Animal Manure Management

Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Animal Manure Management

Recycling local manure nutrients before purchasing fertilizer is key to protecting the environment. Manure can be an economic “Win”, due to its fertility value, and a soil quality “Win”, due to its organic matter.  But it can also be a community risk, due to odors and pathogens. Our live educational programs, online courses, and resources provide science-based information on economically viable, environmentally sound manure handling systems that also comply with all regulations.

Phosphorous Loss

Land application of manure can be beneficial to crop production but can result in increased risk of P loss to surface waters. When manure is applied to meet crop nitrogen needs, the amount of P applied is typically much more than the P removed in the harvest of one crop. Effective January 1, 2007, operators of large CAFOs in Nebraska need to assess the risk of P delivery to surface waters from each of their designated fields by using a P index before manure can be applied.

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Nitrogen Dynamics

Nutrients in manure are potentially valuable resources for the management of soil fertility, but these nutrients are potential pollutants as well. Only 10 to 40 percent of the nutrients consumed by animals may end up in the marketed product; the rest is excreted in feces and urine. Manure contains all nutrients needed by plants, but nitrogen and phosphate generally have the most agronomic significance in Nebraska.

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Pathogens and Organic Matter

Pathogens, typically microbes (e.g., bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi) or parasitic worms, are organisms capable of causing infection or disease in other organisms, including humans, wild and domestic animals, and plants. Several pathogens naturally occur in livestock and poultry manure and under certain circumstances may pose a risk to human health.

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Contaminant Pathways

Water quality can be degraded by contaminants contained in manure, from water used at milking centers, from silage leachate, and from open lot runoff. These potential pollutants typically follow one or more possible pathways to water.

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Understanding Water Quality Issues

Manure contains four primary contaminants that impact water quality: nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria and other pathogens, and organic matter.

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