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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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Manure produced by confined livestock operations is being viewed differently today than it has in the past. Formerly, manure was looked at as a waste material and disposed of without much consideration for the nutrients contained in the material. Today, with environmental regulations becoming ever-more restrictive and the price of agricultural inputs on the rise, manure is considered a more viable nutrient source for crop growth and development.

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As we tackle the concept of whole-farm nutrient management in this issue it really comes to light how dairy producers today must perform an incredible balancing act throughout their entire operation.

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Adaptability and flexibility are key in this manure management option
Although the current economy has people wondering what the future of dairying will look like, one company has recently developed a system it feels will help the industry productively deal with manure management issues in the years to come. In fact, with dairies already using this new process, these innovations are available today.

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Water is essential to every dairy operation. It is required by cows and crops and also used in many daily farm tasks. However, when excreted in manure it quickly becomes a nuisance, especially in wet, humid climates.

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We farm on the Saanich Peninsula on southern Vancouver Island, with 200 head of Holsteins and their youngstock. They are housed year- round in freestalls with sawdust and scraped with alley scrapers into a lagoon with six months’ capacity.

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Recent reports rolling out of California might leave the average person believing that digesters on animal facilities are on their way out. First, there is the battle over which is more damaging to air quality – the natural emissions from anaerobic digestion in lagoons or the emissions from the generators that turn methane into power.

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