IMMAG - Iowa Manure Management Action Group

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(515) 294-9590 or e-mail

August 2011 IMMAG Update

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 The Current News page on the IMMAG site is updated weekly. Follow the Iowa Manure Management Action Group on Twitter at @iowamanure.

Occasionally we find it necessary to send out more than one newsletter per month and this month just happens to be one of those occasions. In the August newsletter sent out last week we provided information and resources for applicators to use when making preparations for fall application of manure. In this newsletter we want to provide some resources and reminders about the issue of foaming manure pits as well as a few other items.

This week we received several emails and phone calls about finding information on the IMMAG web page. What we discovered is some people are still visiting the old IMMAG site. We changed the web site and the url nearly four years ago. If you have not had a chance to update your bookmarks please bookmark this site: In the meantime, we will make the old site disappear. Thanks.

The issue of foaming in deep-pit swine barns continues across Iowa and in other Midwestern states. We hear more reports of foaming pits this time of year, likely due to the fact the storage structures are getting full and the foaming is more noticeable as it gets closer to the slats or starts coming through the slats. The foam can act as a barrier to the natural release of methane that is generated in the pits. When the foam is broken due to pig activity, power-washing, pumping and agitation or other reasons, this can cause a rapid release of the methane and can potentially cause an explosive situation. Over the course of the past two years there have been several explosions and fires in these situations. In addition to the concern with rapid release of methane, is the fact the foam can cause interference with normal ventilation procedures. At this point in time, an exact cause for the foaming is not known, nor are there well-known practices or products to reduce or eliminate the foam. We continue to urge caution when pumping and agitating from all manure sources, but in particular when pumping and agitating in foaming pits.

Iowa State University released a safety video last September about practices that should be considered when pumping from foaming pits. This video has recently been updated and is located at: Upon conclusion of watching this video we ask that you please take a few minutes to complete the survey if you are experiencing foaming pits.

Research on this issue continues and we will most certainly pass along any information as it becomes available. Additional information about foaming pits can be found on the IMMAG video page including a 32 minute video from David Schmidt at the University of Minnesota, who reviews possible causes, on-going research, and management to reduce risks.

Additional information can be found on a University of Minnesota web page at:

And please remember: Absolutely no one should enter a building when agitation and pumping are taking place. Barn owners should communicate with all family members and employees as well as with the commercial manure applicators. Commercial applicators should communicate with all employees and the barn owner.


The DNR recently released three new fact sheets on regulations for stockpiling manure in Iowa. You can find these fact sheets on the AFO Resources page under AFO Fact Sheets on the DNR web site, or directly at the links listed below.

Dry-Bedded Manure Stockpiling Regulations- For Cattle and Swine Confinements

Confinement Dry Manure Stockpiling Regulations

Open Feedlot Manure Stockpiling Regulations


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

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is hosting a runoff control and manure management demonstration on Friday August 26, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the ISU Armstrong Research Farm near Lewis. This demonstration is geared for small to medium sized feedlots who are potentially discharging manure to surface waters. This demonstration will look at options for effluent control. In addition, manure production and nutrient values will be discussed as stockpiling and feedlot regulatory requirements. For more information about this demonstration please click here.

ISU Extension and Outreach, in cooperation with the DNR, is hosting a reshow of commercial manure applicator certification training program on August 31 at selected county extension offices. This event will provide an opportunity for commercial applicators to attend the required 3 hours of training to meet certification requirements prior to the busy fall land-application season. A list of the counties offering this training can be found at this link.

South Dakota State University is hosting an mono-slope beef barn open house looking at air quality and cattle performance on August 30 near Goodwin, SD. This open house is part of on-going tri-state project with SDSU, Iowa State University and the USDA Meat Animal Research Center at Clay Center, NE. More details can be found at:

Don’t forget to visit the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers Web page for a list of events and tours scheduled for this summer including the upcoming "Farming for the Future" conference.

Best Wishes,

Angela Rieck-Hinz
2104 Agronomy Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
(515) 294-9590
Iowa Manure Management Action Group

Manure sampling - Click on photo to enlarge

Manure sampling.


Newest IMMAG update available.

The crowd at the 2009 Manure Expo watches a demonstration of “injecting” solid feedlot manure.  Click to enlarge

Plan to attend one of the many educational sessions at the 2011 Manure Expo.  CLICK TO ENLARGE