IMMAG Updates

September 2016

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.

Follow iowamanure on Twitter Follow the Iowa Manure Management Action Group on Twitter at @iowamanure.


Manure Sampling
Label a plastic bottle prior to sampling liquid manure. Click to enlargeManure is a good source of crop nutrients and can provide cost savings when compared to commercial fertilizers. While average nutrient values do exist for manure, those values can vary by 50 percent or more. The animals’ feed ration, water usage, and management, as well as other factors, can contribute to variation in manure nutrient content. This makes sampling on a regular basis an important part of your nutrient management plan and allows you to adjust your application rate as necessary.

To fully utilize the available nutrients, while at the same time protecting the environment, check out resources are listed below:

Manure samples ready to be mailed for analysis. Click to enlargeNeed a refresher about how to take a manure sample? The videos below show how to collect samples:

Manure Applicator Certification
As fall manure application season approaches, have you completed your training for the year? If you are in a commercial manure business (hauling or applying manure) or a confinement site applicator (a confinement operation with more than 500 animal units) you must complete your annual manure applicator certification. All certification requirements must be met before applying manure.
If you still need to complete training, you have three options available:

Hydrogen Sulfide Safety
When working around manure, safety should be practiced all year. Manure decomposition releases methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. During agitation and pumping we are particularly concerned with the release of hydrogen sulfide, when levels of the gas can reach deadly levels in a short amount of time. At low levels, hydrogen sulfide is recognized by its rotten egg smell, but after a short period of time you lose the ability to detect the gas. Even at low concentrations hydrogen sulfide can have serious health impacts.

During the 2016 Manure Applicator Certification programs, commercial and confinement applicators were surveyed about the usage of hydrogen sulfide safety equipment. At this time, five percent of commercial applicators and two percent of confinement applicators were using hydrogen sulfide monitoring equipment. Monitoring equipment, which ranges in price from $99-$800, will alert you when the gas has reached dangerous levels. Making you aware of your surrounding and the need, if necessary, to remove yourself from the potential danger.   
Good management practices to follow when agitating and pumping manure include:

  • Verify all fans are working and air inlets are open
  • Place a tarp over pump-out to protect the applicator
  • Communicate with farmer and crew
  • Listen for pig distress
  • Be aware and alert as dangerous conditions can develop quickly

Cover Crops
The number of cover crops acres in Iowa continues to increase. In addition to reducing nutrient loss, cover crops can improve soil health and quality, reduce soil erosion, and increase soil organic matter. When determining how cover crops fit into your operation start by asking yourself what you would like to achieve by using a cover crop. Once you’ve determined what your goals are, there are many resources available to guide you. Check out the resources below to learn more about cover crops:


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

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center will be hosting a webinar on October 21st at 1:30 pm on Manure and Soil Health. More information about the webinar is available here.


Dan Andersen
(515) 294-4210
Twitter: @DrManure

Rachel Klein
(515) 294-6685
Twitter: @iowamanure

Melissa McEnany
(515) 294-9075

Iowa Manure Management Action Group

Copyright © 2016, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.


Current News Archives