Manure and the Environment

Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Manure and the Environment

Manure contains four primary contaminants that impact water quality: nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria and other pathogens, and organic matter. Achieving a nutrient balance will reduce potential environmental hazards often associated with animal agriculture. An annual crop nutrient management plan is needed to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients to sustain profitable crop production, and to balance nutrient inputs (including manure) with crop nutrient needs.

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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Muddy Feedlot Surfaces: What Are My Options?

An undesirable combination of precipitation events and freeze/thaw cycles has contributed to some very muddy feedlot surfaces in the winter and spring of 2019 in Nebraska. Preventative design and management options exist for minimizing the occurrence and extent of muddy open feedlot conditions, but very few ‘fixes’ exist for addressing muddy conditions once they are in place. Additional information on your options follows...

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The Nebraska Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix

Growth in Nebraska’s livestock and poultry industries is greatly influenced by county zoning and local decision-making. Variation in policies among counties and in decisions made by county officials creates significant challenges for current and prospective livestock operations and for rural communities looking to remain vibrant and create new revenue to support local resources. The Nebraska Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix is approved for use and recently updated for continued dissemination by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

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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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Best Application Tips for Winter Application

As we deal with frozen soils, switching to surface manure application, and the challenges of dealing with manure application during colder temperatures we need to be mindful of our application practices. While these application conditions don’t necessarily increase nutrient loss, they do increase the risk of potential loss.

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