July/August 2017 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

Animal Manure Management August 22, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF

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Webcast Series

Looking Ahead to September: Manure Safety

The September webinar is about a very timely topic - Manure Safety. As fall application starts to ramp up, it is important to remember how to keep yourself, those working with you, and animals safe. A flyer will be posted at "Upcoming Webcasts" as soon as it is available.

More on Webcasts...

The basics of manure nutrient management

What's Going On In the LPELC?

Water Quality Module. In cooperation with US EPA and all the major animal ag organizations, a new module on animal agriculture and water quality has been published. This six-part module includes virtual tours of different types of animal ag farms, looks at trends in manure management, water quality, stewardship efforts, the Clean Water Act and more. Links to a wide array of resources that go further in-depth on individual topics have been carefully curated throughout the module. Visit the module...

Around the Horns

Water Quality.

  • Measurements of the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico indicate 2017 is the largest ever measured at 8,776 square miles. High discharge rates from the Mississippi River were earlier predicted to result in a large hypoxic zone. The average size over the past five years has been just over 5,800 square miles. The target size is 1,900 square miles. Read more...
  • To help track the science related to agricultural operations and Great Lakes harmful algal blooms and hypoxia, the National Agricultural Library has created an online, automatically updated bibliography on the topic. "Great Lakes Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) and Hypoxia: Agricultural Aspects" is not a complete listing of all literature and does include some citations that may not have a strict agriculture focus.  The bibliography's value is in providing a look at current research findings that strengthen the science base needed for effective agricultural policy and management actions to address HABs and hypoxia.

  • University of Illinois researcher, Laura Christianson, is studying woodchip bioreactors, not only for their ability to remove nitrogen from runoff, but also phosphorus. How? She and a research team looked at the addition of a "P filter" either before or after the bioreactor. Neither placement affected the ability of the bioreactor to remove nitrogen. The amount of P removed varied depending on the material used in the filter. News release... | Journal article...

  • EPA, along with several partners, has announced a "Nutrient Sensor Action Challenge" with the goal of accelerating the development of affordable continuous sensors. The first stage of submissions closes September 20, 2017. Learn more or view the archived informational webinar...

Soil Health.

Policy and Regulation.

  • EPA has proposed to rescind the controversial "Waters of the U.S." rule which sought to extend federal oversight to water bodies that were adjacent to those already under Clean Water Act jurisdiction. Read more...
  • An article in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation by Dave Aiken at the University of Nebraska discusses the Chesapeake TMDL and court cases challenging it. It is also is a nice primer on the Clean Water Act and how it applies to agriculture and animal agriculture. Read the article...

Settling Basins. Dry weather is a good time to clean out and inspect feedlot settling basins. Shawn Shouse of Iowa State provides some tips for this activity in Manure Manager magazine. More...

Manure Safety. The family of a young farmer who died due to manure gases in Wisconsin last year has created a fund to help others avoid the same fate. The family raised and donated $40,000 that will be used to provide rebates to farmers who purchase portable gas meters. Read more...

Nutrient Management

  • Is more nitrogen lost from application of raw manure or from digested manure? A Canadian study tackled that question and found the amount of N lost from each was similar, but that the losses occurred in different ways. Soil type and timing of application are also discussed in the story. Read more...

Animal Welfare. Perdue Farms is looking into different ways to raise broilers. The new houses include natural light and encourage birds to move around, which has been found to increase the quality of meat. They are also looking at slower-growing breeds of chickens to avoid some of the health problems associated with fast-growing breeds. The new system will be less efficient, but is in response to growing consumer demand for humanely-raised birds. Read more... (Jill's note: The article doesn't have information on differences in manure production, if any, but I would be curious to know more if anyone has information).

Air Quality

  • We usually discuss biochar (which can be made from manure and other biomass) for its potential to improve soil health and sequester carbon. New research from Rice University is exploring biochar for its ability to improve air quality, especially in reducing nitric oxide (a precursor to smog) emissions from soils. The authors calculated significant savings in health care costs if this were done widely. News Release... | Journal Article...
  • NRCS is hosting a webinar on their resources and opportunities for addressing air quality concerns. August 23, 2017 at 2 pm EDT. More...
  • Oregon State University research explored the use of biochar as manure lagoon cover, especially for its potential to reduce gas emissions and capture nutrients. News release... | Journal abstract...

Mortality Compost. The state of Maryland is composting road-killed deer and using the compost to amend soils roadside or other plantings. Read more...

Farmer Stewardship.

  • A California dairy farmer has developed an electric feed truck powered by cow manure. It took eight years of engineering and is part of his farm's goal to sequester 2,000 metric tons of carbon annually. Read more...
  • USDA NRCS highlighted three demonstration farms that apply conservation practices to protect water quality near Lake Erie. The practices mentioned include cover crops, animal mortality composting, phosphorus removal beds, manure injection, among others. Read more...

Economics.

  • USDA NRCS is hosting a webinar on USDA Economic Research Service findings on the relative costs vs benefits of different conservation practices. They will also discuss factors that affect the cost and performance of conservation. August 22, 2017 at 2 pm EDT. More...
  • Intensive grazing is seen as a way to improve vegetation and soil health by moving cattle frequently. What is the cost of moving cattle frequently compared to the benefits? An article from a University of Kentucky economist runs the numbers. Read more...
Manure Tweet of the Week

Events & Announcements

Manure Expo. The Manure Expo will be held in Arlington, WI on August 22-23, 2017. More...

Water Conference. The Eastern South Dakota Water Conference invites regional presentations for this year's conference to be held in Brookings, SD on November 8, 2017. Submit your 300 word poster abstracts (including those for the student poster competition) by August 31, 2017. More...

SARE Conference. The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program is hosting a once-every-decade conference "Our Farms Our Future: The Next 30 Years of Sustainable Agriculture". April 3-5, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. More...

News Droppings

A look at animal agriculture, stewardship, and manure in the news: serious, funny or controversial. We don't endorse this stuff, we just think you should know about it.

"US energy secretary Rick Perry duped by Russian pranksters to talk about pig manure". Read more...

If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact Jill Heemstra jheemstra@unl.edu

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.