Training Manure- and Compost-Spreading Contractors for the Cattle-Feeding Industry in the Texas Panhandle

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Why Is Training So Important for Manure Contractors?

Manure and compost companies have strived over the years to provide a service to both feedyards and crop producers in the most cost-effective manner possible.  Unfortunately, little attention has been given to environmental impacts, by this important segment of the cattle feeding industry.  This project, through training and demonstrations, will establish a program to provide for long-term implementation of best management practices (BMP) to be used during the land application of manure or compost.  This will give producers a greater assurance that using manure or compost in their nutrient management programs has tremendous benefits and can be applied in a manner that is protective of the environment.

This event was conducted to determine which method of calibration might be appropriate when calibrating a manure spreader in the field.  We used several different scales, dump gate configurations, and tarp placements to determine which method was the easiest and most reliable at determining actual tons/acre of manure applied.

The visual and measured observations of the manure spreader show that most of the manure is spread in a 10ft wide swath directly behind the spreader.  There is a small amount of manure that extends out to 12-14ft behind the spreader, but the bulk of the manure is applied in 10ft strips.  Manure collected from tarp to tarp varied greatly depending upon where it was placed in the 10 ft stip.  If the tarps were placed on the edge, then they received 25-50% of the estimated tons per acre that the tarps placed directly in the center of the strip received.

Tarp aspect ratio was changed to accommodate the narrow distance between the back wheels on manure trucks.  28”x112” Tarps = 1/2000th of an acre. One pound on a standard tarp equals one ton of manure per acre.

Overlap measurements should also be considered when raw manure is applied with trucks that have vertical beaters or horizontal spinners that apply manure wider than the truck footprint.  Application width and overlap are the primary factors influencing “single” pass estimates.


Brent Auvermann, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service   

Kevin Heflin, Gary Marek

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