If manure increases formation of larger (macro) and more stable soil aggregates, several benefits may result for fields fertilized by manure compared to commercial fertilizer including:
1) Reduced runoff and soil erosion;
2) Increased water infiltration into the soil possibly leading to greater drought tolerance; and
3) Partial offsetting of higher soil P levels resulting from manure application and limiting P loss to local surface water.
There are situations where applying a heavy dose of manure before planting alfalfa may not be a good idea. When applying a heavy dose of manure, site selection is critical. These heavy doses contain a lot of nitrogen and phosphate along with many other nutrients. That’s fine, even good, for the alfalfa but it can create an environmental risk.
While permitted animal feeding operations are required to maintain manure nutrient management records, all operations with confined livestock can benefit from keeping basic records related to manure management.
This article is the third of a three-part summary of information shared at the Large Dairy Herd Management Conference held in Chicago in May 2-5, 2016. Part 1 introduced the concept of Whole Farm Nutrient Balance (WFNB). Part 2 shared summarized WFNB observed by three studies on dairies in New York, Idaho and Utah, and Idaho alone. This final discussion will share information on estimating WFNB and options for improving a surplus of nutrients on dairies.
Take home message from first two article:
• A dairy farm’s environmental risk (due to nutrients) is measured by the imbalance between imported nitrogen and phosphorus (e.g. purchased feed) with nutrients exported off-farm in managed products (e.g. milk).
• Imbalances (especially N and P surpluses) are common on dairies.
• Imported feed is the largest source of imported nutrients, suggesting efforts to reduce imported feed nutrients may have important environmental benefits.
• Because fertilizer is a minor imported nutrient on farms with exception of those with sizeable land base, traditional nutrient plans to use manure more efficiently to replace may have modest to no benefit for some dairies.
This article is the second of a three-part summary of information shared at the Large Dairy Herd Management Conference held in Chicago in May 2-5, 2016. Part 1 introduced the concept of Whole Farm Nutrient Balance (WFNB). This article summarizes WFNB observed by three studies on dairies in New York, Idaho and Utah, and Idaho alone. The medium size NY dairies (see Figures 1, 2, and 3) have some similarities to many of our traditional Nebraska dairies. The two studies of Idaho and Utah dairies bear some similarities with some of Nebraska’s larger dairies.
Modern dairy farms are an increasing complex assembly of sub-systems for milk production, replacement herd development, and crop/feed production. The challenge of managing nutrients is complex both for those with integrated crop and dairy production as well as those focusing primarily on milk production alone. Quirine Kettering, faculty member at Cornell University’s Animal Science Department, and I conducted a review of nutrient balances observed by four studies on New York, Utah, and Idaho dairies to determine the ability of traditional nutrient management strategies, such as field based nutrient management plans, to effectively manage nutrients on dairy farms. This article is the first of a three-part summary of information shared at the Large Dairy Herd Management Conference held in Chicago in May 2-5, 2016. This first article will focus on the concept of “Whole Farm Nutrient Balance”.
Mortalities are an unfortunate reality for livestock operations. Whether they’re caused by disease or natural disaster, losses of livestock occur for both confined and pastured animals and these mortalities must be managed responsibly to protect both the environment and the health of other animals.
The Food and Agriculture Organizations of the United Nations (FOA) estimates that providing a 5 year old with a glass of milk each day also provides this child with 21% of the daily protein and 8% of the daily calories needed by the child. Furthermore, milk provides key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, selenium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and vitamin B5.