IMMAG Updates

March 2017

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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Spring Feedlot Runoff Management Considerations

Use gutters to prevent clean water from entering your open lot. Photo credit: Rachel Kennedy, Ag & Natural Resources, ISUEO (click to enlarge)Spring officially arrived this week and with it comes spring rains and the potential for runoff, which can cause challenging conditions for manure management. Take some time this month to complete a self-assessment of your farmstead to ensure that manure nutrients are not reaching the waters of the state.
Perform a visual inspection of your farm, paying close attention to the cow yard, feedlot, manure storage structures, manure stockpiles, and feed storage areas. Make sure everything is in working order and identify potential problem areas which could impact water quality. To assist with your self-assessment, tools are available to help you understand what to look for while surveying your farm. What to Expect When DNR Inspects is a great place to start. This publication outlines what the Iowa DNR is looking for when reviewing a facility. Another resource is Assessing Your Open Feedlot Manure Management, which identifies potential environmental risks and offers solutions to prevent your livestock operation from negatively impacting the environment.
Best management practices should be employed to reduce nutrient movement. These practices include:

  • Utilize clean water diversion and gutters for roofs to prevent clean water from coming in contact with areas where it could become contaminated.
  • Scrape open lots frequently to reduce what rain can move.
  • Select flat areas away from water pools or channels to locate stockpiles and compost piles to prevent runoff.
  • Keep feedstuffs dry.
  • Promptly clean-up spilled manure, feed, silage, and bedding.

To see what Iowa beef farms are doing to help protect water quality, check out our featured video by Shawn Shouse.

Design Basins for Feedlot Runoff Control

Runoff containment basins are one technique to keep runoff out of streams and rivers. (click to enlarge)When it comes to controlling feedlot runoff we all recognize it is important to keep the enriched manure from reaching streams, rivers, and lakes, but all systems have limits. Build it too big and it gets cost restrictive to construct, build it too small and water quality is at risk. So how do we go about deciding how big is big enough? Check out this month’s Manure Scoop to find out manure.

Manure Nutrient Availability

Download the recently revised Using Manure Nutrients for Crop Production publication for current manure nutrient availability ranges. The range for first year nitrogen availability in beef and dairy cattle was widened from 40-50 percent to a range of 30-50 percent, and first year phosphorus availability was changed from 60-80 percent to 80-100 percent. First year phosphorus availability generally is not a deciding constraint for manure application rates; however, if you are applying based on nitrogen needs, application rates may change.

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

Rachel Kennedy
(515) 294-6685

Melissa McEnany
(515) 294-9075


Iowa Manure Management Action Group
Twitter: @iowamanure

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