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Manure

See what farms are using for nutrient management, from anaerobic digesters and storage to field application and emissions.

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Editor’s note: The following is the first installment of a four-part series summarizing fact sheets written by Wendy Powers entitled “The Power of Smell.”

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There are a wide variety of farms. They vary in their resources and their environmental concerns. Some farms have access to more capital, skilled labor, management ability, land resources, water resources and markets than other farms. Different manure treatment and handling methods are needed to match the resources and needs of different farms. Recent studies have shown manure-handling costs on farms can be significant. Figure 1* shows costs collected from western New York dairies in 1996. These do not include storage costs and they do not include additional costs that increased management from the implementation of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) would require.

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Complaints about the smell of farms in Ottawa County, Michigan, have wafted away on the wind, thanks in part to a tri-fold brochure. Nearly three years ago, the county first produced the brochure, titled “If you are thinking about moving to the country,” which included a small panel where people could scratch and sniff an accurate whiff of cattle manure.

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Many concerns at feedlot operations are directly linked to pen maintenance and manure management. Odors and dust problems, animal health and performance, water runoff and protection of groundwater and surface water are all interconnected within confined feeding operations.

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