Manure management is one of the biggest challenges facing livestock producers today.
Manure management issues are complex, involve interactions between animals, soils, plants and humans, and can be highly emotional.
At odds. The characteristics of manure are unique to each livestock operation, and often change from season to season.
Producers who manage well and do a good job of protecting the environment and their neighbors still sometimes find themselves at odds with neighbors or regulatory officials over odor or nutrient runoff concerns.
A new look. Ohio State Extension Bulletin 604 was first published in 1992. It has been a valuable source of information for livestock producers and advisors, providing technical data, engineering design criteria and manure management alternatives and guidelines for producers.
I have used the information in Bulletin 604 as a reference and as an aid in advising producers numerous times.
This year, a new 2006 edition of Bulletin 604 has been published. It is worth a second look.
The 2006 edition contains new sections, but the entire publication has been updated with added sections and up-to-date information. It even contains information on nutrient management in livestock grazing systems.
Nutrient budget planning. Chapter 2 contains information to help producers evaluate and calculate nutrient balance for their whole farm.
It also offers alternatives for improving the balance between crop nutrient needs and whole farm nutrient inflows and outflows.
Responsible managers will understand and control the nutrient balance on their farms in order to protect the environment. Moreover, managing nutrient inflows and outflows is very important to the overall profitability of today’s livestock farms.
Land application. Chapter 6 contains extremely important information about proper application of manure on soils.
This section has been updated to contain information on preferential flows of manure into worm burrows and tile drains.
Suggestions for minimizing the risk of preferential flows tell producers what the problem is and how to manage the problem.
Management guidelines for monitoring and controlling preferential flows and runoff (Natural Resources Conservation Service Performance Standard 633) are included along with guidelines for implementation.
This section also contains the latest guidelines for manure application rates and timing, plus restrictions on application of manure to frozen and snow-covered land.
Odor and dust control. Chapter 8 contains information on current research concerning odor and its control during storage and land application.
As you read this section, keep in mind that manure odor is a very complex and emotional issue. Much research has been done and much is currently in progress on the management of manure odor.
I predict that more information will be forthcoming from this research over the next few years. However, many of the ideas currently being tried are not proven at this time.
Get a copy. The new Bulletin 604 is an important and much needed publication for livestock producers and their advisors. I strongly encourage everyone who works with the livestock industry to obtain a copy or to at least check it out on the Web.
You can obtain Publication 604 from Ohio County Extension Offices. You can review the new publication on line by pointing your Web browser to http://www.ohioline.osu.edu/b604/index.html.
(The author is an agricultural extension educator in Columbiana County. Questions or comments can be sent in care of Farm and Dairy, P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)