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MANURE

See what farms are using for nutrient management, from anaerobic digesters and storage to field application and emissions.

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Dairy farmers may not have to dig too deep, learn to maintain new equipment or radically change production practices in order to reduce nitrogen runoff from agricultural fields. Good manure management, along with help from a few friendly microbes, may be the next big thing in cleaning up our waterways.

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It’s a most natural cycle. Forages are fed to livestock that produce manure, and manure is returned to the soil to provide the nutrients to produce the next crop. After all, it’s what has happened on pastures and rangelands for millennia.

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Recent deaths of farmers and cattle have raised awareness of the all-too-common dangers of working around manure storage facilities. People “being overcome” or feeling dizzy around manure storage areas happens too often.

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Nitrate is a water-soluble form of nitrogen required for plant growth. It can become a health problem if present in high levels in groundwater.

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In the past 30 years, manure storage has changed, particularly when it comes to size. As storage facilities grow, thorough agitation becomes a challenge.

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When designing a new building or retrofitting an existing facility, there are boundless questions that have to be thought through and answered.

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