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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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Dairy operations looking to add a manure processing or treatment option to the farm need to first understand what is driving this change.

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Using dried manure solids for bedding is becoming more common among U.S. dairy herds. It allows farms an alternative way to handle manure, and it can help offset bedding costs – a large expense on many dairy farms.

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Reading and interpreting a nutrient management plan (NMP) can be intimidating. The plan has a lot of charts, numbers and symbols. Restriction maps include a lot of squiggly lines, different-colored hash marks and a multitude of setback symbols that aren’t immediately obvious.

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Dirty cows have a negative impact on milk quality, including greater chances of mastitis and a high somatic cell count (SCC). Dirty cows usually mean a dirty tail, and dirty tails can come from dirty stalls. Long tails are here to stay since the ban of tail docking. But thankfully, managing manure for cow hygiene is more automated than it’s ever been.

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With agriculture and farming in his DNA, Rick Martens is operating a business from the farm that has been in his family for generations. Located 80 miles north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, the century-old dairy farm is no longer home to cows, but now serves as the home base for Martens Manurigation, a custom manure pumping business.

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Nutrient losses from agricultural systems in the Mississippi River basin have contributed to the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2008, in response to this challenge, the EPA’s Hypoxia Task Force released an action plan for a national strategy to reduce, mitigate and control hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico and improve water quality in the Mississippi River basin (Hypoxia Task Force).

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