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Manure Expo moves to Northeast

PD Editor Karen Lee Published on 30 June 2010

To help manure handlers adopt new technologies and best management practices, Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences will host the 2010 Manure Expo, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 15 at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs. This annual event has been held for eight years, previously in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio and Iowa. Pennsylvania will host it for the first time this year, attracting a new audience from the Northeast.

The expo’s theme, “Balancing Production and Conservation,” addresses how manure handlers must navigate federal, state and local regulations, public perceptions and scrutiny, and economic pressures, while trying to make the most of an important natural resource, said Expo Coordinator Robert Meinen, senior extension associate for Penn State Cooperative Extension.

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“This event offers a forum for the manure-handling industry to interact with the companies that provide equipment and services to highlight the latest technologies, practices and knowledge related to manure management,” Meinen said. “It will include side-by-side equipment comparisons, commercial field demonstrations, vendor displays and educational sessions that focus on optimization of manure nutrients. We also will provide information on such value-added systems as biogas production and separating solids for bedding.”

The following are pre-event comments from speakers scheduled to present at the 9 a.m. educational sessions.

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Douglas B. Beegle, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Agronomy,
Penn State University
Session topic: Manure application in no-till

Q. Why is this topic important?

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BEEGLE: As in most places, we’ve been witnessing a greater adoption of no-till practices. NRCS and the No-Till Alliance have really been pushing it. Farmers are eager to adopt no-till, but don’t know how to incorporate their manure applications without disturbing the soil. I’ve been working with different types of low-distribution manure injectors – two in particular – that are ways to help farmers combine the two practices.

Q. What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

BEEGLE: I’d like for them to at least be aware that these technologies are out there. Many aren’t in the position to add another piece of equipment now, but to get them thinking about it when they need to replace their existing manure-handling equipment. Communicating their no-till desires with their manure haulers may encourage them to invest in the proper equipment, as well.

Also, knowing what the equipment can do and understanding there will be trade-offs. Some equipment does better at reducing phosphorus losses, while other controls ammonia better. Being able to evaluate what it is that’s the problem and knowing the tools to use to solve it can help farmers make some sensible decisions.

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Natalie Rector
Nutrient Management Educator,
Michigan State University
Session topic: Money in the Ground, Money in Your Pocket: Calibrate Manure Spreaders to Achieve Both

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Q. Why is this topic important?

RECTOR: The only way to recapture value out of manure is to use it for fertilizer, and therefore, back off on purchased fertilizers. For producers to do this successfully, they need to have confidence in the manure values and the application rate and consistency. Calibration is the only way to do this. It will ensure their crop yields and cause them to never miss spending money on fertilizer.

Q. What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

RECTOR: Calibration is easy and well worth the few minutes it takes to accomplish. We’ll show several methods for both liquid and solid manure that can quickly help producers be more able to apply manure at agronomic rates for efficient crop production. We’ll have methods for box spreads and liquid tanks.

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Mark Hutchinson
Associate Extension Professor,
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Session topic: How does your animal mortality management fit into your nutrient management plan?

Q. Why is this topic important?

HUTCHINSON: Every livestock farm has to address mortalities. Dealing with dead stock can be costly and time-consuming. Carcass management has become complicated, as rules, regulations and economics have reduced the management options for producers. Producers need to be aware of current best management practices for carcass management to maintain economical and environmental sustainability.

Q. What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

HUTCHINSON: Through the two-part program, attendees will learn and experience sustainable carcass management through composting. Our goal is to show how carcass composting is both economical and efficient on any scale livestock farm. Participants will leave with the knowledge to develop their own carcass compost system and how to incorporate it into their manure management program.

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David Hansen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Soil and Environmental Quality,
University of Delaware
Session topic: Agriculture and the Chesapeake Bay TMDL

Q. Why is this topic important?

HANSEN: Agriculture, particularly animal agriculture, will be strongly impacted by new regulatory efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Two of the most important regulatory efforts are new rules for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) released in 2008 and the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load (TMDL), which will be in place by the end of 2010. The CAFO regulations are not, at this point, specific to the Chesapeake Bay watershed. However, state plans to comply with the TMDL will include requirements on agriculture that do not exist outside of the watershed.

The CAFO regulations are specific to animal operations and have important requirements for permits, public scrutiny of nutrient management plans and permit applications, and required practices. We will discuss the regulatory background and progress that some of the states are making in implementation of the CAFO requirements.

An important strategy that states will use to comply with the Bay TMDL is agricultural practices; this is not limited to animal operations. To the extent that these practices impact the cost of production, they have the potential to put Chesapeake Bay producers at a competitive disadvantage with producers outside of the watershed. We will discuss some of the most common practices being proposed by the states and how they will be implemented.

Q. What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

HANSEN: I hope that attendees have a better understanding of what is happening on the large scale (Chesapeake Bay and individual states), as well as how CAFO regulations and the Bay TMDL will likely impact their operations.

More information about the 2010 Manure Expo is available online at http://das.psu.edu/manure-expo , by sending e-mail to or by calling (814) 863-2263. PD

Karen Lee
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