IMMAG Updates

November 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.

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



This past week there was a lot of discussion on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). On December 18, 2008, the EPA published a final rule that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in both CERCLA and EPCRA. This was challenged in court and on April 11, 2017, the court struck down the final rule; however, at this time, no reporting is required until the DC Court of Appeals issue its mandate enforcing the April 11, 2017, ruling. Should this change, we will provide guidance about the need to report.
EPA is maintaining a web page that is updated with the latest information on current requirements and provides information on what the reporting requirements are and their current legal status.

Hydrogen Sulfide Safety

Figure 1: Hydrogen sulfide gas can be quickly released during agitation.

Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) issues have increased over the last few years, presumably due to higher sulfide concentrations in the manure due to improved water conservation measures as well as changes in animal rations. Hydrogen sulfide is often released quickly when the manure is disturbed, such as during agitation or pumping, but activities like pressure washing a barn can also result in rapid release. Hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, so it generally hovers and lingers near the manure surface but under certain conditions, it can be lifted into the animal environment. Taking proper precautions and learning to identify potentially hazardous situations is key to keeping people and animals safe.

Speaking of H2S monitoring and safety, a recent article from Renee Anthony of the University of Iowa evaluated the use of low-cost hydrogen sulfide monitors in livestock production systems. They found that when exposed to constant H2S environments for 16-weeks, the performance of alarm-only monitors declined more rapidly than those displaying concentrations. They suggested routine bump tests, that expose the monitors to a high level of known concentration, and check how the monitor responds is necessary to ensure accurate performance, especially if the monitor is worn for activities like pressure washing.

The Prairie Swine Center of Saskatoon is offering a free online Hydrogen Sulfide Awareness Training Workshop focused on information for livestock operations or those involved with liquid manure handling. The four-hour workshop instruction will include information on H2S properties, demonstrations of monitoring and safety equipment, guidance on identifying potentially hazardous locations, as well as rescue strategies.

The Manure Scoop: Manure and Soil Health - Impacts on Hydraulic Properties

Soil health is a hot topic and this month’s Manure Scoop takes a quick look at manure’s impact on soil health and specifically the research available on manure impacts on soil hydraulic properties.

Figure 2: Discover how manure application may improve soil tilth in the November Manure Scoop.

Talkin’ Turkey

The turkey industry plays an important role in Iowa agriculture, with a total economic impact of over 10 billion dollars.  As Thanksgiving approaches, here are a few quick facts about turkey production.

  • In 2016, Iowa farmers raised 11.7 million birds, which made the state 7th in turkey production.
  • There isn’t enough tryptophan in turkey to make you sleepy. In fact, pork and cheddar cheese contain more tryptophan gram for gram.
  • In the U.S. the average person consumed 16.7 pounds of turkey in 2016.
  • Every year about 300,000 tons of turkey litter are generated that contains almost $10 million dollars of fertilizer value.
  • The U.S. is projected to export 611 million pounds of turkey by the end of 2017.

Learn about Designing Drainage Water Quality Practices

An all-day workshop, scheduled for December 14, will focus on the design and layout of new practices currently being considered for water quality improvements of farmland drainage. This workshop will be held from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and is a collaborative effort amongst Iowa Soybean Association, United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service, and Iowa State University Extension & Outreach.

The program will focus on designing and/or planning woodchip bioreactors, drainage water management with controls structures, saturated buffers, and wetlands. Registration is $150 and includes morning refreshments, lunch, and workshop materials. Registration cost increases to $175 if done after Dec. 8. Please register by completing and mailing the online brochure or by contacting the ISU Extension and Outreach Webster County office at 515-576-2119 or Questions regarding the workshop can be directed to Kapil Arora, Agricultural Engineering Field Specialist at 515-291-0174 or


December 14, 2018 - Drainage Water Quality Practices Design Workshop, Fort Dodge      
December 15, 2017, 1:30 pm - Next Generation Strategies for Managing Edge of Field Nutrient Losses Webinar   
January 4, 2018, 9:00 am – Commercial Manure Applicator Certification, 71 locations statewide
January 2018 - Crop Advantage Series, 14 locations statewide
January 24-25, 2018 – Iowa Pork Congress, Des Moines
January 25-26, 2018 - Driftless Beef Conference, Dubuque


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

Rachel Kennedy
(515) 294-6685

Melissa McEnany
(515) 294-9075


Iowa Manure Management Action Group
Twitter: @iowamanure

Copyright © 2017, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.


Current News Archives