IMMAG Updates

July 2015

Welcome to the monthly update for the Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) Web site. This update is provided as a service to inform you about changes made to the IMMAG Web Page or items of interest dealing with manure management and air quality from animal feeding operations. If you wish to subscribe to this mailing please click here. You may also view this update with direct links on the CURRENT NEWS site on IMMAG.

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CURRENT NEWS:

Manure: a complete, but not balanced fertilizer

We all know that manures can serve as valuable soil amendments due to its potential to improve soil quality and tilth while proving nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and numerous other plant nutrients, but in not properly managed and land applied it can also result in negative environmental consequences. Overall, the vast majority of farmers do a great job thinking about how they can best use manure in their farming enterprise and implement techniques and practices to help capture the most benefit as they can. However, as I’ll discuss here, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
A comment I often hear about manure is that it is a complete fertilizer. When people say this they usually mean that manure has all the essential nutrient needed for crop growth; however, just because it has the right nutrients in it, doesn’t mean that they are available at the ratio our plants want. This adds some unique challenges to manure management that just don’t exist with other fertilizer options. Take for example a field that needs 150 units of N. If we go down to the co-op and pick up some anhydrous ammonia we can go to our field and put on the needed nitrogen; however, if we use manure to provide the nitrogen we’ll also get some phosphorus and potassium along with it. That is manure is a packaged deal, we can just pick out a chunk of nitrogen and say I’ll take this and leave the rest. The nutrients come as a package deal.
This in itself isn’t an issue, but rarely is the nutrient ratios (N:P:K) in manures such that it matches with crop need. This can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common have to do with losses of nitrogen during storage. This results in a situation where extra phosphorus ends up getting applied to reach the crops nutrient need. This may not be an issue if we rotate fields that receive manure and wait until our crops have reviewed the extra phosphorus we ended up applying, but this might require using alternative nitrogen sources for several years as we wait for our crop to remove some of the phosphorus.
Alternatively, sometimes when manure is stored outside soluble nutrients, like potassium, may be lost from the manure to a greater extent than more stable nutrients like phosphorus. If the manure is then applied at a phosphorus limiting rate we might end up removing more potassium with the harvested crop than we applied. Repeat this a few times and our soils could even become potassium deficient.
So the next time you hear someone mention manure is a complete fertilizer, just remember that that may not mean it is a balanced fertilizer. Soil testing can be a great tool to help you track what’s happening to phosphorus and potassium levels in your soil, and can serve as a great piece of information when you are planning the best ways to get the most from your manure.

Learning the Science of Interpreting Soil and Manure Tests

Speaking of getting the right manure application for you needs, Iowa State Extension and Outreach is offering workshops on the science of interpreting soil and manure tests. To aid farmers in nutrient management, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach dairy specialists are offering a workshop to fine-tune manure applications with soil management practices and testing.
“We will take a step-by-step approach on how to read a soil test and determine fertilizer needs,” said Jennifer Bentley, dairy specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. “Instructions will be offered for reading a manure test and determining how much of the crop nutrient needs can be met with manure applications. This knowledge will optimize on-farm resources, and likely reduce commercial fertilizer costs while increasing producer income.”
The 2-hour workshop is from 10 a.m. to noon, with the first hour training on manure management ‘how-to’ with examples and a step-by-step guide. The second hour will be question and answer time with Extension specialists. Leading the sessions are Brian Lang and Joel DeJong, both field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach. Participants may bring along recent soil and manure tests from their farm operations for interpretation.
There are nine workshop dates and locations available in August:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 12 – Winneshiek County ISU Extension office, Decorah, 563-382-2949
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 – Fayette County ISU Extension office, Fayette, 563-425-3331
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Allamakee County ISU Extension office, Waukon, 563-568-6345
  • Wednesday, Aug. 19 - Sac County ISU Extension office, Sac City, 712-737-4230
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Howard County ISU Extension office, Cresco, 563-547-3001
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Sioux County at Northwest Iowa Community College, Campus Building A, Room 119, Sheldon, 712-737-4230
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 – Delaware County ISU Extension office, Manchester, 563-927-4201
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Dubuque County ISU Extension office, Dubuque, 563-583-6496
  • Thursday, Aug. 27 – Clayton County ISU Extension office, Elkader, 563-245-1451

The program is free, but seating is limited so please call ahead to make your reservation. For more information or to make reservations, contact the local county extension office or visit www.extension.iastate.edu/content/county-offices.
This informational meeting is sponsored by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and North Central Risk Management Education Center.

MANURE APPLICATOR CERTIFICATION:

The March 1 deadline for renewing your manure application certificate has come and gone, so if you are a commercial manure applicator and were licensed in 2014, you will have to pay the late fee of $12.50 in addition to the regular certification fees.  If you are a confinement site applicator who is renewing your license in 2015, you will also have to pay the late fee in addition to the regular certification fees.  All new applicators (not previously certified) or confinement site applicators completing continuing education for their 3-year license do not have to pay the late fees.  If you missed training opportunities in January or February your two options to meet certification requirements remain 1) contacting your County Extension Office to make an appointment to watch the appropriate training video; or 2) contacting your local DNR field office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam. All certification requirements must be met prior to applying manure. Additionally, to make your training opportunities more convenient you will soon have an opportunity to take the course on-line. Final touches are being made to the on-line site and release is expected soon.

EVENTS:

The IMMAG Events page is a compilation of manure management related events. Please check the events page often for new listings.

Learning the Science of Interpreting Soil and Manure Tests

  • Wednesday, Aug. 12 – Winneshiek County ISU Extension office, Decorah, 563-382-2949
  • Thursday, Aug. 13 – Fayette County ISU Extension office, Fayette, 563-425-3331
  • Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Allamakee County ISU Extension office, Waukon, 563-568-6345
  • Wednesday, Aug. 19 - Sac County ISU Extension office, Sac City, 712-737-4230
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Howard County ISU Extension office, Cresco, 563-547-3001
  • Thursday, Aug. 20 – Sioux County at Northwest Iowa Community College, Campus Building A, Room 119, Sheldon, 712-737-4230
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25 – Delaware County ISU Extension office, Manchester, 563-927-4201
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26 – Dubuque County ISU Extension office, Dubuque, 563-583-6496
  • Thursday, Aug. 27 – Clayton County ISU Extension office, Elkader, 563-245-1451

Animal Agriculture Current Implications of RCRA and the Clean Air Act
2015 has seen interesting developments in legal issues related to livestock production. In January, a federal district judge ruled that manure could become a solid waste under federal environmental laws if managed improperly. At the same time a consortium of environmental and animal welfare groups filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failure to act on their petition to regulate ammonia gas releases from animal feeding operations. On August 6th at 11:00 AM Dr. Shannon Ferrel, Oklahoma associate professor of agricultural economics will discuss the implications of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Clean Air Act on animal agriculture, recent litigation, and other legal issues. For more information and to register for the event click here.

 

Angie Rieck-Hinz
amrieck@iastate.edu
(515) 231-2830
Twitter: @iowamanure

Dan Andersen
dsa@iastate.edu
(515) 294-4210
Twitter: @DrManure


Iowa Manure Management Action Group
http://www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/

Copyright © 2015, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.

 

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