Protection
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 20, 2017, Ithaca, NY – For many parts of New York State, not for the first time, March 2017 provided both deep snow and saturated wet conditions that presented significant manure related challenges, especially to daily spread and short term storage operations. The state's Department of Environmental Conservation recently issued a warning about risky manure spreading.

While the conditions are still fresh, every operation should take stock of manure storage options and look for ways to avoid application in these situations. Over the last few weeks, I have heard more comments than usual from farm and non-farm folks alike about seeing neighbors spreading manure on barely trafficable fields or even from the edge of the road.

If you find your operation in this situation, or if you strained to find fields that can hold up the tractor and spreader without getting stuck, runoff risk is likely to be high and application should be avoided whether you are a regulated farm or not. Spreading just before rain or snowmelt can be just as risky, even if a field can be driven on without getting stuck.

For stackable manure in the short term, temporary pile locations can be identified with the help of SWCD, NRCS, or private sector planners until better storage options can be installed.

New York State and federal cost share options are available annually; meet with your local SWCD and/or NRCS staff to start the process. The Dairy Acceleration Program can help with cost of engineering on farms under 700 cows.

Position your operation for the future: evaluate manure storage needs and implement solutions.
Published in Manure Application

April 13, 2017, Yakima, WA – A Lower Valley dairy is being sued over claims that it has violated the federal Clean Water Act for years, including contributing to the impact of a manure-related flood in the Outlook area earlier this year.

Published in Dairy

April 13, 2017, Emerald, WI – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is investigating a large manure spill from a dairy in St. Croix County.

Published in State

April 11, 2017, Charles City, IA — A revised resolution aimed at protecting the health of workers at large animal confinement operations was discussed by the Floyd County Board of Supervisors recently, and its sponsor hopes changes will result in more support this time.

Supervisor Mark Kuhn introduced a resolution at the board meeting the end of February to set worker health safety requirements for applicants seeking to get a state construction permit for a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO). READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 11, 2017, Raleigh, NC – North Carolina lawmakers are taking steps to protect the world's largest pork producer from lawsuits accusing its subsidiaries of creating unbearable animal waste odor.

The 2014 lawsuits by about 500 rural neighbors of massive hog farms allege that clouds of flies and intense smells remain a problem nearly a quarter-century since industrial-scale hog farming took off. READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 10, 2017, Windsor Heights, IA – Plans to enable farmers and consultants to submit manure management plan updates electronically will lead off the April 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at DNR’s Air Quality Bureau, 7900 Hickman Road in Windsor Heights, IA. READ MORE

Published in Swine

April 10, 2017, Owatonna, MN – Public perception can dictate and lead to public policy. It is important for agriculture professionals to step out of their own boots and look at how they do business from the perspective of the general public. Is it a positive image? If not, the public may seek regulations to change it.

Rick Martens, the executive director of the Minnesota Custom Applicators Association, spoke to a group of manure applicators that were continuing their Commercial Ag Waste Technician training. READ MORE

Published in State

April 4, 2017, Kewaunee County, WI – A scientist who's looked into widespread well contamination in Kewaunee County says he's now urging owners of tainted wells to find another water source.

U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Mark Borchardt recently published findings that indicate cow manure is the leading cause of groundwater pollution in Kewaunee County. But he found that human waste from sanitary systems is spoiling drinking water there, too. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

April 3, 2017, Chicago, IL — Four new measures proposed in the Illinois legislature would tighten the state’s environmental protections on hog confinements and give local citizens more input in the permitting process as well as standing to challenge the massive facilities in court.

The legislation, announced March 28, was proposed in response to an August investigation by the Chicago Tribune. The bills would represent the first significant reforms to the state’s 1996 Livestock Management Facilities Act, which has been criticized for failing to keep up with the dramatic growth of swine confinements. READ MORE

 

Published in Swine

April 3, 2017, Albany, NY – Cows, whose methane-emitting flatulence has been cited as a culprit in global warming, now are being blamed, along with New York’s State Department of Environmental Conservation, for contaminating the state’s water supply with manure.

Riverkeeper and four other groups, including fly fishers and the Sierra Club, sued the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany County Supreme Court, demanding it strengthen a general water permit for large farm operations to bring it into compliance with the Clean Water Act. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

March 31, 2017, Roanoke, VA – State environmental regulators have cited a dairy farming operation in Franklin County for a manure spill into a creek that feeds into the Roanoke River basin.

The dairy operation agreed to pay a $3,250 fine in response to violations of the State Water Control Law at the farm.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality responded in September 2015 to a report of a manure spill in Maggodee Creek. The spill was traced back to the operation, where a concrete manure impoundment had a crack in it. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

March 31, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The Manitoba government is proposing changes to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation to reduce redundancy, add clarity and eliminate ineffective regulations.

The Manitoba government has launched a 45-day public consultation on proposed amendments to the Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation. The proposed amendments to the regulation are intended to align with recent changes to the Environment Act under the province’s red tape reduction initiative. Sustainable Development Minister Cathy Cox says these changes will further reduce redundant or duplicated language, improve the clarity of processes and remove ineffective regulations.

“Just to be clear, we have maintained all of our environmental restrictions on manure management, including a ban on winter spreading that will remain, requiring manure management plans will remain, soil testing and a requirement for construction permits,” said Cox. “We have removed the requirement of an ineffective manure management treatment process based on scientific recommendations and practicability. The changes we are proposing, both in the act and in the regulation, are about maintaining our environmental standards while eliminating unnecessary or redundant stipulations. Having the environmental rules in regulation as opposed to legislation allows us to keep up with innovation more flexibly. It is bad policy to have technological prescriptions in legislation.

“We have held technical briefings for industry stakeholders and NGOs in the past few weeks and are now opening it up to public consultation, which we are actually enhancing from 30 to 45 days.”

Public comments are being accepted until May 12 and can be mailed to the Environmental Approvals Branch of Manitoba Sustainable Development or emailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Published in Swine

March 28, 2017, Madison, WI – Dairy and livestock producers in Wisconsin who spread manure on their own land will need to be aware of some new changes taking effect next year.

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

March 20, 2017, Calgary, Alta – Livestock Water Recycling, in partnership with the Birss Research Group from the University of Calgary, has been named to a short list of finalists to win Stage One of the George Barley Water Prize.

LWR’s innovation team’s submission included the Waterway Nanoshield solution that combines the water recycling ability of the LWR system with a patented technology developed at the University of Calgary.

The George Barley Water Prize is a competition that will advance viable technologies through stages over the course of four years, awarding cash prizes along the way, and ultimately crowning one phosphorus removal solution with a $10 million grand prize in 2020.

Florida dairy farmers have a vested interest in protecting wetlands, eco-diversity and other natural resources. For centuries, they have used traditional methods of manure management, and today, they are excited about evolving technology that will help them continue to reduce their environmental footprint.

The competition brings a variety of phosphorus solutions to Florida where they are facing a major a water crisis. In recent years, algae blooms have become commonplace in Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in the state and the heart of the Central Everglades. One out of every three Floridians, an estimated 8 million people, relies on the Everglades for their water supply.

According to NASA, the algae bloom that grew last spring covered roughly 33 square miles of the lake, and was blamed for affecting water quality downstream all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

With more than 25 years experience protecting fresh bodies of water around the world, the Innovation Team at LWR is excited to be a part of finding a solution for Florida.

“Bringing our technology to the Everglades is very important to us.” says Charles Zhang, team lead on the project. “Florida is home to more than 130 dairy farms that are primarily owned and operated by second and third-generation farmers. We want to offer them a solution that will keep Florida dairy farmers farming sustainably for generations to come.”

LWR’s Waterway Nanoshield solution was among 77 global solutions that entered Stage One of the competition.

The Everglades Foundation will host LWR, along with the other top 15 competitors on World Water Day, March 22, in West Palm Beach, Florida, for the awarding of the $25,000 winner of Stage One.

Published in Dairy

March 20, 2017, Winnipeg, Man – The Manitoba government is introducing proposed legislation that would reduce outdated, contradictory, complicated or ineffective regulatory requirements imposed on businesses, industry and local governments, Finance Minister Cameron Friesen said recently.

Among the regulatory changes being considered is removal of general prohibitions from the province’s Environment Act for the expansion of hog barns and manure storage facilities.

“Our government recognizes the status quo has created unnecessary challenges for both industry and government,” said Friesen. “The proposed changes were identified as priority actions by both industry leaders and the civil service. Once implemented, these changes would improve efficiency and effectiveness, making it easier for all Manitobans to prosper and focus on their priorities.”

The Manitoba government introduced the freeze on new hog barn construction and expansions near Lake Winnipeg starting in 2006, expanding it province-wide in 2011. The province’s ban on winter manure spreading was imposed in 2013. Both pieces of legislation were aimed at reducing phosphorus runoff into waterways.

Published in Swine

March 17, 2017, Sioux Falls, SD – It’s generally not recommended to spread manure on frozen, snow-covered fields, but there are certain guidelines producers should follow when storage pits are reaching capacity and applying manure in the winter is necessary.

A recent study by a South Dakota State University graduate student looked at different methods of applying solid manure in winter months and their effects on water quality. READ MORE

Published in Dairy

 

A mobile system for removing phosphorus from cow manure may offer dairy farmers greater flexibility in where, when, and how they use the nutrient to fertilize crops.

The idea behind the Manure Phosphorus Extraction System (MAPHEX) is to remove phosphorus and concentrate it in a form easier to manage, says Clinton Church, an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) environmental chemist.

“Some farmers with plenty of land may need to drive 20 miles or more to reach some fields,” says Church. “That makes transporting large volumes of manure uneconomical (or impractical), even if the crops there need phosphorus.”

Working with Pennsylvania State University collaborators, Church and his colleagues developed and tested MAPHEX as a way farmers could “mine” phosphorus from their manure and market it as a value-added product.

To do this, the team mounted an auger press, centrifuge, vacuum-filter unit, and other components atop two trailer beds so the entire system could be driven to a farm and operated onsite on a daily or rotational basis.

MAPHEX works in three stages, each removing progressively smaller fiber particles and other phosphorus-containing matter from the manure. In addition, there is a chemical treatment step between the last two stages to convert dissolved phosphorus into a filterable particle. Water extracted from the manure is retained on the farm; it contains most of the manure’s nitrogen.

MAPHEX works quickly. In about 10 minutes, it can extract 99 percent of the phosphorus from 250 gallons of manure. Additionally, it removes odor from the manure.

The fiber and other phosphorus-containing particles exit the system as concentrated solids, which can be transported for use off-farm or sold to nurseries. Solids from MAPHEX’s first treatment stage could also be sold as cow bedding.

The MAPHEX team will begin demonstrating a full-scale version of its system on a working dairy farm this spring.

Jan Suszkiw is with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service office.

 

 

Published in Dairy

March 16, 2017, Green Bay, WI – Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources recently responded to a manure spill, estimated at 100,000 gallons, in southeast Brown County.

The manure release occurred sometime March 13 when a valve was left open by a farm employee. It was reported by the farm late that night as a spill of about 1,000 gallons. Cleanup began early March 14. DNR and county staff arriving at the scene determined it was a larger, expanding spill and directed a more aggressive cleanup with more berms, sumps and pumping.

Responders determined that manure flowed for approximately 3.5 miles, reaching the Luxemburg Road crossing, where the stream is identified as School Creek. School Creek is a tributary of the Kewaunee River. DNR specialists are assessing the extent of water quality impacts.

At this time, the source area where manure flowed out from above ground storage is contained. Cleanup activities are ongoing. DNR is working with Brown County Land & Water Conservation staff and the farm owner. The farm, located in the Town of Humboldt, is not a concentrated animal feeding operation, and does not operate under a DNR permit.

The DNR and county health department advise the public that the water in the stream might not be safe for people or pets. Surface water samples are being taken to monitor water quality impacts.

DNR has determined there is some risk of groundwater impact due to the dominant geology in area being shallow bedrock and advises private well owners to closely monitor water quality. Any changes in water color or odor should be immediately reported to the DNR and the county health department.

Published in Dairy
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