IMMAG Updates

February 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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Each year counties are required to decide if they will use the Master Matrix to evaluate construction permits for animal feeding operations submitted to DNR. DNR reports that for 2015, 88 counties passed resolutions for implementation of the Master Matrix. You can read more about this and how to find out more information about the Matrix in this press release.

Manure Agitation - What is a manure agitation boat?
Dr. Dan Andersen, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

A well-designed manure storage facility must also be well managed to prevent environmental concerns from developing. This includes things like making sure that structural components remain in good repair, keeping the landscaping around the facility mowed, clean, and cutting down trees and brush growing next to the storage so that the storage can be easily inspected for concerns or connection failures. Although these things are important, the most important requirement is still making sure to get it emptied so that enough capacity is available to make it to the next land application window.

Achieving good agitation is an important part of this. Failure to properly agitate the manure will result in a continuous buildup of settled solids within the storage, resulting in less and less available storage as time goes by. Good agitation of the manure will re-suspend those settled solids and facilitate their removal from the storage ensuring we maintain that capacity we need. Additionally, agitation of the manure helps homogenize it and provide a more consistent nutrient content as it is applied. Below I’ve provided a conceptualization of what we typically think of as our solids profile in manure storage, what we think happens is we get an accumulation of course solids where the manure enters the storage and a sludge, of partially degraded organic matter,  over the whole storage. The way this develops can be impacted by the amount of water added to the manure, the type of bedding material used, and the agitation history of the storage.

manure storage

Many types of agitators are available for agitating slurry systems, including hydraulically or mechanically driven propellers or choppers, bypass devices on manure loading pumps, and one of the newest, manure agitation boats. Your choice of manure agitation equipment should be based on the level of agitation needed, the design and configuration of the slurry manure storage facility (where you can place agitators and how many), and the volume of manure to be agitated.

So, what is a manure agitation boat? It is basically a remote controlled floating pump system with a series of nozzles. This lets the user direct it throughout the manure storage, direct the flow of manure, and steer it around to better mix the manure.

As these systems are relatively new we decided to have a chat with Jamie Tews, with JT Boats, LLC  about an  agitation boat he developed to get his perspective with using agitation boats and some of the benefits of using this technology. To take a listen to this interview click the link below.

Whats and Why's of Manure Agitation Boats

Many other companies are also offering manure agitation boats including, but not limited to, Puck Custom Enterprises, Nuhn Industries, Sundstrom Bros. Custom Fabrication, Ernie Sundstrom, Phil’s Pumping and Fabrication, as well as a few others. There are some differences in how the manure boats are launched into the manure storage, retrieved from the storage, the control system used to operate the boat, as well as the pump and motors the boat designers have chosen to use. These differences can make some boats perform better in different situations, so consider what your needs are for either your manure storages or those of your clientele as you consider your options.

Neither endorsement of companies, individuals, or their services is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar companies, individuals or their services not mentioned. We encourage you to explore different options as to the availability and use of manure agitation boats.


Commercial manure applicators are reminded if they were certified in 2014, they have until March 1, 2015 to submit forms and fees to the Iowa DNR without the addition of the late fee. Because March 1 is on a Sunday, we highly suggest you contact your county Extension office and determine when the next showing of commercial applicator training will take place or schedule an appointment to watch the training video prior to Feb. 27. If you prefer not watch the video to meet your certification requirements you can make an appointment at your local DNR field office to take the certification exam. Previously certified applicators must meet training requirements prior to handling, hauling or land-applying manure this spring.

Time is also running short for confinement site applicators to attend a certification workshop to meet certification requirements. The list of 2015 confinement site manure applicator training workshops can be found at this link. As a confinement site applicator, if your license expired on December 31, 2014, you have until March 1 to attend training and submit the forms and fees to DNR to renew your confinement site certification without the addition of the late fee. See comments above about the March 1 deadline and contacting your county Extension office for training.

Each year ISU Extension and Outreach offers certification workshops for both commercial manure applicators and confinement site applicators that handle, haul, and land-apply dry or solid manure sources. These workshops are 3 hours long to meet the training requirements for both commercial and confinement applicators. For more information see this press release.


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

The monthly LPE webinars are taking a brief hiatus as they gear up for the Waste to Worth Conference in Seattle, WA on March 30 to April 3. Registration for the 2015 Waste to Worth Conference is now open and can be found at

North American Manure Expo will be held in Chambersburg, PA on July 14-15, 2015. Look for this event and additional details on their Facebook page.


Angie Rieck-Hinz
(515) 231-2830
Twitter: @iowamanure

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

Iowa Manure Management Action Group

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