Development of a Livestock Siting Assessment Matrix

Growth in the livestock and poultry industries in Nebraska faces hurdles is greatly influenced by county zoning and local decision-making. Variation in policies from one county to the next and in decisions made by county boards creates significant challenges for agricultural operations and for local communities looking to remain vibrant and grow. …

Evaluating Manure Nutrient Density and Paths for Improved Distribution

Increased density of livestock farms in some locations has increased manure nutrient density applied to the land base in that area. The increased nutrient density in some cases exceeds crop demands and leads to increased nutrient losses to the environment. In this study, we are using new approaches (including optimization modeling) to better inform stakeholders on locations which have excess manure nutrients produced as compared to crop uptake and pathways to improve distribution of manure nutrients including manure processing and transport options.…

Sand bedding for cows, is it a contaminant? Is it sustainable for our soils?

The question came up at an extension meeting on manure as to how adding 18,250 lbs. of sand per cow stall per year was impacting the soil.  Words like a “it will take a long time” and “not sure” didn’t serve as satisfactory answers.

Upon talking to a soil scientist, I found in 25 to 50 years the soil texture could include 20% more sand, when using a vertical tillage system.  …

Innovative Use of Solar Energy to Mitigate Heat Stress in Sows

Food retailers and consumers worldwide are pressuring producers to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the carbon footprint of swine production systems. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate a solar-powered system designed to cool sows that might reduce the use of fossil fuels in farrowing rooms and improve performance of lactating sows.

Quantitative Analysis of Words in Popular Press Articles about Livestock and Environment

Livestock farming practices and technologies, like many aspects of agriculture and industry, continue to evolve. As technology and attitudes change regarding livestock farming, public response changes as well; this is reflected in the way that people talk and write about the subject. This change and growth is a common topic  of both public and technical debate and scrutiny.

Pasture-based Dairy Impact on Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycling in Response to Grazing Grass-Legume Mixtures over Monocultures

There are over 3.5 million milk cows in the Western United States, making dairy one of the dominant sectors of western agriculture. Organic milk production is the fastest growing segment of U.S. organic agriculture and as a result there has been an increase in pasture-based milk production. To meet this increasing demand, improved grass-legume pastures that require fewer inputs, have high forage production and nutritive value, improve ruminant utilization of nitrogen, and have high dry matter intake are critical to the economic viability of pasture-based organic dairies.

Energy Consumption in Commercial Midwest Dairy Barns

Consumer interest and concern is growing in regards to sustainability of livestock production systems. Demand for reduced carbon emissions within agricultural systems has been growing along with increasing demand for food. Baseline fossil fuel consumption within agricultural systems, including dairy production, is scarce.