a greatly improved quality of life with the elimination of smells and flies.
For more information about the cost-share program, visit the Delaware Nutrient Management Commission at 2320 S. Dupont Highway, Camden, or call 302-698-4558. For more information about on-farm freezer collection units, go to www.FarmFreezers.com or call 844-754-2742.
Its critics charge that the anaerobic digester, if built, would pollute the air with methane and nearby waterways with nutrients while giving further license to the region's poultry industry to continue its expansion. READ MORE
According to some early findings from a study by Penn State graduate student Erica Rogers, poultry producers are potentially lowering their impact on the Chesapeake Bay.
Rogers and fellow Penn State graduate student Amy Barkley discussed those initial findings from their two master’s thesis projects with the poultry service technicians attending Monday’s Penn State Poultry Health and Management Seminar at the Lancaster Farm and Home Center.
Her project’s goal is to accurately depict poultry’s contribution to the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load. The Chesapeake Bay “is one of the most studied watersheds in the world,” she said, but the problem with the current model is “they are using outdated information for poultry.”
Rogers built her work around the concept that poultry litter management has changed and farmers have adopted more precise diets for their flocks. READ MORE
One strategy for dealing with poultry poop is to turn it into biofuel, and now scientists have developed a way to do this by mixing the waste with another environmental scourge, an invasive weed that is affecting agriculture in Africa. They report their approach in ACS' journal Energy & Fuels.
Poultry sludge is sometimes turned into fertilizer, but recent trends in industrialized chicken farming have led to an increase in waste mismanagement and negative environmental impacts, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Droppings can contain nutrients, hormones, antibiotics and heavy metals and can wash into the soil and surface water. To deal with this problem, scientists have been working on ways to convert the waste into fuel. But alone, poultry droppings don't transform well into biogas, so it's mixed with plant materials such as switch grass.
Samuel O. Dahunsi, Solomon U. Oranusi and colleagues wanted to see if they could combine the chicken waste with Tithonia diversifolia (Mexican sunflower), which was introduced to Africa as an ornamental plant decades ago and has become a major weed threatening agricultural production on the continent.
The researchers developed a process to pre-treat chicken droppings, and then have anaerobic microbes digest the waste and Mexican sunflowers together. Eight kilograms of poultry waste and sunflowers produced more than 3 kg of biogas — more than enough fuel to drive the reaction and have some leftover for other uses such as powering a generator. Also, the researchers say that the residual solids from the process could be applied as fertilizer or soil conditioner.
The authors acknowledge funding from Landmark University.
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International Symposium on Animal Mortality ManagementSun Jun 03, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2018 World Pork ExpoWed Jun 06, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Anaerobic Digester Operator Training – WisconsinTue Jun 19, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2018 North American Manure ExpoWed Aug 15, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
2018 Canada's Outdoor Farm ShowTue Sep 11, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Farm Science Review 2018Tue Sep 18, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM