IMMAG Updates

September 2014

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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Foaming Swine Manure

As you have probably heard, foaming manure pits can be a danger to both animals and workers. Though we have seen less foam this year than in the recent past, the frequency of foaming swine manure has begun to increase over the past month. The foam traps large amounts of explosive gas (methane), creating high potential of fires and explosions, especially if the foam is destroyed such as during agitation and pumping or during power-washing. With fuller manure pits and warm fall temperatures, the foam condition of manure can change quickly, so be vigilant in checking your pit for foam accumulation.

Develop an emergency action plan on how to respond to foam and review it with employees. The emergency action plan should include a list of clean-up and containment practices should foam overflow start to occur, recommendations on how you or your employees should respond to increased foam levels, and an emergency response plan should fire or explosion occur.

Although there are no proven ways to prevent manure foaming, research has indicated that at times of foaming the microbial community will change, leading to enhanced methane production from the manure and development of a foam layer that has increased levels of microbial produced carbohydrates and numerous fine particles that thicken and stabilize the bubble structure. Though no treatment is guaranteed to prevent foaming, research has suggested that treatment with microbial enhancements (addition of seed microbes) and microbial control (pH adjustment) have tended to encourage microbial communities more similar to non-foaming manures. Submitted by Dr. Daniel Andersen, ABE

Additional safety reminders can be found in this press release dated September 2012:
Caution Urged When Pumping Manure From Deep Pits

PEDV and Manure Hauling

Before manure hauling season starts in full force, take a few moments to review these materials on PEDV on the National Pork Board web page and train your manure haulers on how to implement best biosecurity practices. Materials are available at PEDV Resources.


Attention confinement site manure applicators! We need your help in completing a short survey regarding the manure applicator certification training workshops you attended in January and February 2014. If you attended a live workshop at your County Extension Office, please take 5-8 minutes to complete this survey. If you have already completed the survey we thank you for your time.  The survey will close on September 30, 2014. Click on this link to complete the survey:


We recently posted a new video from the Hewitt Creek Watershed Project on Solid Manure Spreader Calibration. Determining how much manure is being applied is the first step to efficiently utilizing a valuable on-farm resource. Calculating valuable nutrient credits from solid or semi-solid manure applications will help you to determine how much additional, if any, commercial fertilizer is needed to produce the crop. Check out the video page on the IMMAG site or go directly to:

Fall application season is rapidly approaching.  Be sure your annual training requirements are up to date prior to applying manure. You can contact your County Extension Office to determine dates available for training, or you can call you local DNR Field Office to schedule an appointment to take the certification exam.


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

MN/ISU Extension Nutrient and Sand-Laden Manure Management Field Day
September 25, 2014
Near Caledonia Minnesota

The ISU Dairy Team is hosting a series of manure handling and nutrient management field days throughout October as part of a Risk Management Grant looking to help farmers manage both profitability and environmental risk. This is a great opportunity to see a wide-variety of dairy manure handling systems on a variety of farms. The list of field days can be found on the IMMAG web page or at this link.


Angela Rieck-Hinz
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Iowa Manure Management Action Group

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