Production
The historic floodwaters from Hurricane Florence are creating widespread impacts across all of eastern North Carolina. Several hog farms have been affected.

NC Pork Council officials are aware of one lagoon breach that occurred on a small farm in Duplin County, where an on-site inspection showed that solids remained in the lagoon. The roof of an empty barn on the farm was also damaged.

There are also three lagoons at other facilities that have suffered “structural damage.” It’s not known what this damage entails.

Nine other lagoons in the state have been inundated by floodwaters. This means the walls of the lagoon are intact but floodwaters have risen over the sides and filled the lagoon. The solids have remained settled on the bottom of the lagoon.

According to a report from NCPC, a further 13 lagoons are at capacity due to rainfall and appear to have overtopped. Others are at capacity and efforts are being taken to respond within the state’s regulations and with its guidance.

“We do not believe, based on on-farm assessments to date and industry-wide surveying, that there are widespread impacts to the … more than 3,300 anaerobic treatment lagoons in the state,” NCPC officials stated in a release. “Waters from the record-shattering storm are rising in some places and receding in others. We expect additional impacts to be reported as conditions and access allows.”

The farmer association added that in the lead-up to the storm, hog producers took extraordinary measures, including moving thousands of animals out of the hurricane’s path.

“The storm’s impact was felt deeply across a very large region and the approximately 5,500 swine losses reported … were the result of all aspects of the storm, including wind damage and flooding. We are saddened by this outcome.”

“We do not expect the losses to increase significantly, though floodwaters continue to rise in some locations and circumstances may change. Our farmers are working tirelessly now amid persistent and severe logistical challenges to continue the delivery of feed, to ensure power is operating on farms [as many use wells for water], and to reach the barns to provide proper animal husbandry. We believe deeply in our commitment to provide care for our animals amid these incredibly challenging circumstances.”
Published in Swine
The North Carolina Pork Council released the following statement in regards to this recent court verdict -  

The verdict is heartbreaking and could have severe and unforeseen economic consequences for our farmers, the pork industry and all of North Carolina agriculture.

It is heartbreaking because the jury did not hear the full story about Joey Carter's farm – and now an honest, hardworking farmer stands to lose everything. Joey Carter has always followed and exceeded the state's laws, which are the strictest regulations of any state and on any sector of agriculture. He invested in modern technologies. And he responded promptly to any concerns raised by his neighbors, who said his farm is not a nuisance. He should not be punished.

It is heartbreaking because Joey Carter's farm deserved a fair trial. And yet, the jury was prevented from hearing the expert testimony of a renowned scientist who studied the area around the farm and determined it does not produce objectionable odor.

The jury was prevented from visiting the farm in person – a request made by the defendant, Murphy Brown LLC. The jury was prevented from hearing about how these cases arose when out-of-state lawyers canvassed neighborhoods promising big payouts to plaintiffs who sued their neighbors.

We encourage an appeal to the Fourth Circuit, which must review the decisions that directly shaped the outcome of the trial.

This verdict signals that no farmer in North Carolina is safe from financially ruinous lawsuits even if they comply fully with all laws and regulations, as Joey Carter did; even if they use best management practices, as Joey Carter did; and even if they had never received any complaints from their neighbors, as was the case with the Carter farm.

We expect this verdict will force Smithfield Foods to reevaluate its operations in the state. We encourage state, county, local and agricultural leaders to show strong support for a company that has and continues to invest millions in modern technology and research in North Carolina and employs 10,000 people in rural counties.

This case is exactly why farmers like Joey Carter needed clarity and legal protection, and we applaud the bipartisan group of lawmakers who adopted changes this week to provide certainty for agriculture in the 2018 Farm Act.
Published in News
Dirty cows have a negative impact on milk quality, including greater chances of getting mastitis and a high somatic cell count.

Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail, and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Since the ban on tail docking of dairy cattle, managing manure for cow hygiene is as automated as it has ever been.

"Automated alley scraper systems have been successfully used on livestock farms for decades to keep freestalls and cows clean," said Andy Lenkaitis, GEA product manager for manure equipment. "I work with many farmers who produce high-quality milk and have cows with long tails. They make management of their automated alley scraper systems a priority to avoid tail entanglement or animal injury." | READ MORE
Published in Dairy
A federal jury awarded more than $470 million to six neighbors of a hog farm in Pender County who complained of excessive noise, odor, flies, buzzards and other disruptions to their quality of life.

The stunning verdict, reached after just three hours of deliberation, came against pork producer Murphy-Brown, and marked the third time that juries have ruled against the company in a nuisance lawsuit. At $473.5 million, this was the largest of the three.

The first two verdicts were reduced in line with state law capping punitive damages. The cap will lower the amount to $94 million in total damages in this case. | READ MORE
Published in News
Animal mortality is a fact of life, and in livestock production the challenge is dealing with the number of animals over time and their size.

It is becoming more difficult to find outlets for spent animals, and cost must be considered. Mortality composting has gained in popularity over the years, but with that practice comes concerns related to nutrient management. T

here were several papers on animal mortality management presented at the Waste to Worth Conference held in April 2016. Craig Williams, Extension educator in Tioga County, gave two presentations on mortality composting.

He worked with a swine producer wanting to switch from burial to composting. This operation had a three percent mortality rate, or approximately 250 deaths per year in the finishing operation. The producer built a compost barn with a three-foot center dividing wall.

In the first year, approximately 56 cubic yards of wood chips/bark mulch was used. In the second year, this was replaced with 40 cubic yards of sawdust. The compost temperature is reaching 130 degrees, and so far there have been minimal issues in mixing and turning the compost. | For the full story, CLICK HERE


Published in Compost
A new, state-of-the-art system for managing dairy manure with an all-mechanical separation process in operation at Son-Bow Farms near Spring Valley is sure to be of interest when dairy producers from throughout the region hit the road mid-July, for the Wisconsin Dairy Tours.

Son-Bow Farms, which milks 1,300 cows and operates 2,400 acres, is the first farm in Wisconsin to install AQUA Innovations' NuWay nutrient concentration system. It was officially commissioned in June. Farm owner Jay Richardson said he expects the proprietary system, when fully operational, to save the farm time, money and hassle. | READ MORE
Published in Dairy
Two farms operated by China's fourth-biggest pig producer Jiangxi Zhengbang Technology were found to be illegally dumping manure and allowing noxious sewage to seep into farmland, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said.

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
Published in News
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has awarded $69.9 million in grant funding to 40 dairy digester projects across the state. These projects, part of the Dairy Digester Research and Development Program (DDRDP), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from manure on California dairy farms.

Dairy manure produces methane when it decomposes. Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that traps more than 80 times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Dairy digesters help capture methane emissions, which can be used to produce electricity or natural gas.

"Dairy operations in California continue to step up to ensure the agriculture sector contributes to climate change mitigation and adaptation. These collaborative efforts between the State, dairy operations and developers are making California a national and international leader in supporting on-farm methane reductions using climate-smart agriculture management approaches that also generate renewable energy," said CDFA secretary Karen Ross.

Financial assistance for the installation of dairy digesters 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. Dairy digester grant recipients will provide an estimated $95.5 million in matching funds for the development of their projects.

Information about the 2018 Dairy Digester Research and Development Program projects is available at www.cdfa.ca.gov/go/dd.
Published in News
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is reminding livestock producers to review changes made to standard animal weights that take effect in 2019.

These new weights could reclassify some livestock farms as Concentrated Animal Operations (CAOs) or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), requiring those farms to adopt new levels of compliance with nutrient management laws. | READ MORE 
Published in State
Sioux Center, IA — Recent rains and flooding have cattle producers dealing with flooded pastures, water-logged facilities and manure management challenges.

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

Doran said taking care of animals is a priority.

She says moving cattle to drier areas is critical as wet feet can lead to foot rot and lameness. Producers will also want to watch for other signs of health issues and make sure their vaccination programs are current since soil and water-borne diseases can be present for months following flooding. According to Doran, there is also the potential for grazing animals to swallow storm debris, such as nails and staples. Consequently, cattle should be monitored for hardware disease. | READ MORE
Published in News
Bernie Teunissen recently made a major technological investment in his 3,800-cow dairy to ensure its operations will remain sustainable long into the future.

Teunissen, who runs Caldwell-based Beranna Dairy with his sons Bernard and Derek, had been disposing of manure by vacuuming it into a 5,000-gallon tank, mounted on a tractor, and spreading it on their nearby farm fields.

But after years of applications, the family's fields were approaching maximum nutrient limits, especially for phosphorus.

To remedy the problem, Teunissen and his family installed a high-tech system that separates the solid waste from manure for conversion into a high-value - and easily manageable - compost, some of which they sell to neighbors' farms and orchards. | READ MORE
Published in Profiles
A decade ago, Maryland's environmental regulators greatly expanded their scrutiny of densely packed animal farms, including the chicken houses that crowd much of the Eastern Shore's landscape.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published in State
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation is now accepting new dairy and livestock manure management practices for consideration in the Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).

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.
 
All submissions are due by 5:00 P.M. PDT on June 28, 2018 and must be submitted to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Published in News
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) has teamed up with the National Weather Service to design a tool that helps farmers and commercial applicators determine the best time to apply manure.

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.
Published in Manure Application
Chittenango, NY - The dust bowl era in the Midwest displaced many families, including farmers. Edson and Harriet Durfee were one of them. Luckily for New York and Madison County, they and their three children moved back east from Nebraska and settled their dairy farm on 120 acres of river bottom soils and Honeoye hills which fed the appetites of the, then, quiet hamlet of Chittenango.

Going on five generations in the community since then, their dedicated land stewardship, soil conservation and farm management has garnered the coveted 38th annual Conservation Farm of the Year by the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District. | READ MORE
Published in News

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.

Published in Other
Pipestone, MI - Six new feedlots were built and two existing feedlots expanded in Pipestone County in 2017.

The additional six feedlots brought the number of feedlots in the county that are required to be registered to 447, according to an annual feedlot report the county must submit to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

The MPCA requires feedlots capable of holding 50 or more animal units, or 10 or more animal units in shore land areas, to be registered. | READ MORE
Published in News
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the 2018 Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP).

The AMMP is one of two programs designed by CDFA to reduce dairy and livestock greenhouse gas emissions. The program will provide $19 to 33 million in grants to California dairy and livestock operators to implement non-digester manure management practices that reduce methane emissions.

Applicants must access the 2018 Request for Grant Applications at www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/ammp/ for detailed program requirements and application instructions.

CDFA has partnered with the State Water Resources Control Board to utilize its online application site, the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST). All prospective applicants must register for a FAAST account at https://faast.waterboards.ca.gov to apply. Applications and all supporting information must be submitted electronically using FAAST by Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

All prospective applicants should access the AMMP webpage for information regarding additional, free-of-charge technical assistance conducted by non-profit organizations, Resource Conservation Districts and California academic institutions to assist in the submission of AMMP applications.

Prospective applicants may contact CDFA's Grants Office at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  with general program questions.
Published in News
August 30, 2017, Ohio - When hay is harvested nutrients are removed from the field. A ton of alfalfa removes approximately 13 pounds of phosphorus (as P2O5) and 50 pounds of potash (as K2O). According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Ohio harvested 2.6 tons per acre of alfalfa in 2016.

Many hay fields are not pure alfalfa. The acidic soils of the southern and eastern parts of the state make it difficult to maintain an alfalfa or clover stand so a mixed stand of grass and alfalfa/clover is common. Stands in older fields are often just mostly grass. A grass hay crop will remove just as many nutrients per ton as an alfalfa crop. The big difference is that the annual yields from grass hay fields are usually about 1.3 tons per acre lower than alfalfa fields.

Livestock manure can be used as a fertilizer source to replace nutrients removed through hay harvest. Pen pack beef manure will contain approximately 7.9 pounds of nitrogen (mostly in the organic form), 4.4 pounds of phosphorus (P2O5) and 6.6 pounds of potash (K20) per ton according to OSU Extension bulletin 604. Note that these are older book values and your actual farm manure nutrient levels can vary depending upon the animal's ration, the amount and type of bedding material used and how manure is stored and handled. The recommendation is to sample and test manure at least on a yearly basis. This will provide a more reliable indication of the actual nutrient content of the manure on your farm. For more information about how and when to sample manure, Penn State Extension has a good publication available on-line at http://extension.psu.edu/plants/nutrient-management/educational/manure-storage-and-handling/manure-sampling-for-nutrient-management-planning.

Let's assume a livestock producer wants to use pen pack beef manure to replenish the nutrients in a hay field where he harvested three tons per acre of hay. Since alfalfa and grass hay both remove similar amounts of nutrients per ton, we can assume the three tons of hay removed per acre contained 39 pounds of P2O5 and 150 pounds of K2O. If pen pack beef manure was used to replenish these nutrients, 8.8 tons per acre would be sufficient to replace the phosphorus. However, a rate of 22.7 tons per acre would be needed to replace the potash. The 22.7 ton per acre manure application rate would result in almost 100 pounds of P2O5 being applied per acre, far more than was removed in the three tons of hay.

A farmer would need to be cautious about using this practice repeatedly and growing the soil phosphorus level. It takes about 20 pounds of phosphorus applied to a field to raise the soil test level one pound per acre or two parts per million. So if the soil test level is low, the additional phosphorus from the manure would not raise the soil phosphorus level much in a single year.

The key to using livestock manure to replace the nutrients removed through hay harvest is to get even distribution of the manure across the entire field. Having mowed hay fields as a teenager, where bedded pack manure was applied, I would strongly urge an even distribution pattern across the field. Avoid large clumps that will plug the mower or interfere with regrowth.

If you are unsure how many tons per acre your solid manure spreader applies there is a simple way to make a determination. Make a heavy plastic piece that is 56 inches by 56 inches. Fasten it to the ground with weights on the corners and apply manure across the plastic. Fold up the plastic and weigh the manure captured. Many people use a bathroom scales for this. One pound of manure captured on the plastic is equivalent to one ton of manure applied per acre. Thus, if you captured 10 pounds of manure the application rate was 10 tons per acre.

It is common for county extension offices to have farmers ask; "Can manure be applied between cuttings"? The answer is "yes". Farmers commonly use liquid swine and liquid dairy manure between cuttings to replace soil nutrients and "boost" regrowth of the forage crop in northwest Ohio. There is the potential to damage the crowns of the forage plants but most farmers seem to like the results of the manure application. Solid manure could also be applied between cuttings instead of waiting until fall to apply the manure. The manure application should take place as some as the hay is baled.

Liquid beef manure is also being used to replace nutrients in hay fields. Liquid beef manure we have sampled has contained 40 pounds nitrogen (about half in the organic form and half in the ammonium form), 35 pounds of phosphorus (P2O5) and 30 pounds of potash (K20) per 1000 gallons of product. Applied with a drag hose, this can be an excellent fertilizer for a forage.

A final cautionary note regarding manure application to forage fields: If manure is coming from a herd with animals infected by Johne's disease, that disease can be transmitted by manure to healthy cattle. According to a publication from the US Dairy Forage Research Center at Madison Wisconsin and authored by Michael Russelle and Bill Jokela, the Johne's bacterium can survive on hay. Therefore, those authors' recommendation is that in herds with Johne's, manure should not be applied as a topdressing on fields that will be harvested as dry hay.
Published in Other
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