Production
June 16, Winnipeg, Man. - The Manitoba Pork Council has been fighting the same battle for more than a decade.

In 2006, the provincial government issued a moratorium on hog barn construction, saying it was necessary because hog manure was polluting Lake Winnipeg. That message has stuck with the public, despite strict regulations around manure management and hog industry efforts to change the narrative.

The pork council plans to launch another information campaign this summer to try and make its case to urban Manitobans.

George Matheson, council chair and hog producer from Stonewall, said the organization would be buying ad space in Winnipeg. The promotion is needed because anti-livestock groups and journalists are spreading incorrect information about Manitoba's hog producers.

Matheson didn't specify which media but there have been many stories this spring, mostly in Winnipeg, suggesting the hog industry and its manure could endanger Lake Winnipeg. READ MORE
Published in Regulations
June 13, 2017, Des Moines, IA - From pigs in the show ring to the pork on the grill, World Pork Expo brings together every stakeholder in the pork industry.

Five key priorities emerged July 6 to 9 during the 2017 event. Each one could affect your operation's bottomline this summer. READ MORE
Published in News
June 5, 2017, WI - The vice chair of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board says he's confident the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is committed to reducing water pollution problems caused by manure runoff and that a formal proposal to do so is coming soon.  

Vice Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn has been monitoring the work of a technical advisory committee set up by the DNR in October 2016 to discuss potential changes in state rules. He said he expects a draft proposal to be ready in a month or two that will be available for public review and input.  

The changes are likely to address targeted performance standards for farmers in areas of the state with bedrock particularly vulnerable to groundwater contamination. READ MORE
Published in News
June 5, 2017, PA - Pennsylvania is offering a limited number of $1,000 grants to dairy farmers to help pay for the cost of developing plans to meet baseline agricultural compliance.

The grants can be used to offset some of the costs of preparing Nutrient Management, Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control Plans. Time is of the essence, however, because grant money must be spent by June 30.

Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), those with 1,000 or more animal units, already must have Nutrient Management Plans in order to operate. But all Pennsylvania livestock farms, regardless of size, must have Manure Management and Agriculture Erosion and Sediment Control plans.

In fact, the requirement for a Manure Management Plan has been on the books since 1972.

Having basic manure management plans in place has been an expectation for decades. However, inspections are now occurring in Pennsylvania. READ MORE
Published in Dairy
May 31, 2017, Arlington, VA – The National Dairy FARM Program has released its Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual in cooperation with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Released in celebration of Earth Day, the guide provides a comprehensive suite of on-farm management practices to reduce a farm's environmental footprint and improve its profitability.

Specifically, the manual features a detailed explanation of the FARM Environmental Stewardship (ES) module, as well as strategies to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in various areas of farm management, including feed, manure, energy, forage, and animal health.

FARM ES is a voluntary, farmer-driven tool that helps producers expand their sustainability efforts by using a limited amount of data about their farm. The module is based on a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of fluid milk conducted by the Applied Sustainability Center at the University of Arkansas, incorporating existing data from more than 500 dairy farms across the United States.

Launched in February, FARM ES is the third of the FARM Program's three silos, including Animal Care and Antibiotic Stewardship.

The FARM ES reference manual was developed by FARM and includes previous work completed by the Innovation Center. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led an independent review of the manual using a panel of subject matter experts.

"In an increasingly resource scarce world, we need to produce more food on the current amount of land, with less inputs and environmental impacts," said Sandra Vijn, director for markets and food at WWF. "FARM ES will support U.S. dairy farmers in continuously identifying better management practices for environmental stewardship. That is why WWF works with NMPF, the industry and dairy experts to ensure the program produces the best resources and solutions for farmers in terms of environmental sustainability."

This manual further demonstrates the dairy industry's culture of continuous improvement, the focus of the FARM Program.

Since 1944, the carbon footprint of a gallon of milk has decreased by 63 percent – a leading example of farmers' dedication to being good stewards of natural resources.

In addition to the manual, the FARM Program has developed an extensive library of resources regarding the program and environmental stewardship.
Published in Dairy
May 26, 2017, Reynoldsburg, OH - The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently introduced two new nutrient management tools intended to help farmers track planting conditions, and conserve nutrients.

The Ohio Applicator Forecast is a new online tool designed to help nutrient applicators identify times when the potential nutrient loss from a fertilizer or manure application is low.

Secondly, the Ohio Agricultural Stewardship Verification Program is a pilot certification for farmers who protect farmland and natural resources by implementing best management practices on their farms.

Both programs are voluntary and were announced by Ohio Agriculture Director David Daniels, at an event at Drewes Farms in Custar, May 17. READ MORE
Published in News
April 27, 2017, Wilkes-Barre, PA – A state court judge cited Pennsylvania’s Right To Farm Act (RTFA) in recently dismissing a case from neighbors who filed a lawsuit over the use of liquid swine manure as part of the defendants' farming operations.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr. decided to grant motions for summary judgment for the defendants and against a long list of plaintiffs who are landowners and neighbors of the hog operation. READ MORE
Published in State
April 25, 2017, Edmonton, Alta – Innovative research is reshaping what is known about ammonia and related emissions from feedlots. And that new knowledge may help the industry to adjust its management, shape and react to public policy more effectively.

"Livestock are significant emission contributors," says Dr. Sean McGinn of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a long-time researcher in the emissions area. "That's quite clear and generally recognized by the agricultural research community."

Some examples

Fifty to 60 percent of feed nitrogen is lost as ammonia at the feedlot. Eight to 10 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions are from agriculture and 90 percent of the atmospheric ammonia comes from cattle manure. Ammonia in the atmosphere is an economic loss because the nitrogen fertilizer potential of manure is lowered. And it's a health hazard. Ammonia mixes with acid to form fine aerosols, the white haze seen in confined airsheds.

"We know beef feedlots are 'hot spots' of ammonia emissions on the landscape, but we didn't know as much about the dynamics of ammonia emissions from feedlots. For example we didn't have real numbers from actual feedlots on how much is emitted, how much is deposited on nearby soil and how much re-emission occurs when that happens."

That's what McGinn and his colleague Dr. Tom Flesch (University of Alberta) set out to understand. Backed by funding from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA), a two-year project investigated the fate of nitrogen in feedlots, what amount is deposited on land downwind and how much is carried long distances.

The other part of their research involves measuring methane and nitrous oxide, two prominent greenhouse gasses. Methane is produced by cattle due to the anaerobic digestion of feed in the cow's rumen and both nitrous oxide and methane come from stored manure in the pens.

The research produced significant results on several fronts from techniques to measure on a commercial scale, to new information on transfer, deposits and re-emission to nearby lands, to related opportunities for mitigation and management.

New measuring techniques

One major positive outcome was the development of new measuring technology adapted from what has been used successfully for measuring flare emissions in the oil and gas industry.

Using open path lasers that move over the feedlot and calculate concentration and wind characteristics, the system is able to measure emissions regardless of wind direction.

Measuring in real world situations offers some significant advantages to the more standard research protocols of using animals in individual chambers to measure emissions, says McGinn.

This new technique evaluates the feedlot as a whole, which means it can consider whole-unit management aspects which impact emissions. Also, by keeping animals in their natural environment and not interfering with them in any way, the laser approach promises more accurate, commercial scale results.

On a bigger picture level, this means actual feedlot emission numbers can be used in greenhouse gas assessments, an improvement from past practices of using estimates from global sources.

Early results show surprises

One of the surprises learned from this study was the fact that a significant fraction of ammonia was deposited on the land adjacent to the feedlot and, once deposited, how much was reemitted into the atmosphere.

"Our results illustrate the dynamics of reactive ammonia in the vicinity of a beef cattle feedlot," says McGinn. "It confirmed that a large portion of the nitrogen fed as crude protein is volatized from the feedlot's cattle manure. In the local vicinity of a feedlot, both ammonia deposition (14 percent of the emitted ammonia) and reemission occurred. That 14 percent is a large amount considering a typical feedlot emits one to two tonnes of ammonia per day."

There was a change in the soil captured ammonia that decreased with distance from the feedlot (50 percent over 200 m).

Industry implications

Logically it follows that quantifying the local dry ammonia deposition to surrounding fields is required when applying feedlot-based emissions to a large-scale emissions inventory, says McGinn. Failure to do that could mean badly misrepresenting the real situation.

"We need better emissions numbers to anchor effective public policy and fairly represent the feedlot industry in that data pool," says McGinn. "It's important to have research done before policy is set. The U.S. cattle feeding industry already has specific ammonia emission targets in place."

Related scientific paper here: "Ammonia Emission from a Beef Cattle Feedlot and Its Dry Local Deposition and Re-Emission."
Published in News

March 29, 2017, Manitowoc, WI – At a recent forum on soil health and custom crops, two custom manure applicators who serve farms in east central Wisconsin described some of the practices designed to limit soil disturbance during the process.

Jesse Dvorachek, based near Forest Junction in Calumet County, reported that each of his two crews, using a total of 10 to 20 trucks, apply about 200 million gallons of liquid manure per year on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) farms. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

March 23. 2017, Springfield, IL – Pork producers continue to be industry leaders on environmental sustainability issues by using manure as a natural fertilizer to offset the use of commercial fertilizers.

Dr. Ted Funk, agricultural engineering consultant for the Illinois Pork Producers Association, has been charged with developing an Illinois Manure Calculator to help producers efficiently calculate their manure usage.

“The Illinois Manure Calculator is built for the Illinois-specific manure plan rules, enabling a livestock producer to quickly balance manure applications with field crop nutrient needs,” explains Dr. Funk. “The user enters manure storages with the respective manure sample data, information for fields that will receive manure, and the general type of manure application equipment being used.”

The app automates the nutrient management planning worksheet that Illinois livestock producers are already required to understand in their Certified Livestock Manager Training workshops coordinated by University of Illinois Extension.

“Calculating the right manure application rate has always been a time-consuming exercise for producers, because they have to gather data from several places before they can compute the answer,” explains Dr. Richard Gates with University of Illinois Extension. “This mobile app puts everything right at their fingertips. I can see how it could become one of the most-used apps on the smartphone during the manure hauling season.”

The app calculates a manure application rate, based on the choice of nitrogen or phosphorus limits, and the N, P, and K that will be applied to the field. It also allows the user to enter a trial application rate, to see the effect on the nutrient balance. Completed calculations can be emailed directly to the user for entry into the farm’s main manure nutrient management plan.

“Producers are always looking for ways to improve their current manure management and application practices,” says Jennifer Tirey, executive director of the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “This free manure rate calculator will give producers another tool in the tool box for carefully developing their manure management plans while utilizing best management practices.”

The mobile app is available for iPhone and Android users. To download the free app visit the app store and search for “Illinois Manure Calculator.”

The development of the Illinois Manure Rate Calculator was provided by funding from the Illinois Soybean Association check off funds and the Illinois Pork Producers Association.

Published in Swine

 

Liquid manure application in the Midwest typically happens in spring and fall each year. The majority of liquid manure application takes place using a tank or a dragline applicator, providing additional nutrients to crops.

Tank applicators transport manure from the livestock facility to agricultural fields and apply manure using a tank-mounted tool-bar. For fields that are close-by, manure can be pumped directly to the dragline-mounted tool-bar. In either case, a pre-determined application rate is used to pump manure through a manifold, which distributes manure to the application points across the tool-bar.      

“Environmental regulations require producers to make sure manure is being applied to agricultural fields in accordance with their manure management plans,” said Dan Andersen, assistant professor and extension agricultural engineering specialist with Iowa State University.

Variations in tank capacities, manure densities and the presence of foam can cause the application rate to be different from the target number, as can variations in drive speed. Application rate should be verified, and both tank and dragline applicators need to be calibrated to ensure accurate application.

Both distribution of manure and calibrating the applicators are covered in a pair of new ISU Extension and Outreach publications – “Distribution of Liquid Manure Application” (AE 3600) and “Calibrating Liquid Tank Manure Applicators” (AE 3601A). Both are available through the Extension Store. A “Calibration Worksheet for Liquid Manure Tank Applicators” (AE 3601B) is also available.

Calibration of the application rate, in terms of gallons per acre applied, can be achieved using an area volume method. For applicators without automated controls, the volume of manure applied in a given pass should be determined. Knowing the density of the manure and the area covered in the pass, the application rate can be determined. Instructions for determining density and coverage area are included in publication AE 3601A.

There are manure applicators that use tractor-mounted automated flow controls to achieve accurate application rates. In these cases, flow controllers use a flow meter with an actuator to govern the flow rate and, subsequently the application rate.

“The majority of flow meters are set at the factory for their rated measurements, which can potentially be different when used for manure application,” said Kapil Arora, agricultural engineering specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “The flow meters should be verified to ensure they are providing correct flow rate readouts to the flow controls.”

Achieving calibration of the target application rates only provides an average amount applied on a per acre basis. This application rate is delivered to the manifold mounted on the tool-bar, which then distributes the manure to the application points. This distribution of the manure across the tool-bar swath should be uniform so the variability among application points is minimal. This distribution should be verified only after the calibration for the application rate has been completed.

Split manure application, manure application to soybeans, high total nitrogen testing manures, and use of the Maximum Return to Nitrogen Rate Calculator can all cause the manure application rates to be lower than what was previously being used.

“Distribution across the toolbar points can be verified by capturing the discharge from each point for a known time,” Arora said. “Care should be taken to set up the equipment as close to the field conditions as possible. Aim for as low a variation as possible in the captured discharge so that better distribution is achieved across the toolbar swath.”

 Kapil Arora is an agricultural and biosystems engineering specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Daniel Andersen is an agricultural and biosystems engineer, also with ISU Extension.

 

 

Published in Other

February 24, 2017, Central Saanich, BC – Stanhope Dairy Farm Ltd. and the District of Central Saanich have agreed to a settlement, allowing the operation to continue its farming practices.

“We are satisfied with this being an outcome. I know that there are some residents who have different feelings on this. What I would say is that the municipality weighed all the information and came to this conclusion and I think that the conditions placed are ones that we’re going to continue to observe and make sure that the conditions are honoured,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

February 24, 2017, Wellington, FL – Palm Beach County commissioners approved a land use change that would allow a horse manure recycling facility to operate between Belle Glade and Wellington, the epicenter of the county’s equestrian industry.

The land use change will be transmitted to state officials for review and come back to commissioners for final approval in March or April when Horizon Compost hopes to get approval of its zoning application for a facility that would be located on 32 acres eight miles east of Belle Glade and eight miles west of Wellington. READ MORE

Published in Other

February 6, 2017, Champaign, IL — Illinois Manure Share, created by the University of Illinois, is a manure exchange program that brings gardeners and landscapers searching for organic materials for use in composting or application in contact with livestock owners.

The program, initially intended to help commercial farmers find markets for their manure, has evolved over time. Today, most of the manure providers are horse farms and many of the buyers are from the Chicago area. READ MORE

Published in Compost

January 18, 2017 – The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center has partnered with the Manure & Soil Health team to present four roundtables aimed at improving knowledge and understanding about the role of manure in soil health.

The four, hour-long roundtables will consist of a panel discussion with two to three experts who will be asked to summarize their current understanding of each roundtable topic. Each panel will also include a practitioner who will share perspective on critical information needs of farmers and advisors and field experiences relative to use of manure. Panels will be moderated to encourage interaction with audience. Roundtable participants will be invited to ask questions of panelists and share expertise and experience through polling pods and a chat box.

All of the roundtables start at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET) and in the following order:

  • Feb. 9, 2017 – Manure & soil health testing (Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune, Donna Brandt, Russell Dresbach, Geoff Ruth)
  • Feb. 16, 2017 – Manure & soil biology (Rhae Drijber, Michele Soupir, Dr. Jonathan Lundgren)
  • Feb.23, 2017 – Manure & soil erosion, runoff, and losses (Nathan Nelson, John Gilley, Mike Kucera, Andy Scholting)
  • March 9, 2017 – Manure & cover crops (Tim Harrigan, Barry Fischer, Heidi Johnson, Sarah Carlson)

Attendees are asked to register for the dates that correspond to the topics they are interested in. After registering, a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting will be sent.

If a microphone and speakers are available on the computer being used, phone line participation is not needed. For those new to Zoom, three short videos may prove helpful:

Published in Other

January 18, 2017, Lincoln, NB – This easy-to-use record keeping calendar for livestock operations that keeps track of manure related records is available to all livestock producers.

The calendar can be used by all sizes of livestock operations and includes all records required for operations permitted for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). It has been approved by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) and recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a valuable resource for livestock producers.

“It’s a simple and organized way to keep monthly records in one place,” says Derek Schreiter, NDEQ inspector.

The calendar is available for free by contacting Leslie Johnson ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or NDEQ. If you have a 2016 calendar, you may also mail in the postcard found at the end of the calendar to get your free copy of the 2017 calendar. Calendars are good through January 2018. On-line orders can also be made at http://go.unl.edu/nm.

To view an electronic sample of the calendar, go to http://extensionpublications.unl.edu/assets/pdf/ec136.pdf .

One example of the kinds of records the calendar can help you maintain is found here: http://go.unl.edu/3cg2

Records of rainfall, storage depth gauge levels, and storage and equipment inspections are an important aspect of required manure and runoff storage records for a NDEQ permit. These and other records will help you gain value from manure nutrients and document your stewardship of the environment.

Published in Swine

January 16, 2017, Baltimore, MD – Supporters say the Perdue AgriRecycle facility a few miles from the Maryland state line is one solution for chicken farmers on the Eastern Shore who need to get rid of manure.

Along with the chicken litter, the Perdue facility receives hundreds of thousands of state taxpayer dollars each year. A state program reimburses farmers, brokers and poultry companies for half of their costs to haul manure around Delmarva and beyond. Perdue is one of the largest beneficiaries. READ MORE

Published in News

 

Farmers facing tight markets can impact their profitability by understanding the top five criteria in manure management decisions, according to experts at the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) recent manure management workshop.

More than 60 farmers attended the event to learn how to better manage their fertilizer source on and off the farm.

“The first thing you’ve got to do is determine how much manure you need and where it should be applied,” noted Abe Sandquist, founder of Natural Fertilizer Services. Addressing manure needs is a game of building organic matter and maintaining soil fertility. This balance can be achieved by comparing yield history, manure sampling and soil testing.

“Soil testing is kind of like figuring the odds of your fertility,” said Sandquist. “When you’re fertilizing in a low soil test field, you’ve got a higher chance of getting a yield response that’s profitable.”

Secondly, Sandquist said farmers must determine what equipment they will use based on holding capacity, density of their manure source and the range it can be hauled economically.

Dan Andersen, an agricultural and biosystems engineering assistant professor of Iowa State University, noted that manure management decisions should make manure “logistically cheaper to move and more nutrient rich.”

Although solid manure is easier to transport, liquid manure generally retains more nitrogen, especially if it is stored in a deep pit rather than a lagoon. According to Andersen, manure storage systems of the future will likely be designed to retain even higher nutrient levels.

Another component of manure management includes precision application. Thanks to advancements in GPS technology, manure application tools have allowed farmers to better target their acres using variable rate control and yield analyses. The trick to benefiting from these advanced tools also involves optimum timing of application.

“Immediate injection or incorporation will reduce ammonia volatilization and retain 95 to 100 percent of the nitrogen content in the soil,” said Dr. Jim Friedericks, outreach and education advisor at AgSource Laboratories. “Broadcasting or surface application will reduce retention from 70 to 90 percent.”

Lastly, alternative options such as selling manure or composting give livestock farmers flexibility in managing their fertilizer source. However, depending on the size of the farm, certain rules and regulations must be followed to ensure land and water resources are safeguarded. Farmers who have questions about these guidelines can contact the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers for a free and confidential consultation.

CSIF is a non-profit organization that assists livestock farmers who want help interpreting rules and regulations, guidance on good site locations for barns, counsel on enhancing neighbor relations and tips on how to protect the environment at no cost. It was created as a joint partnership involving the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Egg Council, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association.

Haley Banwart is an assistant field specialist with the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.

 

 

 

Published in Other

January 2, 2017, Columbus, OH — The Ohio State University Extension has four nutrient management plan writers who will be on hand on select days this winter to work with farmers to prepare a free nutrient management plan.

The writers will work with any grain/vegetable/crop producers and/or non-CAFO livestock producers who can provide information including soil tests, implement details, crop rotation and yield goals and farm maps. READ MORE

Published in Swine

December 20, 2016, Lincoln, NE – Eight Nebraska Extension offices across the state will offer workshops in January and February providing livestock and crop farmers with information on how to turn manure nutrients into better crop yields while protecting the environment.

Livestock producers with livestock waste control facility permits received or renewed since April 1998 must be certified. READ MORE

Published in Beef
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