September 2013 Newsletter Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center

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Webcast Series

Looking Ahead to September

dairy cowPhosphorus in cattle feed is directly related to the amount of phosphorus excreted in their manure. In some areas, phosphorus is limiting the amount of manure that can be applied to crop fields. Join us to learn more about a current research project that is examining the bioavailability of phosphorus for dairy cattle as a way to manage feed nutrients and reduce excretion in the manure. More…

Future Topics

October – Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff
Winter 2013 – Nutrient recovery from anaerobic digestion (series)
As always, you can check out the recordings of past webcast at our webcast archive and view the schedule at upcoming webcasts.

What’s Going On In the LPELC?

Featured Video: Mortality FAQ playlist

Manure Experts

Manure Experts. You may have noticed a new link on all of our web pages–the “Manure Experts” database. This database is searchable by location or topic to find people who can help answer your questions. If you are an expert in some area of animal agriculture and environmental stewardship there is a link toward the bottom where you add yourself to the database. More…

National Resources

Manure Expo, Nitrate Tracking, Manure Contaminants, Climate Report, Ecosystem Services

Manure Expo. The debut of the North American Manure Expo in Canada was met with rave reviews, both for the content of the program and the organization of the event. the biggest attention-getter was a device known as the ‘lagoon crawler’. Manure Expo website | Show GuideFacebook. A sampling of news coverage of the event: Guelph Mercury | | Progressive Dairy

Nitrate Tracking. The US Geological Survey is using real-time nitrate monitoring in the Mississippi River Basin in order to study the patterns of nitrate pulses as they relate to weather, precipitation and seasonal flow. The data can also be used to alert water treatment plants when to start up the nitrate removal system. More…

solid manure spreadingManure Contaminants. The US EPA has released a report “Literature Review of Contaminants of Livestock and Poultry Manure and Implications for Water Quality”. This report summarizes science and includes information on antibiotics and hormones, among other topics. No policy recommendations are made. More…

Climate Report. The USDA Office of the Chief Economist is inviting public comments on a report that outlines user-friendly ways for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners estimate greenhouse gas emissions and evaluate the benefits of reducing emissions, or increasing carbon sequestration. More… Related: LPELC climate home page

Ecosystem Services. A recent workshop hosted by the USDA Economic Research Service and Farm Foundation focused on the economics of agricultural programs that pay for desirable environmental practices as well as behavioral considerations and adoption factors. The presentation slides from that workshop are available by following the link. More… | Related: LPELC webpage on Market Based Conservation

State Program Highlights

  • Iowa: Now that fall manure application season is upon us, extension engineers from Iowa State are reminding everyone to be safe when pumping manure from deep pit facilities. More…
  • Michigan: Michigan State University cut the ribbon on a new campus anaerobic digester facility that will use cow manure, food waste, and waste oils. More…
  • Minnesota: University of Minnesota researchers remind farm owners and workers about the potential for flash fires around foaming swine pits. More…
  • Minnesota: The Green Star Farms Initiative is providing a confidential website for farmers to evaluate their stewardship practices. It also includes links to relevant publications for further reading. More…
  • Ohio: Glen Arnold, Ohio State, offers advice for cover crops as a way to hold fall-applied manure nutrients on the field. More… | Related: (archived webcast) Cover Crops & Manure | Glen’s archived webcast on Top-Dressing Manure
  • Pennsylvania: Penn State is offering an equine environmental stewardship course starting October 19. The course will cover pasture management, weeds, manure, soils and other topics. More… | Related: Managing Manure on Horse Farms

Have a state project or program you would like to see in this section? Email the details to

Hot Topics

Dairy Cents App, Minnesota Nitrates, Cow Power Movie, Manure Biosecurity

Dairy Cents App. Pennsylvania State University has released “DairyCentsPRO”, an app that allows users to enter farm-specific information to calculate feed costs compared to production and track that over time. The app also monitors feed management metrics such as dry matter intake, milk nitrogen efficiency, phosphorus intake and excretion and more. The app is currently available in a producer version ($9.99) and consultant version ($14.99)  in the iTunes store with an Android version being planned for this fall. Search “dairycentspro” in the app store.

tile drainageMinnesota Nitrates. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency recently released a study that indicated 70% of nitrate in surface waters came from cropland. Manure was cited as the third most abundant nitrogen source on cropland behind commercial fertilizer and legume fixation. The use of tile drainage was also mentioned as a contributing factor in one area of the state. Improving the nitrogen use efficiency of fertilizer was the major recommendation to reduce loading. MCPA news release | Nitrate study link | Related: Preferential Flow in Tile Drainage

Cow Power Movie. Most of you are probably already aware of the “Cow Power” program in Vermont that uses anaerobic digestion to produce electricity, but did you know there is a movie? “Cow Power: The Film” is a documentary about this program and its impacts. More…

Manure Biosecurity. With the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) becoming a concern, farmers and custom manure applicators are reminded to follow some basic guidelines to prevent the spread of this disease through manure hauling and application. More… Related: Biosecurity for Livestock & Poultry Manure Management

Events & Announcements

Monoslope Beef Facilities. Iowa State, South Dakota State, and USDA Ag Research Service will be hosting a conference on monoslope beef barns November 21, 2013 in Sioux Falls, SD. The morning session will cover air quality and nutrient management. The afternoon will include panel discussions on management by farmers with these buildings and a panel comparing cattle performance in different types of buildings. For more, contact Beth Doran

Waste to Worth II. We are excited to announce that the follow up to Waste to Worth “Spreading Science and Solutions” will be held in Seattle, Washington and is tentatively planned for late spring, 2015. If you would like to be part of the planning committee, contact Joe Harrison

Have your state/regional/national event added to this section of our newsletter. Send them to Jill at

Manure In the News

A look at animal agriculture and manure in the news, serious, funny or controversial. Inclusion here does not constitute LPELC endorsement. In other words, we don’t create this stuff, we just link to it.

VMI researchers using llama manure to clean water” More…

“Toilet That Makes Manure from Human Waste Unveiled” More…

“Wet spring causes another shortage of manure for cow-chip throwing contest” More…


If you have any questions about this newsletter, please contact Jill Heemstra