Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Water Quality Challenges

Protecting Groundwater by Managing Animal Manure Products

A monitoring well
Groundwater is often the main source of drinking water for rural communities, especially in the Midwestern United States, so it is important to keep that water at levels that are safe to drink while minimizing environmental impacts. Although animal manure has many benefits to farmers, it can contaminate groundwater supply if not managed properly. This article discusses important considerations when storing and applying manure and includes requirements for testing of well water.

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Applying Manure Management Concepts On-Farm

LAT flyer preview
This year’s Land Application Recertification sessions, called Applying Manure Management Concepts On-Farm, are scheduled to be in-person at many locations across the state in June, with one taking place in May in Lexington. Manure trainings earlier this year were held virtually, but we’re making progress, and that means we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in-person for the next manure event.

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Manure Phosphorus and Water Quality

Chesapeake Bay experiences summer algae bloom connected with excess phosphorus.
Manure produced in animal feeding operations is a source of fertilizer that can be used to reduce our dependency on commercial fertilizers. Manure contains several essential nutrients that crops that crops rely on to grow, most notably nitrogen and phosphorus. Proper management of manure before, during, and after land application helps to slow down the contamination of our streams and reservoirs.

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Antimicrobial Resistant Bacteria Within Surface Water Bodies

Vertical and horizontal transmission of resistance in bacteria (graphic source: Sonseverino et. al., 2018)
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a problem currently within public surface water bodies and will continue to challenge animal agriculture. AMR can impair our ability to use antibiotics to fight infections and other ailments. Antimicrobials make their way to our water primarily by ways of industrial waste, manure application, and aquaculture. Using responsible manure spreading practices, runoff prevention, spreading awareness, and partnering with your veterinarian for responsibly using antimicrobials can help aid in the solution.

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Water productivity in meat and milk production in the US (Part II)

graph of increases in water productivity of different animal products by partial replacement of corn and soybeans with distillers’ grains
Growth in the livestock sector has a lot of potential to benefit Nebraska economically, however it can also have negative impacts on our natural resources. To address some of these environmental impacts, the sector has been working hard to improve livestock water productivity. Recently, scientists at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the Department of Animal Science of the University of Nebraska, together with colleagues from the University of Twente, and the National University of Singapore worked together to estimate the changes in water productivity of animal products from 1960 to 2016.

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