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August 10, 2009
A Penton Media, Inc Publication


  • Share Biosecurity Plans with Manure Applicators
  • Dairy Installs Nutrient and Sand Recycling System
  • Seeking Control While Composting
  • Research Aids Fertilizer Application
  • Learn About Copper Sulfate in Dairy Manure
  • Sign Up for Conservation Stewardship Program
  • Assessing Nutrient Concentration and Loads in Streams
  • Manure Seminar Aug. 12 at New York Event
  • Online Seminar Discusses Manure Pilot Projects
  • Texas Manure Management Conference
  • Training Covers Manure-Based Energy Production




      Share Biosecurity Plans with Manure Applicators
    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 quickly.”

    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 relationships.

    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 disease:
    • 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 safest.
    • 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 from experts.
    • Implement biosecurity training for employees.
    “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 last.”

    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 and Canada.

    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

    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.

      Dairy Installs Nutrient and Sand Recycling System
    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 lagoon.

    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 storage.

    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 rains.

    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,, or email Genex Farm Systems at

      Seeking Control While Composting
    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 acres.

    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

    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.

      Research Aids Fertilizer Application
    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 the field.

    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 tell us."

    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.

      Learn About Copper Sulfate in Dairy Manure
    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 at

      Sign Up for Conservation Stewardship Program
    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 others.

    For more information contact your local USDA office or visit

    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.

      Assessing Nutrient Concentration and Loads in Streams
    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

      Manure Seminar Aug. 12 at New York Event
    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

    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.

      Online Seminar Discusses Manure Pilot Projects
    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 On the day of the webcast, go to to download the speaker’s Power Point presentations and connect to the virtual meeting room. First time viewers should also follow the steps at:

      Texas Manure Management Conference
    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

      Training Covers Manure-Based Energy Production
    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:

    Send Comments & Questions To
    Dale Miller, Editor, National Hog Farmer

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