See what farms are using for nutrient management, from anaerobic digesters and storage to field application and emissions.
It may not be the most pleasant part of a dairy operation, but it’s one of the most important: What do you do with all that manure?
With nutrient pollution and water quality issues gaining attention in the media, as well as rising costs of fertilizers, retaining nutrients from fall manure is both economically advantageous and environmentally imperative.
Manure management are buzzwords that often bring a scowl to the face of a dairyman. It is often due to the huge costs of maintaining a manure system on a dairy, including equipment, personnel, regulatory costs, custom services, nutrient management plans, neighbor relations, odor control, sampling, maintenance, etc.
Kevin Erb, a conservation professional training coordinator with the University of Wisconsin Extension, directed a simulated manure spill during the 2015 North American Manure Expo, held recently in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
In partial response to the energy crisis in the early 1970s, anaerobic digesters were installed at nearly 200 dairy farms across the U.S., only for the vast majority of these systems to shut down or fail after just a few years of operation.
However, with improvements in anaerobic digester technology, as well as a better understanding of the anaerobic digestion process, there was a resurgence of anaerobic digesters being installed on large dairy farms beginning in the late 1990s and continuing to this day.