Water Quality Protection Practices

Storm sewer
Nonpoint source or runoff pollution is harmful to the water quality of our lakes, ponds, and streams. Many of our daily activities contribute to runoff pollution leaving our property and harming our lakes, ponds, and streams. Water quality protection practices help to reduce runoff pollution and protect our water resources.

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Livestock & Poultry Expansion: Critical Issues for Discussion with Farmers and Communities

There is a growing interest in establishing new livestock and poultry facilities in Nebraska, many of which will involve contractual arrangement with supply chain partners. Our purpose is to inform Extension educators and other farm advisors on those critical issues to be considered in the planning of a new livestock/poultry facility and prepare these advisors for leading farmers successfully through this process.

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Odor Management

Cattle in a feedlot
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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Phosphorous Dynamics

Diagram of the Phosphorous cycle
Animal manures contain both organic and inorganic forms of phosphorus. When manure mineralizes, organic phosphorus becomes inorganic phosphorus in solution and is available to plants. Some organic phosphorus is transformed to inorganic form shortly after application but other phosphorus will remain in organic form

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Manure Nutrient Losses

Manure nutrients are lost during manure handling, storage, treatment, and application. Manure nitrogen is especially vulnerable to volatilization when ammonium is transformed to ammonia. Losses of phosphorus and potassium are primarily due to runoff and erosion.

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Phosphorus Loss

Land application of manure can be beneficial to crop production but can result in increased risk of P loss to surface waters. When manure is applied to meet crop nitrogen needs, the amount of P applied is typically much more than the P removed in the harvest of one crop. Effective January 1, 2007, operators of large CAFOs in Nebraska need to assess the risk of P delivery to surface waters from each of their designated fields by using a P index before manure can be applied.

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Nitrogen Dynamics

Diagram of the Nitrogen cycle
Nutrients in manure are potentially valuable resources for the management of soil fertility, but these nutrients are potential pollutants as well. Only 10 to 40 percent of the nutrients consumed by animals may end up in the marketed product; the rest is excreted in feces and urine. Manure contains all nutrients needed by plants, but nitrogen and phosphate generally have the most agronomic significance in Nebraska.

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