IMMAG - Iowa Manure Management Action Group

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June 2010 (2) 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.


CURRENT NEWS: The Current News page on the IMMAG site is updated weekly. Please check this site often for the latest news regarding animal feeding operations and manure management issues.

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Additional Update on EPA and DNR activities in regards to Large CAFOs, Medium-Sized CAFOs and other issues regarding NPDES permits.

In the last IMMAG update sent out in early June, issues and resources related to recent EPA and DNR actions with medium-sized CAFOs were highlighted. Since that update was released additional information has been made available. It is anticipated the EPA will release an updated version of their Producer’s Guide late this summer. Producers are highly encouraged to study the resources below, determine how the issues may affect their farms, and take appropriate steps to manage manure and reduce runoff impacts on water quality. Here is a list of resources highlighting the issues:

Keep an eye on outdoor manure storage structures. Recent heavy rains in some locations in Iowa have prompted concerns about manure levels in outdoor storage structures. Please see the following sources of information from Dr. Robert Burns regarding manure storage management in wet weather:

Speaking of Dr. Robert Burns, I would like to congratulate him on his new position as Assistant Dean of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Resource Development at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Burns will begin his new position on July 1. We appreciate all of the support he has provided to IMMAG, the Manure Applicator Certification Program and leadership for agricultural waste management research and Extension programs at Iowa State University. I would also like to thank and recognize Lara Moody, who is also leaving ISU. The departure of these two folks will be a huge loss to manure management research at Iowa State University. We wish them all the best!



A new feature to the IMMAG email update will be periodic research updates highlighting new research related to manure management, water quality and air quality issues. This first highlight comes from a tri-state project addressing air quality in mono-slope beef barns.

Tri-State Team to Look at Air Quality in Beef Barns

A Tri-State team of researchers and university specialists will soon engage in a three-year study looking at gases emitted from mono-slope beef barns and how building management impacts the emissions. The team is composed of researchers from the USDA’s Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) at Clay Center, NE; agricultural engineering specialists from South Dakota State University (SDSU) at Brookings, SD; and extension program specialists from Iowa State University (ISU) at Ames, IA.

beef mono slope barn - CLICK TO ENLARGE

One purpose of the study is to gather baseline data for the levels of gas emissions from mono-slope beef barns for housing beef. The study will involve a total of four mono-slope beef barns in South Dakota and Iowa. "Currently, beef producers report estimated air emissions from their concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) based on data from open beef feedlots in the summer. These values may be too high for mono-slope beef barns. Data from this study will be useful in providing more accurate values for air emissions," states Mindy Spiehs, Animal Scientist with USMARC.

The study will also evaluate two different manure-handling systems to determine which system emits lower levels of gases in the air. One barn system contains a manure pack which remains in the barn until the cattle are removed. The other barn system involves the weekly removal and storage of manure from around the bedded pack until it can be field applied. "The study will provide information about which system is better for reducing gas emissions," remarks Dick Nicolai, SDSU Agricultural Engineer Specialist and principal investigator for the study.

"A third, but important goal is to help beef producers learn how they can reduce the emissions from their mono-slope beef barns," said Beth Doran, ISU Extension Beef Program Specialist. "Producers are trying different things to increase animal comfort, some of which may impact air quality," adds Kris Kohl, ISU Extension Agricultural Engineer Program Specialist. The study will monitor the effects of season, diets, and water consumption.  

Funding for this much-needed research comes from a grant sponsored by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and is one of 11 projects across the U.S. that addresses air quality issues. The projects will provide research-based information to develop effective mitigation strategies and best management practices to enhance air quality.

Inquiries about the tri-state air quality project may be directed to the following contacts: Dick Nicolai at 605-688-5664 or; Mindy Spiehs at 402-762-4271 or Mindy.Spiehs@ARS.USDA.GOV; Beth Doran at 712-737-4230 or



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

July 9. The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center will host the Webcast "Planning for Manure Spills." The Webcast starts at 1:30 p.m. (central).  Additional information can be found at:

July 15. 2010 Manure Expo "Balancing Production and Conservation" will be held at State College, PA. For more information please click here.

July 23. Manure Management Field Day for Small and Medium Sized Dairies and Feedlots. This field day will held near Boyden, Iowa. The purpose of this field day is provide information and technical assistance to small and medium-sized dairies and open feedlots in regards to manure management issues. For more information and directions to the farm please click here.




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.