July - August 2015 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

Animal Manure Management August 14, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

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Webcast Series

electron microscopy scan of biocharLooking Ahead to August: Biochar

This second in a two-part series will cover how biochar can improve soils, 'designer biochar' and also highlight examples of agronomic and environmental uses of this material. More...  August 21 at 1:30 p.m. (central); 2:30 (eastern); 12:30 (mountain);11:30 am (pacific). Review part 1 at: Agronomic & Environmental Uses of Biochar

Add to Calendar: iCal (Outlook) | Google calendar

Featured Videos:
A virtual tour of a slatted floor beef barn

More on Webcasts...

  • Upcoming webcasts: thermal manure treatment technology, pathways for implementing nutrient management, communicating controversy
  • Have an idea? Fill out the webcast suggestion form
  • All webcasts are recorded and at our archive. Recent additions include

What's Going On In the LPELC?

Waste to Worth: Spreading science and solutions logoWaste to Worth RFP.  The request for proposals to host the third Waste to Worth is out. Do not miss the opportunity to bring this excellent event to your region. Proposals are due September 11, 2015. More...

Climate Resources.  The climate section of the LPELC website has been updated and includes materials for educators to use in their classrooms or extension programming. If you are wondering about sources of greenhouse gases from animal ag, impacts, or how to talk about climate, you should really take a look! More...

Around the "Horns"

Avian Influenza. USDA has released an updated surveillance plan for avian influenza in wild migratory birds. Improved monitoring should provide an 'early warning' system for poultry farmers and identify potential hot spots for potential reemergence of the disease this fall. More...

Climate. California is funding five dairy digester projects More... (Jill's note: This is notable because the state has been very reluctant to approve digesters in the past due to air emissions from the generator set.) | Related: Introduction to anaerobic digestion

tile drainageRegulations & Court Cases.

  • The National Ag Law Center has created a reading room on the Clean Air Act and agriculture. More... | Related: Air Quality in Animal Agriculture
  • The Des Moines water quality lawsuit (the city is suing counties up river for failing to control agricultural runoff) will be heard in August, 2016. It will be a bench trial in Sioux City. More...
  • A Congressional Representative from Washington proposed an amendment (subsequently approved by the House) that would prohibit EPA from targeting farms in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA; the focus of a recent court ruling against dairies in Washington). More... | Related: See the embedded video at manure regulations for an archived webinar on RCRA.

Animal Welfare

  • A federal judge has struck down a Idaho's "ag-gag" law. The law was aimed at preventing activist groups from secretly filming instances of animal abuse or other negative activities at a farm. More... Jill's note: Farmers had concerns that these "undercover" workers were actually staging, inciting, or otherwise encouraging abusive activity in order to have material for these videos (hence the reason the law was passed in the first place). The judge sided with the activist organizations under free speech protections and invalidated the Idaho law. It is expected the other similar state laws are going to be challenged.
  • Food & Water Watch released a report "Factory Farm Nation: 2015" and created a map of large farms using USDA's Census of Agriculture Data. In an analysis that should surprise no one, they concluded that farms continue to get larger and there are more large farms than ever. More... | Go to map

Nutrient Management

  • Three of eight years are complete in a Idaho manure trial and researchers are already seeing a few surprises. The first is related to the increase in organic matter - beyond what was expected in that climate. The second is in the movement of phosphorus downward into the second foot of soil in the profile. More...
  • The Journal of Extension recently published a survey of Vermont farmers on the effectiveness of nutrient management plans (NMPs). They found that 46% had NMPs and the majority followed the plans most of the time. More...
  • Extension specialists from several states talk about the fact that farmers are gaining a new appreciation for manure as a crop fertilizer. More... | Related: Manure nutrient management
  • A measurement of the 2015 hypoxic (dead) zone in the Gulf of Mexico shows it is 28% larger than the 2014 zone but only the 11th largest one since 1985. More... A little further east, US Geological Survey scientists are expecting the Chesapeake Bay 'dead zone' to be slightly below the long-term average More... | Related: archived webinar "Chesapeake Bay 2012 - Implications of the TMDL"
  • small monoslope barn housing dairy calvesIowa State extension specialist, Dan Anderson reminds us that summer is a good time to inspect manure storage. More...
  • USDA highlighted a case study of an Iowa dairy farmer that has implemented a number of conservation practices to prevent nutrient runoff from his farm. More... | A South Dakota beef operation recently switched to mono-slope barns to protect water quality. More... | Related: Mono-slope beef barns
  • Vermont Public Radio reports on the use of tow lines and injection for manure application and the benefits (reduced soil compaction and  road traffic, increased transport speed) compared to trucks or broadcast application. More...

Manure Storage Safety

  • Manure pumping and application season is coming soon and while items like PEDv and avian influenza have made biosecurity a hot topic in manure handling - safety should be everyone's primary concern. This Iowa Farmer Today article has some good safety tips. | Related: Manure Storage Safety 
  • In New York, first responders got hands-on demonstrations of the equipment and procedures for conducting manure pit and other confined space rescues. More...
  • Michigan State Extension produced a two-part series on whether hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitors belong on farms. Part 1 covers the potential harm to humans resulting from H2S exposure. Part 2 discusses what to do if someone is overcome by H2S.

Waste to Worth. Researchers at ETH Zurich University have created yarn from gelatine processed from slaughterhouse byproducts. The lustrous appearance and insulation value compare very favorably to current alternates. Water solubility has been the major area of improvement. More...

Oil/Fuel Storage.The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is hosting a webinar on the new conservation practice standard for on-farm secondary containment. The webinar is August 25 at 2 pm (eastern). More...

International View.

  • Take a look at an Argentine feedlot that does a daily scrape of their feedlots to compost the manure for Buenos Aires markets. Also see a Thai farmer raising chickens over ponds with farmed fish. As the chicken manure falls into the pond, it is fed to the fish. More...
  • The Irish Food & Agriculture Development Authority (Teagasc) is setting up an online 'match' service to help pig farmers and crop farmers connect and facilitate manure transfer. More...

Anaerobic Digestion The EPA Ag STAR program recently highlighted two case studies of anaerobic digesters using manure as one of the feedstocks. Holsum Dairy (Wisconsin) | Michigan State University.

Manure Expo. The annual North American Manure Expo was held in Chambersburg, PA and produced some great information and education. Check out their website for a drone-eye view of the event. More....

Manure tweet of the week:

Events & Announcements

Nutrient Management Day. North Dakota State University is hosting a field day on nutrient management August 18, 2015 in Carrington, ND. More...

Farm Tours. Michigan State University and Clinton County Conservation District are hosting a tour of farms showcasing innovative manure handling. August 18, 2015 Carson City. More...

NRCS Practice Standards. USDA NRCS is hosting a webinar on the "Use of NRCS Conservation Practice Standards and Specifications". September 9, 2015. More...

Water Quality Markets. A joint USDA/EPA National Workshop on Water Quality Markets will be held September 15-17, 2015 in Lincoln NE. More...

Mortality Symposium. The 5th International Symposium on Animal Mortality Management will be held September 28-October 1, 2015 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Poster abstracts are still being accepted. More...

Grazing Lands. The 6th National Conference on Grazing Lands will be held December 13-16 in Grapevine, Texas. The call for papers is currently open. More...

Manure In the News

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

Not exactly manure, but ballet. On a farm. "Vermont’s Farm to Ballet Project Shines the Spotlight on Conservation"

Opinion: "Why farmers should care about climate change"

Not only can you create renewable energy, but one startup says you can make plastic from methane.

Opinion: Is farming a public service? (Maybe, says the author)


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.