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April 13, 2009
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Contents
  • Manure Bartering Brings Benefits
  • Economics of Stop Signs
  • Illinois Web Site Links Producers, Manure Users
  • Some Crop Acres Below Expectations
  • Manure Helps Oil-Contaminated Soil
  • Defending the Study of Pig Odor
  • Low-Phytate Barley Available In Canada
  • Iowa Will Host Upper Midwest Manure Handling Expo
  • Manure Use Featured At Farm Technology Days

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      Manure Bartering Brings Benefits
    When both fuel and fertilizer prices started moving upward, many crop and livestock producers became more interested in manure bartering. Kevin Erb, an economist with the University of Wisconsin Extension Environmental Resources Center, says manure bartering helps more evenly distribute manure nutrients to fields with lower fertility that might be located farther from a livestock facility. “Higher fertilizer prices make bartering more feasible,” he relates. The trend toward livestock producers networking with crop producers to barter manure has led states like Michigan and Illinois to create an online list of manure producers seeking to provide manure, as well as cash grain farmers who are looking for the crop nutrients manure has to offer. Illinois co-ops are also serving as brokers for manure exchange.

    Erb says Wisconsin producers tend to exchange manure for cash, feed, or services, or may do a “Dutch treat” type of bartering. The Dutch treat system may be used when one or both farmers have land closer to another farm’s manure source. Erb says this situation commonly occurs when both producers have owned or rented land across a busy road or next to the neighbor’s barn. Each producer may agree to haul a set amount of manure to the other’s property, which is actually located closer, thus saving time and wear and tear on equipment. Both producers are able to benefit from manure’s nutrients.

    Erb cited an example where two farmers were able to save two miles each way by using the Dutch treat bartering system. They were applying three loads per acre on a 20-acre field, thus saving 240 total miles and 10 hours of labor for each farmer. “The corn field was planted one day earlier as a result,” he adds.

    A manure-for-feed barter system occurs when a cash grain producer agrees to accept a certain amount of manure from the livestock producer as part of a contract to produce feed. The rates, time of application and field selection are all spelled out in the contract.

    With manure-for-cash barters, the livestock producer provides the manure for a set price per ton or per thousand gallons. The price is usually determined by the nitrogen content of the manure, and is more common with poultry and swine farms than with dairies.

    Erb says the manure-for-services trade involves the manure recipient providing a set amount of services, such as hoof trimming, feed hauling, or tillage, in exchange for the manure. “One benefit of this type of exchange is that, if the dairyman can contract with a dependable neighbor with the right equipment, the dairy can avoid investing in that tool,” Erb explains. Any manure exchange or barter can have income tax implications, and should be double-checked with an accountant or tax attorney.

    A written contract is essential with any type of manure exchange. Erb encourages producers to have the contract reviewed by both farms’ attorneys. Key factors pertaining to environmental responsibility, manure sampling, application guidelines, recordkeeping responsibility, tax implications and contingency plans if it is too wet to apply, are among the details that should be included in the contract. Because of potential income tax implications, contract language should be approved by an accountant or attorney.

    Erb suggests successful manure exchanges usually start by involving both farms’ nutrient management plan writer or crop consultants. “Their knowledge of manure rates, soil conditions and other factors will make them a key player in any successful agreement,” he concludes.

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      Economics of Stop Signs
    When it comes to figuring out the cost of hauling manure, distance and time are key, says Kevin Erb, University of Wisconsin Extension Environmental Resources Center. The number of stop signs can make a significant difference to the bottom line. “If a commercial applicator is hired, most haulers charge by the hour and the farmer provides the fuel,” Erb states. Each stop sign can add four minutes to the round trip hauling time, if the road speed is 55 mph with a truck. Three stop signs or 90-degree turns can reduce efficiency by as much as one trip per hour, he adds.


      Illinois Web Site Links Producers, Manure Users
    Illinois Manure Share is a free program that helps livestock owners link up with gardeners or landscapers who are looking for manure. The manure exchange program is designed to help gardeners and landscapers find organic materials for use in composting or field applications. The program’s goal is to remove the manure from farms that do not have the acreage to adequately utilize the manure nutrients. The Web site includes links to federal and state rules and regulations affecting the manure sharing process. Learn more details about composting manure at www.sweeta.illinois.edu/composting.cfm.

    University of Illinois Extension Manure Share program details and links can be found online at www.manureshare.illinois.edu/.

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      Some Crop Acres Below Expectations
    USDA’s recent Prospective Plantings Report indicates U.S. farmers intend to plant 76 million acres of soybeans, compared to 79.2 million acres estimated by analysts. Soybean seedings are still up 300,000 acres from last year. Delta Farm Press quoted AgResource Co analyst Dan Basse who said, “The difference between expectation and reality is the biggest myth I can find in soybean seedings over the last 20 years.” USDA says farmers also intend to plant 84.99 million acres of corn, compared to 84.41 million acres estimated by analysts, and 58.63 acres of wheat, compared to analysts’ projections of 58.6 million acres. Another surprise in the March 31 USDA report was the decrease of about 8 million acres in total U.S. crop acres.

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      Manure Helps Oil-Contaminated Soil
    Science Daily reports that researchers in China have discovered chicken manure can be used to biodegrade crude oil in contaminated soil. Writing in the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, the team explains how bacteria in chicken manure break down 50% more crude oil than soil lacking the manure.

    Contamination of soil by crude oil occurs around the world because of equipment failure, natural disasters, deliberate acts, and human error. However, conventional approaches to clean-up come with additional environmental costs. Detergents, for instance, become pollutants themselves and can persist in the environment long after any remediation exercise is complete.

    Bioremediation is a more environmentally benign approach which uses natural or engineered microbes that can metabolize the organic components of crude oil. Stimulating such microbial degradation in contaminated soil often involves the use of expensive fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, and, again, may come with an additional environmental price tag despite the “bio” label. Soil hardening and a loss of soil quality often accompany this approach.

    The research team of Bello Yakubu, Huiwen Ma, and ChuYu Zhang of Wuhan University, China, suggest that animal waste, and in particular chicken manure, may provide the necessary chemical and microbial initiators to trigger biodegradation of crude oil if applied to contaminated soil. One important factor is that chicken manure raises the pH of soil to the range 6.3 to 7.4, which is optimal for the growth of known oil-utilizing bacteria.

    In tests, the team added chicken manure to soil contaminated with 10% volume-to-weight of crude oil to soil. They found that the almost 75% of the oil was broken down in soil with the fowl additive after about two weeks.

    Learn more at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090303102729.htm.

    Source: Science Daily/University of Toronto.


      Defending the Study of Pig Odor
    The state of Iowa made national headlines recently when news spread about a legislative earmark providing federal funding for the study of swine odor. The earmark provided the funding to USDA’s Agriculture Research Service in Ames. While defending the necessity of the odor research project, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says there are very good reasons why that funding item should remain.

    The Iowa Pork Industry Center provides additional details about an article on the Scientific American Web site in which Harkin outlines how the earmark came about. Harkin says former President Bush’s budget proposed to terminate a number of agricultural research projects in order to come in at a lower budget number, with the former president allegedly figuring that this needed research was likely to be restored by Congress. Jacek Koziel, Iowa State University agricultural and biosystems engineering associate professor, is quoted in the Scientific American article explaining why it’s a good idea to study pig odor. Information from Harkin and an edited transcript of Koziel’s interview are on the Scientific American Web site at www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=why-study-pig-odor.

    Source: Iowa Pork Industry Center.


      Low-Phytate Barley Available In Canada
    The Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan recently announced that a low-phytate, hulless barley variety called CDC Lophy-I is now available as a publically released variety in Canada. Seed growers with pedigreed seed are free to multiply and market the seed.

    Brian Rossnagel, an oat and barley plant breeder from the CDC says the new barley makes phosphorus more available to animals, particularly hogs, thus reducing the amount of undigested phosphorus excreted in manure. “We saw this as an opportunity to provide hog producers right across the country with a good variety that would help. It won’t solve the whole problem if there is one, but it will help in making sure there’s as little phosphorus going out in the effluent as possible,” he says. Rossnagel explains that the barley also can help make minerals such as calcium and iron more available to hogs. Phytate in barley and other cereal grains tends to tie up calcium and iron, thus making them less available to the animals. Rossnagel is encouraging Canadian pork producers to let seed growers and suppliers know if they are interested in obtaining the low-phytate barley so sufficient seed supplies can be produced to meet demand.

    Read more about manure management in Canada at the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative Web site at www.manure.mb.ca/new-developments.php.


      Iowa Will Host Upper Midwest Manure Handling Expo
    The 2009 Upper Midwest Manure Handling Expo will be held at the Central Iowa Expo Center in Boone, IA on July 22, 2009. The theme for the meeting is “SET for Fall: Safety, Efficiency, and Technology.” Visitors and vendors will have a chance to interact and discuss manure handling equipment, products and services. The Expo will also offer educational opportunities.

    Learn more at www.ag.iastate.edu/wastemgmt/expo_home.htm. For additional information email agwaste@iastate.edu.

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    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.

      Manure Use Featured At Farm Technology Days
    The 2009 Wisconsin Farm Technology Days will be held July 21-23, 2009 at the Crave Brothers Farm, Waterloo, WI. The state-of-the-art dairy uses an automated manure digestion system to collect biogas from manure in order to generate electricity while reducing odors. The agricultural show will feature farm tours of Crave Brothers Farm, including a tour of their cheese factory. Field demonstrations will highlight manure handling and transport equipment, in addition to the latest in mowing, raking, harvesting and baling equipment. More than 600 commercial exhibitors will display products and services.

    The show is presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, Inc. and University of Wisconsin Extension. Learn more online at www.wifarmtechnologydays.com/.

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    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.

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