December 2013 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

Animal Manure Management December 13, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF

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Webcast Series

Looking Ahead to January

The third in a three-part series of webcasts on nutrient recovery from manure treatment systems will examine topics related to swine systems, co-digestion, scale and efficiency. It will feature Curt Gooch, Cornell University; Brian Paulsen, Murphy Brown; Dana Kirk, Michigan State University, and Sasha Rollings-Scattergood; Anaergia, Inc. The webcast is January 17, 2014 starting at 2:30 (eastern). The flyer will be uploaded to our upcoming webcast calendar when available.

Future Topics

February - Gasification technology for manure and algae biomass
March 7 - Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff (rescheduled due to government shutdown)
March 21 - On-Farm Manure Research Results (applying manure to standing crops)
April - climate change topic TBA
As always, you can check out the recordings of past webcast at our webcast archive and view the schedule at upcoming webcasts.

Featured Video:

Economics of animal mortality composting
(John Deering, Colorado State)

What's Going On In the LPELC?

Waste to Worth II. We are excited to announce that the 2015 installment of "Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions" will be held March 30-April 3, 2015 at the Westin hotel in Seattle, WA. Committee work will begin in earnest in January, 2014. If you are interested in volunteering to be on a committee you can visit our W2W volunteer form.

Climate Course. This self-paced course is specifically designed for Extension educators and technical service providers across the nation who serve livestock and poultry producers. Topics include recent weather trends, climate impacts, adaptation and risk management, basic climate science, greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation practices, the basics of carbon markets, and communication strategies for dealing with this contentious issue. Signups are available at the start of each month for this comprehensive course. More... | Brochure

National Resources

GHG Mitigation, Conservation Works, Feed Phosphorus, Public Events & Health, Manure Textbook, Growth-promotants

GHG Mitigation. Several recent Journal of Animal Science articles looked at production practices that reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions from enteric fermentation, manure management, and animal production. The authors reviewed over 900 publications and a wide variety of management techniques. They concluded that there are many effective options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that combinations of practices/technologies should be explored. Being aware of possible "trade-offs" (reducing one gas while increasing another) is a consideration that must also be part of management decisions. More...

Conservation Works. A new report by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service highlights successes of voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs in protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed. More...

Feed Phosphorus. Penn State researchers worked with 51 dairy farms and trained consultants on precision phosphorus feeding and writing feed management plans. The data they gathered and observations are the focus of a new fact sheet. More...

Public Events & Health. Everyone in animal agriculture knows the importance of public events like petting zoos and livestock shows as ways to expose a non-rural public to animals and food production. How do event organizers reduce the potential for human disease outbreaks? The National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians recently released a guide on minimizing health risks of contact with animals in public settings. More...

Manure Textbook. The University of Copenhagen published a new textbook "Animal Manure Recycling: Treatment and Management". It covers topics from regulations, components of manure, bio-energy, innovative technology, and life cycle analysis of systems. More...

Growth-promotants. Research published by the University of California-Davis examined growth-promotants effects on ammonia, greenhouse gases, and volatile organic compound emissions from feedlot cattle production. The technologies studies all were effective as mitigation strategies. More...

State Program Highlights

  • Iowa: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach hosted a tour of several small and medium sized dairy and beef farms showcasing their efforts to protect water quality. More...
  • North Dakota: The North Dakota State Livestock Environmental Management team produced a presentation on "Compost Benefits to Soils". More...
  • Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms program offers advice for early winter manure application. More...

Have a state project or program you would like to see in this section? Email the details to

Hot Topics

Manure Restrictions, Manure Rulings, Water & Nitrogen, Tracking Contaminants, Nutrient Calculator, Superbowl Commercial, Methane Emissions 

Manure Restrictions. The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed new rules regarding application of raw manure to food crops that has organic farmers concerned. The ability of some pathogens, like Salmonella, to survive in soil for extended periods of time have raised concerns and prompted this change. The change would increase the amount of time between raw manure application and harvest of some crops (those  to nine months. This length of time would disrupt crop rotations much more than the current practice of allowing a four-month window. Organic farmers have especially protested this new rule. More...

Manure Rulings. An Illinois appeals court rules that an insurer could not deny defense to a farmer that was sued by neighbors over odors. The insurer originally rejected the farmer's claim saying that the odors fell under a pollution exclusion in the umbrella policy. The court found that odor did not constitute "traditional environmental pollution". More... | Read the court opinion. In a similar case in Wisconsin, a farmer was sued by neighbors for manure contamination of wells. The farmer wanted to use his pollution insurance coverage to pay the damages. The circuit judge agreed, but an appellate court said that manure used as fertilizer does not constitute a pollutant and the farmer's pollution coverage did not apply. He, presumably, will be required to find another source of funds to pay the damages. More...

Groundwater & Nitrogen. We all know that when a conservation practice is implemented, there is a period of time before the results can be measured or observed. This lag time was the focus of US Geological Survey study that examined the interaction between nitrates in ground and surface water. The study found that some areas had groundwater discharging to streams that contained nitrates from fertilizer use in the 1970's-1990's. On a positive note, they also confirmed that nutrient management practices of the past few years are beginning to work and can be expected to yield water quality results if continued. More... On a similar note, an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences "Long-term fate of nitrate fertilizer in agricultural soils" supports the assertion that nitrate can linger and impact water quality over a period of decades.

Tracking Contaminants. How and where do contaminants like nutrients, pathogens, and pharmaceutical residues move around and from feedlot sites? USDA Agricultural Research Service researchers used spatial mapping technologies to follow these contaminants as they move on and off-site. More...

Nutrient Calculator. The International Plant Nutrition Institute has released a web-based crop nutrient removal calculator that is accessible in six different languages. More...

Superbowl Commercial. Two different businesses representing animal agriculture are finalists to receive a free Superbowl commercial, thanks to Intuit. A dairy compost business, appropriately named "Poop", and a pastured poultry operation, "Locally Laid", both developed humorous videos to showcase their products. See these and the other finalists at the Small Business Big Game site....

Methane Emissions. A study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Science (Abstract) asserts that the U.S. may be producing as much as 50% more methane than estimated by the EPA Greenhouse Gas Inventory. They believe that enteric fermentation and fossil fuel extraction may be much larger than estimated. Popular press article...

Manure tweet of the week:

photo of manure compost moved by volunteers at community garden

Events & Announcements

Blue Ribbon Award. The deadline for applying for an ASABE Blue Ribbon award is January 22. The program recognizes outstanding educational materials developed by members.  More...

Manure Expo. The 2014 Manure Expo will be held July 8 and 9 near Springfield, MO. More details and information will be released as they are finalized. Past Manure Expo information can be found at

Have your state/regional/national event added to this section of our newsletter. Send them to Jill at

Manure In the News

A look at animal agriculture and manure in the news, serious, funny or controversial. Inclusion here does not constitute LPELC endorsement. In other words, we don't create this stuff, we just link to it.

Why Slather This Spinach Field In Poop? For Science! - National Public Radio More...


If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact Jill Heemstra

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