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.

Manure Impact on Erosion and Runoff

This article reviews the value that results from changes to soil’s physical characteristics. Charles Wortmann and Dan Walters, faculty with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln monitored soil erosion, runoff, and phosphorus (P) loss from replicated field plots over three cropping seasons immediately after manure application and four subsequent years when no manure was applied. Significant erosion and runoff benefits were observed for sites receiving animal manures.

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Manure Impact on Soil Aggregation

Manure increases formation of larger and more stable soil aggregates. Several benefits result for fields fertilized by manure compared to commercial fertilizer including reduced runoff and soil erosion and increased water infiltration leading to greater drought tolerance.

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Siting Animal Facilities to Reduce Neighbor Nuisance

Wind direction and speed affect dust and odor risk. A first step in assessing and minimizing potential dust and odor nuisance risk of a livestock operation is identifying the most likely downwind directions. This article will share wind frequency data for 44 Nebraska locations to consider siting options for reducing these nuisances.

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Odor Management

Odor emission is of great concern to the general public. An odor management plan is required in the permit application for livestock operations with more than 1,000 animal units. Producers need to understand odor emission from animal housing, manure storage and handling, and land application and available management options.

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Air Quality Issues

The federal Clean Air Act Amendment of 1990 (CAAA) has provisions of importance to producers of agricultural products. Although protecting air quality has inherent implications for livestock and poultry health as well as profitability, the language of air quality is derived principally from environmental regulations designed to protect public health and the use and enjoyment of private property.

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