Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Value of Manure

Sharing Animal Agriculture's Sustainability Story

Animal agriculture often endures criticism from neighbors and consumers relative to sustainability. But when it comes to management of carbon and nutrients, animal agriculture has a positive story to share. Many environmental and sustainability organizations promote the importance of a “circular economy” for increasing sustainability. Those engaged with Nebraska agriculture should help our neighbors and consumers recognize agriculture’s long term practice of implementing this circular economy. This article will help introduce agriculture’s circular economy for nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), carbon (C), and other nutrients and messages you might share with neighbors and consumers about the Nebraska Advantage for sustainability.

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Tolkien Teaches Ag: Lessons from Organic Fertilizer Production

On a brisk April day, I was traveling with a group of adventurers through the wilds of the Minnesota country side. We came upon a steep embankment and climbed it so that we might see what lay beyond. When I reached the top, and the crowd around me had parted, I thought for a moment I might suddenly have traded places with Samwise Gamgee, hobbit, because I was gazing out onto a field of what reminded me very much of the steaming slag pits of Mordor.  However, rather than an apocalyptic hell-scape I was instead looking at a premier example of sustainable agriculture.

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Composted cattle manure is NOT detrimental to sugar beet production

In sugar beet production, most farmers do not have an option of manure as an alternative N source since N availability from manure can occur too late in the season and affect sugar quality. Composted cattle manure as different as it is from fresh manure might be a viable alternative N source for sugar beet production.

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Manure Reduces Nitrate Losses to Water in Iowa Study

Iowa State University researchers concluded from a long-term field study that poultry manure, when applied at a rate to meet the crop nitrogen (N) requirements, can reduce nitrate loss and achieve equal or better yields in corn soybean production systems. While this research focused on nitrate (NO­3-N) loss by field-tile drains (typically placed 3 to 6 feet deep), similar trends would be anticipated in Nebraska for nitrate leaching below the crop root zone and the eventual impacts on surface and ground water quality.

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Manure Applications Prior to Planting

Spring manure applications may provide environmental and crop production advantages compared to fall manure applications. These benefits include reduced nitrogen leaching, increased crop yields, and higher phosphorus and potassium nutrient soil storage.

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