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December 14, 2009
A Penton Media, Inc Publication


  • Treat Foaming Manure Pits Carefully to Avoid Explosions
  • Safe Manure Removal Fact Sheet Available
  • Better Production Practices vs. Blaming the Cows
  • Pork Producer Survives Fall into Pit, Shares Story
  • New Winter Manure Application Law
  • “Manure War” Featured on NPR
  • Minnesota Watershed Receives EPA Grant
  • Agriculture and Carbon Regulation Webinar
  • Air Quality Regulations Webinar Planned Dec. 18
  • Iowa Commercial Applicator Training Jan. 6
  • Wisconsin Symposium Coming Next Month




      Treat Foaming Manure Pits Carefully to Avoid Explosions
    Slow agitation and extra caution should be used to help prevent explosions when emptying foam-covered liquid manure pits under swine buildings, according to University of Illinois (UI) experts.

    “While not all pits are experiencing foaming issues, several Midwestern livestock producers have reported their liquid manure pits developed a layer of foam from 1 to 5 ft. above the manure,” says Ted Funk, UI Extension agricultural engineer. “This layer of foam is full of gas bubbles, mostly methane and carbon dioxide -- the methane making the mixture flammable. These gases are created from the slow decomposition of manure in the pits.”

    Agitating these manure pits without proper precautions can lead to flash fires and explosions in ventilated facilities. “When the manure is agitated during pumping, the rate of gas release from the manure will be drastically increased. There is also a release of hydrogen sulfide, which is extremely toxic,” Funk explains. The generation of these gases from manure agitation is unavoidable, but the risks can be controlled. Adhering to strict safety protocols can minimize these risks when used with proper ventilation and agitation practices.

    To minimize the risk of injuries and flash fires, UI Extension staff offers these recommendations to manure handlers:
    • Review your emergency action plan with all workers and have emergency contact numbers available at the site.
    • In particular, liquid manure pits with foam should be worked very cautiously and agitated slowly.
    • Prior to agitation or pumping, turn off electrical power to any non-ventilation equipment and extinguish all pilot lights or other ignition sources in the building.
    • Fully open all ventilation curtains or ventilation pivot-doors.
    • Run ventilation fans at maximum speed.
    • Ensure that all people are out of the building. Never enter a building or manure storage structure when liquid manure is being agitated or pumped. Put up signs or hang tags to keep people out.
    • Always start the agitation process slowly and increase speed over time. Agitate the manure keeping the jet of pressurized manure below the liquid surface. Don't let the jet of manure strike walls or columns in the pit.
    • Continue maximum ventilation for 30 minutes after pumping has ended before re-entering the building.
    “While we are not sure exactly what has led to these problems, we think the above practices will minimize any accidents,” Funk says. Several land grant universities have begun research to try and determine causes and solutions when it comes to foaming manure pits, he adds.

    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.

      Safe Manure Removal Fact Sheet Available
    The National Pork Board recently developed a new fact sheet entitled, “Safe Manure Removal Policies.” The checkoff-funded fact sheet details what steps to take to ensure everyone’s safety around manure and its related gases. Download the new fact sheet at

      Better Production Practices vs. Blaming the Cows
    The United Nations Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark from Dec. 7-18, 2009, is driving an abundance of related stories through the news cycle. News articles pertain to everything from greenhouse gases to carbon footprints to global warming.

    On the eve of the conference, a new European campaign entitled, “Less Meat = Less Heat” was launched by former Beatle Paul McCartney and Rajendra K. Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Responding to the new campaign, a recent release from the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis), emphasizes that it is simply not true that consuming less meat and dairy products will help stop climate change. UC-Davis Associate Professor and Air Quality Specialist Frank Mitloehner says McCartney, Pachauri , and others, such as the promoters of "meatless Mondays," seem to be well-intentioned but not well-schooled in the complex relationships among human activities, animal digestion, food production and atmospheric chemistry. In short, they all ignored science. "Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat," Mitloehner says. "Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries."

    Mitloehner traces much of the public confusion over meat’s and milk's role in climate change to two sentences in a 2006 United Nations report titled "Livestock's Long Shadow." Printed only in the report's executive summary and nowhere in the body of the report, the sentences read: "The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport."

    These statements are not accurate, yet their wide distribution through news media has put us on the wrong path toward solutions, Mitloehner says. He believes greenhouse-gas production can be reduced, but not by consuming less meat and milk. "Rather, in developed countries, we should focus on cutting our use of oil and coal for electricity, heating and vehicle fuels," he states.

    Mitloehner says leading authorities agree that, in the U.S., raising cattle and pigs for food accounts for about 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions, while transportation creates an estimated 26%.

    "In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse gas production," Mitloehner says. In this he agrees with the conclusion of "Livestock's Long Shadow," which calls for "replacing current suboptimal production with advanced production methods at every step from feed production, through livestock production and processing, to distribution and marketing.

    "The developed world's efforts should focus not on reducing meat and milk consumption, but rather on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food,” he continues.

    Mitloehner particularly objects to the U.N.'s statement that livestock account for more greenhouse gases than transportation, when there is no generally accepted global breakdown of gas production by industrial sector. He notes that "Livestock's Long Shadow" produced its numbers for the livestock sector by adding up emissions from farm to table, including the gases produced by growing animal feed, animals' digestive emissions, and processing meat and milk into foods. By contrast, its transportation analysis did not similarly add up emissions from well to wheel; instead, it considered only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving. "This lopsided 'analysis' is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue," Mitloehner says.

    Most of Mitloehner's analysis is presented in a recent study entitled "Clearing the Air: Livestock's Contributions to Climate Change," published in October in the peer-reviewed journal Advances in Agronomy. Co-authors of the paper are UC-Davis researchers Maurice Piteskey and Kimberly Stackhouse.

    Read more about Mitloehner’s thoughts 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.

      Pork Producer Survives Fall into Pit, Shares Story
    An Iowa pork producer is counting her blessings and sharing the story about how she narrowly escaped death after falling in a manure pit this past summer. Amanda Vittetoe is urging producers to consider what happened to her as an example of the importance of following safety procedures, not only in and around manure pits, but all around their operations.

    Vittetoe was preparing to unload a trailer full of pigs when she fell into an 8.5-ft. deep manure pit. A lid in the loading room that usually covers the pit opening had been removed. Luckily, Vittetoe survived the ordeal and is working to educate producers about the importance of being safe, calm and aware of potential hazards in your own familiar surroundings. Read about her experiences as related in National Hog Farmer at

      New Winter Manure Application Law
    The Iowa Pork Producers Association is working to remind the state’s producers that a new law dictates the timing of manure on snow-covered or frozen ground. As of the law’s July effective date, surface application of liquid manure from a confinement operation is prohibited on frozen ground from Feb. 1 to April 1, and on snow-covered ground from Dec. 21 to April 1, except when there is an emergency.

    The law applies only to liquid manure from confinement producers with completely roofed facilities. It applies only to farmers who are required by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to have a manure management plan. The Iowa DNR indicates the law will primarily impact confinement producers with hog operations housing 1,250 or more finishers and dairy farms with 350 or more cows. The law does not prohibit winter application of dry manure or solid or bedded manure. Producers are strongly encouraged to manage all manure carefully to avoid water quality violations. Surface-injecting manure into soil during the time periods is allowable under the law.

    Exceptions to the law are allowed in emergency situations, but specific criteria must be met and the DNR must be notified prior to application. Learn more about the specific requirements at the Iowa Pork Producers Association website:

      “Manure War” Featured on NPR
    National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported on a growing public movement to oppose what is claimed to be manure issues from dairy farms in New Mexico’s “Dairy Row.” Dairy Row is an area along Interstate 10 between Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX, where more than 30,000 cows are located on 11 farms. The dairies are said to contribute an estimated $1.2 billion to the area’s economy. NPR reports that New Mexico is working to rewrite and tighten regulations on dairy discharge permits.

    Read the NPR story online at:

    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.

      Minnesota Watershed Receives EPA Grant
    According to the Worthington Daily Globe, the Rock River Watershed, spanning portions of Rock, Nobles, Pipestone and Murray counties, has received a nearly $150,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant to address manure management issues.

    The funds will be used to provide cash incentives to livestock producers within the watershed for implementing nutrient management plans, installing flow meters on liquid manure application equipment and calibrating spreaders that transport manure solids. In addition to on-farm practices, the Worthington Daily Globe reports that the grant will fund maintenance of a manure test plot for the next three years. Different manure application rates will be demonstrated on the site, with an informational plot day planned at the end of the third year. A final component of the grant will allow for intensive water sampling in the last year of the grant. Weekly samples will be taken of the main tributaries coming into the Rock River to monitor differences in water quality.

    Kickoff meetings are planned in January to present the information about the Rock River manure management project. At that time, landowners in the watershed will be encouraged to apply for funds on the grant option they wish to implement in their operation. Meetings are slated for Jan. 13 at the Pizza Ranch in Edgerton, MN, and Jan. 14 at the Pizza Ranch in Luverne, MN. Both meetings begin with a 9:30 a.m. registration. The meetings will count toward recertification for custom applicators/commercial animal waste technicians.

    Read the Worthington Daily Globe story online at

      Agriculture and Carbon Regulation Webinar
    New international policies are expected to offer opportunities in addition to increasing regulations for agriculture. A free webinar, “Agriculture and Carbon Regulation: Do We Win or Lose?” will be held Dec. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. (CST). The webinar is sponsored by North Dakota State University (NDSU) and North Dakota Alliance for Renewable Energy (NDARE).

    Experts will present the latest information on federal climate change legislation and discuss the potential impacts that may result from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on greenhouse gases. The webinar will describe implications of any policy changes for agricultural and energy industries, focusing mainly on the impact on North Dakota.

    “The event will follow an international climate change conference in Copenhagen,” says Cole Gustafson, NDSU biofuels economist and one of the presenters during the webinar. “In particular, the webinar will describe the implications of any policy changes for agricultural and energy industries in North Dakota. It is expected that new international policies will offer new opportunities, as well as increasing the regulation of the coal industry and animal agriculture.”

    Presenters include Cole Gustafson, NDSU biofuels economist; Bart Ruth, 25 by 25 board member; Daniel De La Torre Ugarte, University of Tennessee Agricultural Policy Analysis Center associate director; Burton English, University of Tennessee Department of Agricultural Economics professor and research coordinator and Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president.

    To join the webinar, go to Click on “participant login.” The room identification is “NDSU_carbon.” Under the name, enter your name and location. Those wishing to join the webinar are asked to pre-register with Jocie Iszler, NDARE board member, 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.

      Air Quality Regulations Webinar Planned Dec. 18
    A scheduling change means the eXtension National Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center will offer the Air Quality Regulations Update Webinar on Dec. 18 at 2:30 p.m. (EST). The webinar will address the recently finalized U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. The webcast will include an update on the status of implementation of the manure management section of the rule, offering an agricultural industry perspective on anticipated impacts. A currently available USDA Agriculture Research Service model for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from dairy facilities and tools that may help producers estimate emissions using the EPA calculation methodology will be highlighted during the webcast.

    Speakers include Rick Stowell, University of Nebraska, Al Rotz, USDA ARS and a third speaker to be determined.

    On the day of the webcast go to First-time viewers should follow the steps at A few days before the webcast to ensure access to the virtual meeting room.

      Iowa Commercial Applicator Training Jan. 6
    Iowa commercial manure applicators can attend three hours of annual training to meet commercial manure applicator certification requirements on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010. Commercial manure applicators wishing to recertify and those wanting to certify for the first time should attend. The workshop will provide the required annual training and will cover applicator rules, manure application on snow-covered and frozen ground, liability issues, and manure impacts on tile drainage. In addition, video from the 2009 Manure Expo will feature personal safety and manure spill response safety as part of the required programming.

    In addition to the Jan. 6 commercial manure applicator training session, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension also will offer five dry manure workshops for commercial manure applicators in February 2010. See workshop brochure link below for more information.

    ISU Extension and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conduct a Commercial Manure Applicator Satellite uplink on Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. There is no fee for the workshop but applicators must register by Dec. 31 with the ISU Extension county office where they plan to attend. A complete list of county extension offices offering this workshop can be found at:

      Wisconsin Symposium Coming Next Month
    The Professional Nutrient Applicators Association of Wisconsin will hold their joint symposium and annual meeting at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Jan. 26-27, in conjunction with the Midwest Forage Association (MFA) and Wisconsin Custom Operators meetings. More than 30 educational sessions will be offered in a concurrent format. Liquid manure application methods and tools, managing manure runoff risk and precision agricultural technologies to improve nutrient applications will be among the topics discussed during the symposium. Visit for program and registration details.

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

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