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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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Over the last several years working as an environmental consultant on dairies, I have heard one question from my clients over and over again: How do we remove solids from our synthetically lined lagoons? Unfortunately, I have learned that removing manure solids once they have accumulated in a lagoon is easier said than done.

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Not a single speaker at the University of Wisconsin Discovery Farms Conference claimed to be in possession of a crystal ball, but that didn’t stop them from hypothesizing about what might be next in terms of nutrient applications. Looking to the future is important because today’s best still isn’t good enough.

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Edaleen Dairy of Lynden, Washington, has taken nutrient management to the next level. First an anaerobic digester was installed, and then the farm installed a dissolved air flotation (DAF) unit. Now, instead of being a waste to manage, their cow manure will have more specific applications on their crop ground and will eventually be their next income stream.

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In Wisconsin and Minnesota, the Discovery Farms Program has been turning privately owned farms into research stations for the past 15 years. The water quality data collected from participating farms is used widely in educational materials and presentations to farmers and farm advisers that are working to reduce losses of on-farm sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment.

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Fashion and farming are rarely two words that are linked together, but when you throw manure in the mix (literally), you have a recipe for something far from conventional. And conventional is hardly a word that would describe entrepreneur and artist Jalila Essaïdi and her work.

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Driving 5 miles down the road may seem like a short trip, but when it comes to hauling manure, costs go up exponentially at the 5-mile mark and increase every additional mile.

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