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.

Sharing Animal Agriculture's Sustainability Story

Visual illustrating agriculture’s circular economy for managing C, N, and other nutrients.
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

Greenhouse Gas Contributors in the US
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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Manure Management Strategies for Limiting Antibiotic Runoff

Conservation practices reduce antibiotic movement to surface waters.
It is important that farmers and agriculturalists to implement practices to reduce the runoff of antibiotics. This article helps recognize existing conservation practices one has already implemented that are limiting these risks and additional options that may be considered.

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Tolkien Teaches Ag: Lessons from Organic Fertilizer Production

steaming compost rows

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?

Muddy feedlot conditions common in Nebraska in 2019 lead to poor animal performance, some health issues, and increased odors as temperatures warm. What are your options for minimizing these challenges?
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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