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.

The science behind 50-degree soil and nitrogen application

Does nitrogen becoming nitrate mean we are going to lose it? No, it takes rainfall or snowmelt in the spring that will cause a leaching event, but it does increase the risk of loss. Certainly, there is a balance between making sure we get our manure applied before the soil freezes and applying too early, but hopefully the information above illustrates a bit behind the science of the 50°F and cooling recommendation.

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Manure Rules not just for Large CAFOs

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the amount of manure regulations in Nebraska? Or anywhere? This article simplifies basic manure regulations. Manure rules can be hard to remember, but always remember your Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy representative is a great resource. Don’t be afraid to call them if you have questions. And, as always, the UNL manure team is here to help if called upon.

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Fate of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and genes in manure storage

Manure storage and its application on crop land may contribute a form of environmental contamination: antimicrobial resistant bacteria. These bacteria in manure are perceived to cause diseases in humans through environmental contamination. However, a recent study in University of Nebraska-Lincoln feedlots near Mead, Nebraska concluded that long-term manure storage as static stockpiles has the advantage of inactivating antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and it has potential to reduce antimicrobial resistance genes.

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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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Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Cattle Operations through Diet

Agriculture in the United States provides a contribution to greenhouse gases, accounting for 9% of total emissions (US EPA). Animal agriculture is a large contributor. In beef production, both cow-calf operations and feedlots produce these gases. By implementing simple changes in cattle’s diet, though, there are several ways to reduce the number of these greenhouse gas emissions.

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