| August 10, 2009
A Penton Media, Inc Publication
A little communication can go a long way when it comes to preventing
the introduction of diseases when transporting manure from hog farms, an
expert on biosecurity issues says.
Commercial manure applicators need to know what’s expected of them
before and after they arrive on the farm, says Rodney B. Baker, DVM,
senior clinician in Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
at Iowa State University. “Everyone has become more concerned because
of the costs of a new disease, especially in a pig operation where you
have a lot of animals moving through the system,” says Baker. “Some
of the diseases we face today can take out 25% of your cash flow very
Studies have shown commercial farms can lose about $6/pig to diseases
such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). Large
producers, and especially integrated systems, can suffer the greatest
loss, which often approaches $20/pig/year. Baker offered basic ideas
about how commercial applicators can protect their customers and
themselves, urging applicators to “protect yourselves from a liability
standpoint as well as your reputation.”
Baker notes it can be difficult to determine the cause of disease
outbreaks such as PRRS. Current estimates are that waste management
removal may be responsible for only 2% of the introductions. But even
those rare occurrences can cause serious losses and damaged
Hog manure contains lots of gut bacteria, many of which are pathogens.
Other substances include viruses, leptospirosis, parasite eggs, toxins
and antibiotics. “Manure can contain 10 billion bacteria per gram or
about 50 billion bacteria in a teaspoon of the material,” he says.
“Roughly 50 million tons of manure or about 12.1 billion gallons are
produced annually in Iowa.”
Among the steps operators can take to prevent the introduction of
“Communicate with your clients,” says Baker. “Demonstrate concern
and let them know you want to work within their rules. They should let
you know about any changes in the health status of their farms. You may
need to change your workflow so that you handle the ‘hot’ areas
- Operators should not enter a farm building without
contacting the producer first.
- Wash and disinfect equipment between locations – all equipment,
all of the time.
- Avoid wind drift when applying nutrients – soil incorporation is
- Vehicles used to haul waste management equipment should be kept
clean inside and out.
- Always observe the farm’s biosecurity rules.
- In situations where biosecurity risk is uncertain, obtain advice
- Implement biosecurity training for employees.
Pork producers should advise commercial applicators of their biosecurity
protocols. “You should also have your own protocols to present to
customers,” he says. “These should be established before pumping
season.” Suggested protocols should include building entry rules and
emergency contact information for those involved with the farm
operation, for example.
Between pumping operations, operators should clean the outside of their
equipment – tractors, wagons and other vehicles – and anything, such
as hoses, that will enter a building. Personnel should have clean
coveralls and boots that can be cleaned between stops. Either of those
items can be disposable.
“Biosecurity is extremely important in modern pig farms,” says
Baker. Effective waste management biosecurity strategies, such as simple
cleaning and disinfection, along with attention to basic rules can
generally prove effective for waste management. Heat treatment and
drying can also serve as an effective deterrent. “PRRS prevention is
the biosecurity ‘gold standard,’” he states. “Recognize and
prioritize risks and manage the controllable risks.”
Baker spoke at the Upper Midwest Manure Handling Expo, July 22, in
Boone, IA. The event, which was making its first appearance in Iowa,
attracted more than 1,000 visitors, including individuals from 14 states
This year’s Expo was co-hosted by Iowa State University Extension and
the Iowa Commercial Nutrient Applicators Association. To view more
information on this and other events offered through the Agriculture
Waste Management Laboratory at Iowa State University, go to www.abe.iastate.edu/wastemgmt.
Now’s the Time to incorporate a Slurrystore System into your nutrient
management program. Slurrystore is compatible for any system whether
your goal is long term storage, nutrient retention, green containment,
digesters or manure processing. Plus Slurrystore Systems include the
added feature of agitation to help ensure nutrient consistency. Click here or contact your local
Authorized Slurrystore Dealer for more information.
A Minnesota dairy producer has used cutting-edge manure-handling
technology while expanding from 54 cows to 825 (with plans to go to
1,200 cows) on a 30-acre farm site. The farm is surrounded by wetlands,
adding some manure-handling challenges and offering no room for a
Vern Scherping, Little Falls, MN, started looking for a way to clean and
reclaim sand bedding when he made the change from a stanchion set-up to
a freestall system with sand bedding in 2004. Having once pushed manure
down the center lane to a reception pit before hauling manure away three
times per week in the stanchion setup, Scherping needed long-term
storage and a sand recycling solution for the freestall barn.
With the new system, manure moves from the freestall barn to a reception
pit, then onto a Parkson Sand Saver at 52 gal./minute. Fresh and piled
recycled sand is returned to the barn for bedding within hours of
processing. Effluent from the Sand Saver flows to a Parkson Gritmeister
that separates any remaining fine sand from the liquid. The remaining
liquid then flows to a pit and then onto the first of two Slurrystore
structures for decanting.
After the decanted liquid exits the second Slurrystore, it goes to
another pit along with parlor wash water. Nutrients can be pumped from
both Slurrystore structures for field dispersal. The Slurrystores are 90
x 28-ft. and 176 x 28-ft in size. There is room for another 176 x 28-ft.
unit when the Scherpings expand to 1,200 cows. The units provide 10
months of manure storage. The extra unit will give the farm 12 months of
After the Slurrystore structures manure transitions to a Parkson Hycor
Rotostrainer with automatic wedgewire screen to further separate out
solids. Effluent then flows to wash water storage, and eventually back
to the Parkson unit to clean more sand. Solids return to the first pit.
Scherping estimates the Parkson Sand Saver helps reclaim over 90% of the
sand bedding. The farm formerly brought in 12 truckloads of sand weekly,
at $75/load. Following installation of the new system, only four loads
of new sand were needed between January and June.
Recycled water from the Slurrystore decanting system and Parkson
Rotostrainer screen provides all the wash water required for sand
cleaning. No fresh well water is needed to power the contained system.
Recycled water includes water from the parlor and the feedlot when it
The Scherpings use a dragline to inject manure into the soil. Nitrogen
nutrient value delivered to the soil has increased on the owned and
rented 1,400 acres of corn and alfalfa.
At a total cost of $1.5 million, Scherping has calculated the entire
installation will pay for itself within 10 years due to the cost savings
he can now realize.
Scherping invited around 150 dairy producers, extension/ Natural
Resources Conservation Service, nutrient management personnel and
members of the press to come see his new system in action this summer.
Learn more about the equipment online at www.slurrystore.com, www.parkson.com, or email Genex Farm
Systems at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A three-generation Connecticut dairy farm recently found a way to
protect manure compost quality while also keeping the environment safe
by building a fabric structure to protect the composting manure.
Laurelbrook Farm was started by Robert Jacquier in East Canaan, CT, with
15 dairy cows in 1948. Robert’s son, Peter, joined the operation in
the 1960s. Peter’s sons, Bob and Jim, entered the partnership in 1991.
The farm grew to 800 cows and a crop operation consisting of 2,500
The family had been composting a portion of the operation’s manure
outdoors, but rainfall was both jeopardizing the quality of the product
and creating potential environmental problems. To gain more
environmental control over their composting operation, the Jacquiers
decided to look into compost structures. Supported financially and
technically by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection,
the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP) of the Natural Resources Conservation Service,
the family chose four ClearSpan Hercules Truss Arch Buildings.
The Jacquiers’ structures are designed to compost 100 yards/day. There
is enough clearance in the building to operate equipment and maneuver
the manure product. Ridge vents enable air to exit the structures
quickly, plus, controlling moisture is easier, resulting in better
quality compost. Bob notes, "We are able to market our compost as a
drier product. Customers like it because it's better to handle, and it's
lighter, so more volume can be transported per truck without it being
overweight." Their success has helped the Jacquiers develop ideas for
expanding into new markets with their compost sales. "We're currently
selling our compost mainly to homeowners and garden centers. Our future
goals are to do some bagging with compost and potting soil, and to also
target athletic fields and golf courses with our compost as a natural
alternative to chemical fertilizers," Bob Jacquier explains.
Learn more about the compost buildings online at www.enr-corp.com.
Are you getting optimum value from your ag nutrients? Ensure an even
nutrient blend and consistency with every load using a Slurrystore® and
its center agitation system. There’s no better choice for long term
ag nutrient storage. Now’s the Time for Slurrystore. Click here or contact your local
Authorized Slurrystore Dealer for more information.
University of Kentucky (UK) researchers are investigating a new
method for determining nitrogen deficiency based on crop canopy
reflectance. Ole Wendroth, associate professor in the UK Department of
Plant and Soil Sciences, is part of a team of researchers experimenting
with a remote-sensing platform that helps to analyze the visible and
non-visible wavelengths of light reflected off the surface of a plant.
The idea is that producers can use that information to determine the
plant's need for nitrogen.
"The farmer has to make the most efficient use of all the production
capacities that his soil provides," Wendroth said. Optimization of
nitrogen is important for a number of reasons, including environmental
and economic. The high clearance remote-sensing platform passes over the
plants and uses both active and passive optical scanners to read
reflectance off the crop at two different wavelengths. That reflectance
provides a measurement that Wendroth says gives the producer the data he
or she needs to determine the nitrogen need in any particular area of
Typically, fertilizer recommendations are based on nitrogen response
functions. A response function tells users that, with so many pounds of
mineral nitrogen applied to a field in the appropriate time of the year,
they can expect a yield of so many bushels an acre. According to
Wendroth, those estimates assume that the response by the crop to the
applied nitrogen will be uniform over an entire field crop.
The researchers want to keep the calculations flexible by taking into
account the spatial differences in the field using quick measurements --
such as canopy reflectance -- that indicate how well the crop is doing.
"The local soil properties cannot be taken into account because when
it's time to fertilize no one can take multiple soil samples down to a
3-ft. depth with a hand auger or even with a machine auger, homogenize
the samples, bring them to a lab, analyze them quickly and then make a
recommendation. By the time the results come back, the wheat is ready
for harvesting," Wendroth says. "So we need something quicker that tells
the producer if the crop is suffering or whether it has enough nitrogen
and we don't need to apply more. That is what we expect these sensors to
Currently, this type of agricultural technology is still very expensive,
but Wendroth expects to see the prices gradually drop in the future,
allowing more producers to manage their enterprises more efficiently.
An informational paper featured on the eXtension website takes a
look at whether or not copper sulfate can lead to problems when applied
with manure. Copper sulfate is used on dairy farms to control hoof
diseases in cattle. As this compound is washed out of the barn, it
enters the wastewater lagoon and is eventually land applied to nearby
crop fields along with manure. The informational paper, authored by Jim
Ippolito, USDA-ARS and Amber Moore, University of Idaho, appears online
Producers are being encouraged to sign up for the new Conservation
Stewardship Program (CSP), which rewards farmers for practicing good
conservation and protecting natural resources and agricultural land.
"We must move to rewarding farmers not just for what they grow, but for
how they grow it, and CSP does just that," says Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.
"In order to protect the environment and ensure productive farm land for
years to come, CSP provides financial incentives to farmers and ranchers
who maintain and adopt sound conservation practices. I encourage all
producers to consider applying for this program." Harkin is chairman of
the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and
championed the improvements to CSP in the Food, Conservation and Energy
Act of 2008, the farm bill.
The new program makes improvements to the former Conservation Security
Program. A key change – the program will be made available
nationwide, rather than through a watershed rotation. Any producer in
the United States can apply for the program, whether the land is in
crops, pasture, rangeland, forest land, or a combination of those. The
period for Fiscal Year 2009 enrollment begins on Aug. 10, and ends
Sept. 30, 2009. After that, applications will be accepted continuously,
rather than during a set period of time. The program is well suited to
any producer who is participating in good conservation practices and is
committed to doing more.
Applications for CSP are prioritized based on the environmental benefits
provided under a producer's entire operation. The program will reward a
producer's conservation stewardship by evaluating existing activities
and will provide incentives for producers to identify and adopt new
conservation practices. These activities can include increased use of
native grasses, using or improving crop covers, nutrient and manure
management, adopting a resource conserving crop rotation and many
For more information contact your local USDA office or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.
eHay Weekly is a weekly compilation of prices and marketing
information for commercial hay growers. Updates include local market
conditions, state and regional hay association news, hay prices from
around the nation, and links to USDA weekly hay reports. eHay Weekly is
brought to you from the editors of Hay & Forage Grower.
Phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations remained relatively stable in
about half of the streams assessed nationwide from 1993 to 2003,
according to results from recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National
Water-Quality Assessment program research. The USGS conducted national-
and regional-scale trend assessments of nutrient concentrations and
loads in streams. According to the eXtension website, the study also
looked at how these nutrient-concentration trends corresponded to
changes in stream flow and nutrient sources, such as fertilizer
applications, animal manure, population and atmospheric deposition. Full
results can be found at www.water.usgs.gov/nawqa/pubs/nutrient_trends.
A Dairy Profit Seminar is scheduled for Wed., Aug. 12 at Empire Farm
Days on the Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY. “Improving
Manure Moving from Storage to Where It Counts—the Fields,” will be
held at 10:30 a.m. (eastern) during the show. The panel discussion will
feature panelists sharing systems they have developed to efficiently
handle manure from storage to field. Cornell Pro-Dairy Nutrient
Management Specialist Karl Czymmek will serve as the moderator for the
discussion. He says attendees will hear about underground and drag hose
transfer, remote manure storage and remote filling station systems.
Other discussion topics will include cost-cutting methods, dust and
noise reduction, soil compaction, equipment customization, among others.
Learn more about Empire Farm Days online at www.empirefarmdays.com/.
NHF Weekly Preview provides pork
producers in the United States and Canada with weekly analysis of items
that will impact their business. NHF Weekly Preview is brought to
you from the editors of National Hog Farmer.
The Livestock and Poultry Environmental (LPE) Learning Center will
be offering an educational webcast on Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. (eastern)
entitled, “Evaluating Innovative Technologies Through Farm Pilot
Project Coordination.” Farm Pilot Project Coordination (FPPC), Inc.
has amassed practical knowledge on how best to apply new technology in
an agricultural setting. Experience to date has conducted on-farm
research using different waste treatment technologies on swine, poultry
and dairy operations. At its 37 project sites in 18 states, FPPC targets
the capture of 75% of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium nutrients
from the waste stream and converts the waste to a value-added byproduct.
Project goals are aimed at improving nutrient management practices at
the farm level and subsequently aim to affect a technology transfer from
full scale-field demonstrations. During the webcast, three speakers will
provide information about the innovative technologies and some of the
lessons learned through this process.
Learn more about the speakers and webcast specifics online at pubwiki.extension.org/.
On the day of the webcast, go to www.extension.org/pages/Live_Webcast_Information
to download the speaker’s Power Point presentations and connect to the
virtual meeting room. First time viewers should also follow the steps
The early registration deadline is Aug. 20 for the upcoming Texas
Animal Manure Management Issues (TAMMI) Conference to be held Sept.
29-30 at the Austin Marriott North in Round Rock, TX. The TAMMI
Conference will provide education and information about proper animal
manure management for environmental protection. The two-day program
includes keynote speeches on what the animal industry and regulatory
community need in order to ensure a viable animal industry while working
on effective environmental protection.
Learn more about the program online at grovesite.com/page.
The Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at Iowa State
University is coordinating a short course on energy production via
anaerobic digestion of dairy manure during World Dairy Expo. The
training takes place Sept. 28-29. The short course is designed to
provide the latest information and resources that consultants, decision
makers, system reviewers, information providers or producers can use to
understand and address issues related to anaerobic digestion of dairy
manure. It has been designed to walk through dairy manure energy
production from fundamental principles to case histories. The course
instructors have been selected from industry and academia based on their
leadership and success in this area.
Registration and additional information are available on-line at: www.ucs.iastate.edu
Send Comments & Questions To
Dale Miller, Editor,
National Hog Farmer
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