| December 14, 2009
A Penton Media, Inc Publication
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:
“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.
- 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
- Continue maximum ventilation for 30 minutes after pumping has ended
before re-entering the building.
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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 www.pork.org/Documents/ManureFactSheet%20112009.pdf.
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
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
"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
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
Read more about Mitloehner’s thoughts online at news.ucanr.org/newsstorymain.cfm?story=1254.
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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
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 nationalhogfarmer.com/human-resources/1115-amandas_story-shares-story/
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: www.iowapork.org/Portals/.
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: www.npr.org/templates.
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.
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 www.dglobe.com/event/article/id/30088/.
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
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
“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
To join the webinar, go to www.ndivnlc.horizonwimba.com.
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 email@example.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.
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
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 www.extension.org/pages/Live_Webcast_Information.
First-time viewers should follow the steps at www.extension.org/pages/How_Do_I_Participate_in_a_Webcast?
A few days before the webcast to ensure access to the virtual meeting
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: www.agronext.iastate.edu/.
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 www.midwestforage.org/Events/
for program and registration details.
Send Comments & Questions To
Dale Miller, Editor,
National Hog Farmer
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