| October 12, 2009
A Penton Media, Inc Publication
Wisconsin agricultural experts are working on an educational blitz
using various media outlets, urging livestock producers to plan ahead to
avoid winter manure application headaches. Reports that financially
stressed farmers may be delaying emptying their storage structures as a
cost-saving measure are stirring concerns of an increased risk of later
manure spills and other problems.
Almost half of Wisconsin’s dairy producers use storage and liquid
manure spreading systems to handle and manage manure. The cost of
agitating, hauling and incorporating manure into farm fields runs from
$100 to $250 per cow per year in the state. Wisconsin farms average 87
cows, meaning the total cost of manure management could run from $8,700
to more than $21,000 per year, according to Kevin Erb, University of
Wisconsin-Extension’s advisor to the state’s applicator’s
Reports from manure haulers, producers themselves, and county
agriculture agents suggest that producers, stressed by low prices,
tightened credit, and fluctuating feed, fertilizer and other costs, may
not be asking their bankers for money to cover the costs of properly
handling and spreading the manure produced on their farms, Erb
“We only have a limited amount of time when we can safely apply
manure—and we can’t control the weather to extend the window. If the
manure storage is not completely emptied in the fall, farmers may face
the difficult choice of letting it overflow in spring or spreading on
fields at one of the highest risk times of the year,” Erb
Pat Leavenworth, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
State Conservationist for Wisconsin, says farmers should take four key
steps in the coming weeks and can tap into state and federal programs to
get help for some of the following steps.
“Producers are struggling as it is. They don’t need the
additional stress, cost and labor that can come from having a manure
spill, an overtopped storage structure or runoff into lakes and
streams,” says Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture,
Trade and Consumer Protection. The state agriculture department is
joining with the Department of Natural Resources, the University of
Wisconsin-Extension Service, the NRCS and the Professional Nutrient
Applicators Association of Wisconsin to reach producers with information
about necessary steps and information about manure management. More
information about the effort and the steps to take can be found online
- Empty manure storage.
Maximize storage capacity for winter by emptying storage facilities and
properly applying manure. Do not spread manure when rain is
- Plant fall cover crops. Reduce nutrient losses from fall
applications by planting a cover crop that can make use of the nitrogen
in manure and reduce erosion.
- Develop a nutrient management plan. Make wise use of nutrients and
reduce risks by tapping into technical help and resources to prepare a
- Develop a winter spreading plan. For farms with limited or no
storage, work with your local conservation staff or professional
agronomist to help identify fields with a lower risk of
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.
It is important to remember, winter manure application is not legal
on frozen or snow-covered ground in some states. Iowa, for example, has
a new law that prohibits surface application of liquid manure from
confinement feeding operations with more than 500 animal units and
totally roofed facilities, on snow-covered ground from Dec. 21 to Apr. 1
and on frozen ground from Feb. 1 to Apr. 1, except in emergency
situations. Iowa State University (ISU) points out that failure to have
adequate storage volume will not warrant emergency application. If
emergency application is required in Iowa, four specific steps must be
ISU reminds producers the
above list is not all-inclusive of proposed rules under development in
the state. Producers should take the time to study proposed rules when
they are put out for public comment.
- Notify the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This
includes the owner’s name, facility name, facility identification,
reason for emergency application, application date, estimated number of
gallons to be applied, and the size and legal description of the
- The manure must be applied on land identified for emergency
application in the current manure management plan. The land must be
identified in the plan prior to application and must also be identified
in the next annual update or revised plan submitted to the DNR and local
Board of Supervisors.
- The liquid manure must be applied on fields with a phosphorus (P)
index of 2 or less.
- Surface water drains (tile inlets) located down gradient of the
application must be temporarily blocked.
Time should also be spent identifying fields that could be used for
emergency application and updating manure management plans to reflect
those available fields. Fall application should be avoided on fields
that may need to be used for emergency application. Producers should
also identify available back-up storage facilities that could be used to
temporarily store manure until land application can be made.
Learn more at the ISU Manure Management website at www.agronext.iastate.edu/.
Iowa State University (ISU) provides an online publication
explaining the steps for effective sampling of swine manure storage
pits. The publication describes how to sample solid, semi-solid, and
liquid manure. ISU experts point out that sampling manure prior to
application will ensure that the analysis is received in time to adjust
application rates based on the nutrient concentration of the manure. For
best results, manure should be sampled at the time of application or as
close as possible to application.
Agitation, mixing and storage of the manure sample affect the accuracy
of the analysis. ISU suggests taking manure samples annually for three
years for new facilities, followed with samples every three to five
years unless animal management practices, feed rations or manure
handling and storage methods change drastically. Producers who apply
manure several times per year should plan to take samples when the bulk
of manure is expected to be applied.
The publication, “How to Sample Manure for Nutrient
Analysis,” can be found at www.extension.iastate.edu/.
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.
Testing manure and calibrating manure spreaders are vital components
of a successful nutrient management plan, according to North Dakota
State University experts. If producers need assistance in calibrating
their manure spreader, a new NDSU Extension Service publication can
help. “Manure Spreader Calibration for Nutrient Management
Planning” (NM-1418) is available at county Extension offices or
online at www.ndsu.edu/.
NDSU also offers manure testing information on the web at www.ag.ndsu.edu/news.
The newly launched Dairy Sustainability website was created to share
best practices and promote environmentally focused initiatives that can
help improve the performance of the world-wide dairy industry. The site
is part of a global dairy industry effort aimed at mitigating greenhouse
The site was launched immediately after seven dairy organizations signed
a Global Dairy Agenda for Action. This industry declaration to reduce
carbon emissions was approved during the World Dairy Summit in Berlin,
Germany. The signing organizations pledged their commitment to
addressing climate change.
The new website hosts information regarding sustainable dairy activity
happening all over the world. One major initiative is the “Green
Paper,” a project to catalog online initiatives that show both
improvements that have already been made and that may be in-progress
throughout the dairy supply chain. More than 260 initiatives and case
studies are cataloged under the six primary areas of emissions
reductions, energy efficiency, transport efficiency, reduction in loss
of milk, resource efficiency and life cycle analysis and
Learn more about the Global Dairy Agenda for Action by visiting www.dairy-sustainability-initiative.org/Public/.
USDA will distribute approximately $1.7 billion in Conservation
Reserve Program (CRP) rental payments to participants across the country
in fiscal year 2010, according to a recent USDA announcement.
Producers holding about 758,000 contracts on 424,000 farms will receive
an average of $51.52 per acre. The number of contracts is higher than
the number of farms because producers may have multiple contracts on a
single farm. The payments allow producers to earn an average of $4,104
per farm enrolled in the program.
Included in the totals are 391,000 contracts, approximately 4.4 million
acres, for CRP's continuous sign-up and 369,000 contracts, approximately
29.4 million acres, for general sign-up. Under continuous sign-up,
producers may enroll high priority conservation practices, such as
filter strips, riparian buffers and wetland restorations at any time.
Currently, enrollment stands at approximately 31 million acres. This
voluntary program helps agricultural producers safeguard environmentally
sensitive land. Producers enroll in CRP and plant long-term,
resource-conserving covers to improve water quality, control soil
erosion and enhance habitats for waterfowl and wildlife. In return, USDA
provides producers with annual rental payments. CRP contract duration is
from 10 to 15 years.
USDA issues other CRP payments throughout the year. These payments
include a 50% expense reimbursement for establishing and managing cover
as well as incentive payments for enrolling eligible high priority
conservation practices. See a table listing CRP enrollment by state,
number of contracts, number of farms, acres enrolled and CRP projected
rental payments for fiscal year 2010 online at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet.
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.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced a new
initiative to improve water quality and the overall health of the
Mississippi River Basin in taped remarks to the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force
meeting in Des Moines, IA. The Mississippi River Basin Healthy
Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) will provide approximately $320 million
over the next four years for voluntary projects in priority watersheds
located in 12 key states. Participation in this initiative, which will
be managed by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), will
be made available through a competitive process for potential partners
at the local, state and national levels. The states include Arkansas,
Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
The natural capacity of the Mississippi River Basin to remove nutrients
has been diminished by a range of human activities over the years,
including modification of flood plains for agricultural and urban land.
MRBI will help agricultural producers implement conservation and
management practices that avoid, control and trap nutrient runoff. The
initiative is performance oriented, which means that measurable
conservation results are required in order to participate. By focusing
on priority watersheds in these 12 states in the basin, USDA, its
partner organizations, state and local agencies, and agricultural
producers will coordinate their resources in areas requiring the most
immediate attention and offer the best return on the funds invested.
Read more about the initiative online at www.usda.gov/wps/portal.
Secretary Vilsack's announcement can be viewed online at: www.youtube.com/watch.
Four U.S. pork operations were recently named 2009 Pork Industry
Environmental Steward award winners by the Pork Checkoff and National
Hog Farmer magazine. The recipients include JAC Pork, Hartley, IA,
Schafer Farms, Goodhue, MN, Bryant Worley Farms, Princeton, NC, and
Sensenig Farm, Mohnton, PA.
A panel of judges made up of pork producers and representatives of
environmental organizations reviewed applications and evaluated each
farm’s manure management systems, water and soil conservation
practices, odor control strategies, farm aesthetics and neighbor
relations. Applicants also had to submit an essay on the meaning of
environmental stewardship. Judges looked at the innovative ideas each
farm was putting into practice to protect the environment.
Award recipients will receive recognition at the 2010 National Pork
Industry Forum, held in March in Kansas City, MO.
The Sept. 15, 2009 issue of National Hog Farmer magazine featured
the newly named Environmental Stewards of the pork industry. Read more
about the environmentally friendly practices being implemented by each
farm online at nationalhogfarmer.com/.
Nominations for the 2010 award are due by March 31. Nomination forms
are available at: www.pork.org.
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 Learning Center offers an
Oct. 16 webcast addressing Grazing Management for Water Quality
Protection. Presenters will look at how producers can use the behavior
of animals when designing a grazing management system. The presenters
will also discuss waterborne pathogens and ways to prevent their
movement to water bodies.
The webcast takes place at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Oct. 16. On the
day of the webcast, participants can log onto the webcast at www.extension.org to download the
speakers’ presentations and connect to the virtual meeting room.
First-time viewers should also follow the steps at www.extension.org/pages/How_Do_I_Participate_in_a_Webcast%3F.
Send Comments & Questions To
Dale Miller, Editor,
National Hog Farmer
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