Journal of Nutrient Management - Q4 - 2023

Page 1

November | 2023

Published by W.D. Hoard & Sons Co.

Journal of

Nutrient Management

losses change 10 Nutrient with the seasons guides 22 Efficiency equipment trends

24 People of the upper crust

F1 1 Nov 2023 Cover.indd 1

10/20/23 8:02 AM


FREE GREEN BEDDING TURNING LIQUID GOLD INTO ENRICHED BEDDING FAN PRESS SCREW SEPARATORS - Saves Money * Easy to Maintain * Low Energy Consumption. High – Quality Bedding Made From Manure

SEPARATOR PSS For solid-liquid separation

MAGNUM CSPH Submersible motor pump gear

MSXH Submersible motor mixer

FAN produces bedding material with a dry matter content of a least 38% in solids

CALL Midwest, Northeast US and Eastern Canada Southeast: THE Western US & Western Canada Sales Director: FAN Parts/Operations: BOYS.

Jim Dewitt Trey Poteat Jeff Moeggenberg Ray Francis Rob Hultgren

1-630-750-3482 1-219-561-3837 1-630-334-1913 1-219-229-2066 1-800-922-8375

BAUER North America Inc. 107 Eastwood Road, Michigan City, IN 46360, 1-800-922-8375 Untitled-4 1

10/17/23 1:18 PM


Volume 4 | No. 4

Journal of

Nutrient Management Managing Editor Abby Bauer Art Director Todd Garrett Editorial Coordinator Jennifer Yurs Director of Marketing John Mansavage Advertising Sales Beth Gierke

10 Nutrient losses change with the seasons 4| The name game 6

8| The goal is “green milk”

Publisher W.D. Hoard & Sons Co. Brian V. Knox, President

methods affect 14| Grazing runoff water quality

ManureDB: A new 18| Introducing way to view manure variability

guides equipment 22| Efficiency trends

24| People of the upper crust


DEPARTMENTS First Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Policy Watch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 In the Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Manure Minute . . . . . . . . . . . 13, 17, 21 On the Move . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Places to Be . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Nutrient Insights . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

ON THE COVER This liquid manure applicator was part of the field demonstrations that took place during the North American Manure Expo, which was held in August near Arlington, Wis. More than 900 people from 21 states and six countries attended the event. Tours and educational sessions were also offered. Photo by Abby Bauer, Managing Editor.

F2 3 Nov 2023 TOC.indd 1

Online Media Manager Patti Hurtgen Digital Marketing Manager Sam Rasmussen

a new manure program on | Is the horizon?

Find us online at:

Advertising Coordinator Patti Kressin

Editorial Office PO Box 801 28 Milwaukee Ave. West Fort Atkinson, WI 53538 Website: Email: Phone: 920-563-5551

Journal of Nutrient Management (ISSN# 26902516) is published four times annually in February, May, August, and November by W.D. Hoard & Sons Company, 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538 Tel: (920) 563-5551. Email: info@ Website: Postmaster: Send address corrections to: Journal of Nutrient Management, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538-0801. Tel: (920) 563-5551. Email: info@jofnm. com. Subscription Rates: Free and controlled circulation to qualified subscribers. For Subscriber Services contact: Journal of Nutrient Management, PO Box 801, Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin 53538, call (920) 563-5551, Email: Copyright © 2023 W.D. Hoard & Sons Company. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Content may not be reproduced or used for any commercial activity without express written consent from W. D. Hoard & Sons Company.

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 3

10/20/23 8:04 AM



M Abby Bauer Managing Editor

ost people put a lot of thought into choosing a name, whether it is for a child, a business, or even a pet. A name is a long-term commitment, one that is not easily changed. We want to be sure we get it right. The same goes for the title of a book or the title of a job. We can make the ordinary sound extraordinary — or the extraordinary sound ordinary — depending on the words we choose. Names and titles are more than just what someone or something is called. They can create a first impression. They may set certain expectations. Late this summer, I spent two days at the North American Manure Expo. This outdoor trade show includes educational presentations and equipment demonstrations. It really is a gathering place for people who study manure, move manure, and produce manure by owning livestock. There are not many other places where you will find a group of individuals sitting on the grassy banks of a manure lagoon on a hot summer day, watching agitation boats do their thing. At the event, I saw many creative logos and business names for farms and custom application businesses on the backs of shirts and the front of hats. One in particular caught my eye. It was for a manure hauling business, and underneath the company’s name was a short explanation of their work: custom organic nutrient recyclers. It’s easy to make jokes when our line of work involves animal waste and when slang terms for manure include several swear words. No matter what we call it, the job of storing and handling manure must get done, and a little humor is good for us all. Still, there is something to be said about carefully choosing the terms we use when talking about nutrient management. That company’s description — custom organic nutrient recyclers — shines a different light on manure application. It is just one example of how we refer to for-hire nutrient applicators, but descriptions like that are likely to resonate differently with people out-

side of agriculture, and whether we like it or not, their perception of us matters. The words we use might shape how people look at our business and how we conduct our business, too. When we assign more professional terms to our roles and the product we handle, we are more likely to get a professional response from our employees and even ourselves. It is often human nature to rise to the occasion. A famous line spoken by Juliet in William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” suggesting that a name is not as important as what’s inside. Manure is what it is, no matter what we call it, but when we use terms that portray it in a more positive light, we give this nutrient source a more professional image. If we carefully choose our words, we can help get manure —and the people who work with it — the respect they deserve. Until next time, Abby

Let us know your thoughts. Write Managing Editor Abby Bauer, 28 Milwaukee Ave. West, P.O. Box 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538; call: 920-563-5551; or email: 4 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 4 Nov 2023 First Thoughts.indd 2

10/19/23 12:36 PM





Farms in Oregon face new regulations after the passing of Senate Bill 85. The law requires anyone applying for a new concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) permit to submit a water use plan to the Oregon Department of Water Resources, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Environmental Quality. Operations using more than 17,000 gallons of groundwater per day will need to obtain water rights. Previously, farms had no limits on groundwater use due to a stock water exemption, but recent drought and years of environmental advocacy prompted the change. Existing CAFOs will be grandfathered in but will need to file water plans when renewing their permits. Those applying for new permits will also need to pass inspections by agricultural and environmental quality officials. In addition, anyone living within one-half mile of a new or expanding operation will be able to comment before permits are issued.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied two petitions from environmental and community groups asking for stricter regulation of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Instead, the agency established an Animal Agriculture and Water Quality subcommittee to listen to feedback from stakeholders, including dairy farmers, on ways to reduce pollutants efficiently and effectively. EPA will also conduct a thorough evaluation of its CAFO program to address other issues raised in the petitions.

A new law being finalized in the European Union would ban companies from “greenwashing,” a practice of making false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims about a product’s environmental benefits. Generic claims, such as “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” and “climate neutral,” could no longer be used without solid evidence. This rule would apply to all industries, including food and beverage, fashion, technology, and travel. Once formally passed, the law would go into effect in 2026, giving companies two years to adopt the changes.



IRELAND Dairy producers in Ireland have been operating under an exemption, called a derogation, that allows them to keep higher numbers of animals on their land than what the European Union’s Nitrates Directive currently dictates. Ireland’s derogation permits the use of up to 250 kilograms of organic nitrogen per hectare; the European Union limit is 170 kilograms. Unfortunately, water quality tests have not improved, and by January 1, 2024, the nitrate limit will drop to 220 kilograms per hectare, affecting approximately 3,000 Irish dairy farms. These producers will have to access more land to comply with the new limits.

F2 5 Nov 2023 Policy Watch.indd 1

+ Low Life-Cycle Costs + Turnkey from a Single Source: Separator Pump(s) Control Unit Stationary or Mobile Skids + Large Capacities + Patented Profile Auger with Counter Bearing for No Auger Screen Contact + Continuously Variable Dry Matter Content 844-647-7867 |

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 5

10/20/23 8:58 AM

Is a new manure program on the horizon? A proposed bill would offer cost sharing and technical assistance for certain manure management practices. by Rich Schell


his summer U.S. Representatives Jim Costa, Chellie Pingree, and David Valdao introduced Bill H.R.4327 — Converting Our Waste Sustainably (COWS) Act of 2023. It was referred to the Committee on Agriculture. A companion Senate bill was introduced by Senators Alex Padilla and Sherrod Brown. At its core, the bill directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the Alternative Manure Management Program. The bill would amend the Farm Bill Conservation Title and add provisions to the Edible Land and Wetland Conservation and Reserve Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program as well as provide for cost sharing and technical assistance. The hope for the program is that it will help cut greenhouse gas emissions (methane and carbon) and also improve air and water quality by providing producers access to money and expertise. As a result of these benefits, farming will also be more sustainable.

A goal of reduced emissions As noted, the bill establishes the Alternative Manure Management Program. The program is designed to benefit eligible producers who use covered manure management measures. A covered management measure means a dairy or livestock operation used a method to reduce baseline methane and, where it can be done, carbon emissions. Eligible

producers need to have dairy cattle or livestock, want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and have baseline manure management practices such as anaerobic decomposition or anaerobic digesters. Pasture-based management and solid separation systems are also included. To actually benefit from the program, an eligible user would have to submit a contract offer to the Secretary of Agriculture. Priority would be given to contracts that further the policy goals of the program, which include air quality, water quality, and public health concerns associated with dairy and livestock operations located near low-income or underserved communities. In addition, the secretary is charged with ensuring geographical diversity. The contracts would go up to three years. Payments would occur during the fiscal years 2024 through 2029. Payment to eligible producers could be used to implement one or more of the covered management measures. Cost sharing is also included for planning, design, materials, labor, and management and training up to but not over 90%. For those who have experience with grain programs, it will not come as a surprise that there is a limitation on payments to persons or legal entities of $825,000 during any five-year period. However, the program does allow for advance payment for material and technical assistance. It does specify the covered management measure requirements for pasture-based management,

6 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 6_7 Nov 2023 Manure Program.indd 1

composted bedding, slatted floors, solid separation systems, and adopting scrape technologies. There are some interesting requirements on the government side. The secretary is required to develop factors for estimating carbon sequestering and emission reductions for each covered management measure. Historically, one of the challenges of monetizing carbon is the need for agreed upon standards. As noted, the government is also supposed to provide financial and technical assistance and review existing conservation practices as needed. The secretary is also directed to use the funding facilities and authorization of the Commodity Credit Corporation to achieve all these things. Since nothing in life is really free, the bill provides proposed funding of $1.5 billion for the period of fiscal years 2024 through 2028. Although Everett McKinley Dirksen’s observation of U.S. government spending was, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money,” a billion dollars in the federal government’s budget is not that much, but it is a significant commitment. The secretary is also directed to reserve funds for beginning farmers or ranchers, limited resource farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and farmers and ranchers that are transitioning to enhanced sequestering of carbon dioxide methane or nitrous oxide. For those who want to learn more of the program, it was modeled on a

10/19/23 12:37 PM

ifornia Program also called the Alternative Manure Management Program run by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Details on the resources and initiatives that California funded can be found at https://www.

A focus on composting Composting plays an important part in this bill. The bill amends the Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Program by including a definition of composting practices. Basically, composting would be an activity that does not require the use of a composting facility to produce organic waste from the farm or waste that is brought to the farm. There is a requirement that the compost be used to improve water retention and soil health and that it meets all state and local laws. It also amends the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) as well as the Conservation Stewardship Program to include composting practices. And importantly, under the section on delivery of technical assistance, the secretary is directed to develop a composting practice standard. Specifically, the secretary must review whether the existing composting standard and soil carbon amendment standards will be adequate for alternative manure management. The secretary is further directed to develop and implement a new conservation practice standard for the on-farm production of compost. Of course, a lot can happen to a bill before it gets signed by the president and becomes a law. But, if this bill becomes law, it could offer several key benefits. There will be money to pay for transitions to manure handling that is drier, resulting in a significant drop in methane gas, and maybe carbon. It also offers technical assistance and the possibility of greater focus on sustainability that could offer significant benefits to producers and others by improving air and water quality and public health. 

The author is an attorney based in Des Plaines, Ill.

F2 6_7 Nov 2023 Manure Program.indd 2



What’s our favorite project to bring to life?

Your vision.

The future is in your hands. Whether you need a manure management solution, a connection or just a brain to pick – let’s shift manure from a challenge to a revenue stream.


November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 7

10/19/23 12:37 PM

The goal is


A recent study looked at the environmental impact of individual cows as a way to reduce emission intensity. by Alvaro Garcia


n today’s ever-changing agricultural landscape, the focus on sustainable practices has never been more crucial. Alongside productivity and profitability, environmental sustainability has become a key priority in livestock production. Among the various sectors, the dairy industry holds particular significance due to its potential impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) from dairy production contribute to climate change, emphasizing the need for effective mitigation strategies. One valuable approach to understanding and reducing these emissions is through life cycle assessments (LCAs), which provide valuable insights into various stages of production and identify areas for improvement.

Mitigation at the farm level A recent study conducted in South Dakota estimated the carbon footprint to produce 1 kilogram (kg) of fat and protein-corrected milk (FPCM) to be 1.23 kg CO2 equivalents. The major contributors were enteric methane (46%) and manure management (32.7%). Feed production and farm management made up 14.1% and 7.2%, respectively. These findings highlight the importance of examining the environmental impact of dairy production and identifying opportunities for emission reduction.

To assess the environmental impact of individual dairy cows, we can calculate their CO2 equivalent emissions based on the amount of FPCM they produce. Let’s consider two farms, A and B, and estimate their emissions per cow. Assuming cows at Farm A produce 80 pounds of milk per cow on average with 3.5% fat and 3.2% protein, while cows at Farm B produce 75 pounds of milk with 4.2% fat and 3.4% protein, we can determine their FPCM values. For Farm A: FPCM = (80 x (0.4 x 3.5 + 0.21 x 3.2)) = 80 x (1.4 + 0.672) = 80 x 2.072 = 165.76 pounds For Farm B: FPCM = (75 x (0.4 x 4.2 + 0.21 x 3.4)) = 75 x (1.68 + 0.714) = 75 x 2.394 = 179.55 pounds Now, let’s calculate the CO2 equiva-

8 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 8-9 Nov 2023 Green Milk.indd 1

lent emissions per cow for each farm. CO2 equivalent emissions per cow = FPCM per cow x emission rate For Farm A: CO2 equivalent emissions per cow = 165.76 pounds x (1.23 kg CO2 equivalents/2.2046 pounds) ≈ 91.84 kg CO2 equivalents For Farm B: CO2 equivalent emissions per cow = 179.55 pounds x (1.23 kg CO2 equivalents/2.2046 pounds) ≈ 99.93 kg CO2 equivalents Each cow on Farm A produces 80 pounds of milk with 3.5% fat and 3.2% protein, resulting in an FPCM value of approximately 165.76 pounds. Each cow on Farm B produces 75 pounds of milk with 4.2% fat and 3.4% protein, resulting in an FPCM value of approximately 179.55 pounds. Cows on Farm B exhibit a higher FPCM value and estimated CO2 emissions (approximately 99.93 kg CO2 equivalents) compared to cows on Farm A (approximately 91.84 kg CO2 equivalents). These findings suggest that cows on Farm B have a greater environmental impact due to their higher milk production and associated emissions. The intention here is not to suggest reducing milk production or compromising its nutritional value. Rather, these insights emphasize the importance of informed decisions that harmonize environmental concerns with nutritional needs. The dairy industry can drive progress by adopting resource-efficient

10/19/23 12:51 PM

practices, optimizing feed use, refining waste management, and leveraging technology to lower emissions without sacrificing milk production.

The importance of intensity To further assess environmental impact, it is essential to compare cows or farms based on the CO2 equivalents produced per kilogram of milk, also known as emission intensity. The emission intensity represents the conversion factor used to estimate the CO2 equivalent emissions associated with milk production by considering factors such as enteric methane, manure management, feed production, and farm management. The emission rate of 1.23 kg CO2 equivalents per 1 kg FPCM, mentioned in this article, provides a measure of the average emission intensity for the dairy industry in South Dakota. By applying the emission rate to the FPCM values of individual cows, we can estimate the CO2 equivalent emissions associated with their milk production, enabling a comparative assessment of the environmental impact between different cows or farms. Let’s compare Farms A and B in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions per pound of milk produced by dividing the emissions by the milk production: For Farm A: CO2 emissions per pound of milk = 91.84 kg CO2 equivalents/(80 pounds/2.2046 pounds per kg) ≈ 1.148 kg CO2 equivalents per pound of milk For Farm B: CO2 emissions per pound of milk = 99.93 kg CO2 equivalents/(75 pounds/2.2046 pounds per kg) ≈ 1.331 kg CO2 equivalents per pound of milk While Farm B does exhibit a higher emission intensity compared to Farm A, it’s essential to look at the bigger picture. Farm B’s higher milk production reflects optimized resource efficiency, potentially resulting in fewer emissions per unit of milk. This suggests Farm B is effectively utilizing resources to maximize milk output. This nuanced perspective underscores the multifaceted nature of emission analysis, emphasizing the importance of evaluating productivity, efficiency, and sustainability practices. Greenhouse gas emissions, and especially the carbon footprint, should be

F2 8-9 Nov 2023 Green Milk.indd 2

carefully considered in dairy production. Life cycle assessments (LCAs) offer valuable insights into the overall environmental impact, encompassing various stages from feed production to farm management. By incorporating LCAs and addressing environmental concerns, the dairy industry can strive

toward more sustainable practices and mitigate its ecological footprint.  The author is a retired professor of dairy science from South Dakota State University. He is now a consultant with Dellait Dairy Nutrition and Management.

Chris Weaver Bridgewater Dairy

Reimagine youR ResouRces High-performance separation Bridgewater Dairy saves nearly 20,000 gallons of water daily since installing four GEA SlopeScreen™ separators with OptiClean™ automatic cleaning systems. They estimate saving $130,000 on manure hauling this year alone. What’s more? The consistent, clean sand helps keep their cows healthy.

Hear how Chris saves money and labor

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 9

10/19/23 12:52 PM


NUTRIENT LOSSES CHANGE WITH THE SEASONS Weather conditions that lead to runoff should be taken into account when creating a nutrient management plan. by Amber Radatz and Chelsea Zegler


sion of Extension at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducts water quality monitoring on farms throughout Wisconsin. This research allows farmers to adapt management practices to avoid nutrient losses and maintain productivity and profitability. In southern Wisconsin, Discovery Farms monitored surface runoff from two sites on a corn and soybean farm for seven years. The farm practices strip-tillage and vertical tillage. Phosphorus and potassium were typically surface applied in the fall, with nitrogen applied in the spring. On-farm monitoring revealed that nutrients surface applied in the fall have nearly six months to interact with

roviding crop nutrient needs requires year-round planning. As the seasons change, it is worth revisiting your nutrient management plan and prioritizing which fields need applications of phosphorus and potassium for next year’s crop. Fall and winter nutrient applications can result in unintentional nutrient loss to local water resources. Field management decisions should take into account the conditions that are likely to initiate runoff and nutrient loss to avoid high loss events.

A seven-year study Discovery Farms, an on-farm water quality research program in the Divi-

runoff water before plants can use the nutrient during the following growing season (Figure 1). On this farm where fields are relatively flat and conservation practices are in place, dissolved phosphorus loss is a bigger concern than soil erosion and particulate phosphorus loss. In these two basins, 80% of the total phosphorus loss in the study period was in the dissolved form.

Watch out for winter In Wisconsin, late winter runoff accounts for a large portion of the annual runoff volume. Snowmelt and spring rains occur while the soil is saturated or has a reduced capacity to

Figure 1. Period of nutrient loss vulnerability between growing seasons April May






Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec.








Mar. April May








Aug. Sept Oct.





Vulnerable period Growing conditions in Wisconsin can leave a long period of nutrient loss vulnerability. Consideration of timing and placement of nutrients can lower phosphorus loss during this time period. Graphic provided by Rodrigo Werle, UW-Madison Division of Extension Cropping Systems Weed Scientist.

10 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 10_12 Nov 2023 In the Field.indd 1

10/19/23 12:55 PM







Nov Mar Jun Sep

Nov Feb May Aug

Nov Feb May Aug

Nov Feb May Aug

Nov Feb May Aug

Nov Feb May Aug

Figure 2. Phosphorus loss by month

RE1 TP (lbs./ac)


1.0 0.5 0.0

RE5 TP (lbs./ac)

Total phosphorus loss


1.5 1.0 0.5

Nov Feb May Aug


Total phosphorus loss from two sites on a farm in southern Wisconsin during monitoring years 2015 to 2021. Dissolved phosphorus loss during the winter dominated the water quality results from this farm.

absorb water. Over the seven-year monitoring period, each field had at least three years where over 95% of the phosphorus loss occurred between fall fertilization and spring planting (Figure 2). About 70 pounds per acre of phosphorus was surface applied to each field in November during monitoring years 2017, 2018, and 2019. Elevated phosphorus losses were observed in each of those years after surface broadcast, unincorporated, fall fertilizer applications. The majority of these losses occurred from subsequent runoff events when soils were frozen. In monitoring year 2020, the farm used a half rate of surface applied phosphorus in the fall, and much lower phosphorus loss was observed by water quality monitoring stations. In 2021, the farm switched to a spring application of phosphorus fertilizer that was incorporated through strip tillage, and very low phosphorus loss was observed during the frozen ground time period. Weather is an important factor to consider when connecting field practices to water quality measurements. Monitoring years 2020 and 2021 were years with drier conditions and less runoff overall. Contributing lower phosphorus loss entirely to a switch in practices would be inappropriate based on data from this farm alone. However, we can use the rest of the Discovery Farms database to look for trends in this case. In tillage and no-till systems of Wisconsin and Minnesota, when nutrients were applied in the fall and winter, monthly phosphorus losses in January, February, and March were elevated (Figure 3).

Measuring the losses Fields with conservation practices in place to control soil loss have a low erosion risk, so consider timing and placement to avoid dissolved phosphorus losses. Runoff on frozen

F2 10_12 Nov 2023 In the Field.indd 2

Pacific Pumping Lagoon Management and Cleaning

MARV 360-815-2171

• 3,000 gpm • GPS • AGI pump rentals • Digital flow • Meters • Dragline systems • Trucking • Tanking • Manure brokering

TANNER 360-510-1734


November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 11

10/19/23 1:05 PM

Figure 3. Monthly phosphorus losses under varying conditions No winter nutrients

Winter nutrients

No tillage Avg. TP (lbs./ac)

0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 1.0

Tillage Avg. TP (lbs./ac)

Total phosphorus loss


0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 Nov












A comparison of fields in the Discovery Farms database that received fall and winter nutrient applications to those that did not receive a phosphorus continued on following page >>> application during that time. Phosphorus loss during winter months is elevated on fields that received a surface phosphorus application in the fall or winter.

ground is difficult to control since frozen soil acts like a solid block, obstructing infiltration benefits of typical conservation practices like improved soil structure from cover crops and reduced tillage. Phosphorus applied in the fall should be placed below the surface to reduce the interaction with water moving across the surface. Phosphorus applications that cannot be placed below the surface should wait until spring to close the gap between application and the time that crops will need that nutrient. These strategies are the key to reducing overall phosphorus loss. The amount of phosphorus lost in this case is not a significant economic loss for the farmer, as losses are typically about 1 to 3 pounds per year per acre. However, these losses can significantly impact local water bodies. The rule of thumb is that 1 pound of phosphorus has the potential to grow 300 to 500 pounds of algae in a water body. By making this simple change,

and keeping even 1 pound per acre of phosphorus in the field or in the crop instead of in runoff, our local waters will benefit. As a manager, the best practice is to minimize the available nutrient sources on the soil surface while the soil is frozen because water movement and soil temperature are out of your control. To reduce phosphorus concentration in winter and early spring runoff, utilize spring fertility applications or place fertilizer below the soil surface.  The authors serve as the agriculture water quality program manager and the agriculture water quality outreach specialist, respectively, for the University of WisconsinMadison Division of Extension.

For more resources on similar topics, visit the Agriculture Water Quality Program at the UW-Madison Division of Extension (https:// or Discovery Farms ( websites.

12 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 10_12 Nov 2023 In the Field.indd 3

For the latest news and industry buzz, visit our website at

10/19/23 1:45 PM


Number of digesters

Anaerobic digester systems on farms in the United States 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 -50

Operational Newly operational Closed Under construction

00 01

02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10














Year The number of anaerobic digesters on farms has risen steadily since the year 2000, according to AgSTAR, a collaborative program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). As of January 2023, there were 343 manure-based anaerobic digestion systems on farms. A majority of the digesters (290) are located on dairies. The remaining systems collect manure from hog, beef, and poultry operations.

We build the best . . . service the rest! 920-238-5460

With our top-quality dewatering screw presses and other separators, our customers across America have been able to optimize their farms and save both time and money!

F3 13 Nov 2023 Manure Minute.indd 1

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 13

10/19/23 12:28 PM

Grazing methods affect runoff water quality This study investigated differences in nutrient losses between perennial forage systems. by Eric Young


ropping systems can have major impacts on economic and environmental farm outcomes. Decisions around crop rotations affect the whole farm and should consider multiple factors including animal forage inventory and quality needs, soil types, slope and erosion potential, runoff risk, and manure management. Excessive soil loss from continuous annual cropping and tillage on erodible land is well documented. Erosion on farms is largely managed by crop rotation selections and choice of tillage methods. While we know that seeding fields down from corn to hay reduces erosion and particulate phosphorus loss, less is known about nutrient loss and runoff water quality differences between perennial forage systems, including grazing and hay crop production systems.

Taking a closer look Edge-of-field studies link specific cropping systems or practices to runoff water quality measured in the field, providing invaluable data for calibrating and validating nutrient loss tools and guiding best practices. Paired watershed designs are often used to assess runoff water quality and consist of a calibration and treatment phase. Calibration happens first and is the period when all fields or “watersheds” are managed identically. The treatment phase then follows with planned man-

Pasture stocking method influences surface runoff water quality and nutrient loss.

agement interventions on a subset of fields and a control field that continues the same management. In 2007, four experimental watersheds were established at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station (MARS) in Stratford, Wis., by a joint effort between the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the University of Wisconsin MARS. A 16-acre field was selected and subdivided into four equally sized sub-watersheds. Runoff from each field is isolated by earthen berms with surface runoff

14 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F3 14-16 Nov 2023 Grazing methods.indd 1

flows directed to h-flumes where it is measured and sampled for water quality year-round. Runoff water quality and field practices have been monitored and documented since 2007. A study at MARS was initiated in 2018 to quantify nutrient loss and water quality differences between grazing systems and a hayfield. Continuous stocking and two rotational stocking methods (permanent paddock [PP] and adaptive multi-paddock stocking [AMP] for grazing systems were evaluated to the hay crop field (control). A calibration period was first

10/19/23 12:29 PM

formed (2013 to 2018) with typical management for a grass hayfield. Three harvests per year were taken and liquid dairy manure was applied once or twice after harvesting forage as dry hay or haylage. At the end of the calibration period, the three grazing management treatments were randomly assigned to fields in May 2018. Five dairy heifers were assigned to each pasture (approximately 715 pounds of body weight per acre). Continuous grazing gave heifers access to the whole pasture, whereas PP divided the pasture into three zones with heifers rotated every 10 to 15 days based on regrowth during the season. For AMP, heifers were fenced in smaller areas and moved every one to three days. Along with free-choice water, animals were supplemented with feed when pasture productivity was insufficient. Pastures were considered spent when half was consumed to a height of four inches. Body weight gains and pasture productivity were also recorded for the study. Here, we provide preliminary results on the water quality aspect of the project.

Differences between systems Cumulative runoff and associated loads (concentration times runoff volume) for total dissolved solids nitrogen and phosphorus were tabulated. Results show variable runoff amounts and solids loss (a proxy for sediment) among treatments (Figure 1). AMP generated lower cumulative runoff and sediment loss compared to continuous stocking for the treatment phase and had similar losses to the control field. Total dissolved solids is a measure of all dissolved (<2 µm) mineral and ionic species and is a general indicator of water quality. Suspended solids are larger (>2 µm) particles removed during filtration, and concentrations are much greater in general for annually tilled systems compared to hay and pastures. While loss patterns are suggestive, the formal paired watershed analysis relies on individual regression relationships between the control field and each grazing treatment field during the calibration and treatment phases for each water

F3 14-16 Nov 2023 Grazing methods.indd 2

ity parameter of interest. As an example, plotting surface runoff amounts for the control field and continuous stocking (Figure 2) shows the regression line slope more than doubles for continuous grazing during the treatment phase compared to the hayfield control. This evidence, along

with additional statistics applied to average losses, indicate that continuous stocking increased surface runoff significantly compared to the control. Nitrogen loss trends follow a similar pattern, with continuous and PPG having greater cumulative total nitrogen loss compared to the control

BIG PUMPS TO HANDLE BIG JOBS Cornell now offers cell connect monitoring of temperature, vibration, GPS, pressure and more.

Cornell’s 81022MPL with the robust, yet compact EM19DBK Frame and Run-Dry™ Option tackles the toughest manure slurries. Featuring:

6000 GPM / 420’ TDH at BEP at 1800 RPM 7500 GPM max flow High Efficiency Low NPSHr Proven Cornell construction for handling sand laden manure Hard face seal with run-dry seal protection With an 8” discharge, 10” suction and 3.5” solids handing, and built for high-operating pressures, MP pumps are specifically designed for coarse-abrasive slurry applications. Constructed of high chrome iron, with a Brinell hardness rating above 650.

Talk with your authorized Cornell dealer about finding the best model for your application.

CORNELL PUMP COMPANY P +1 (503) 653-0330 I F: +1 (503) 653-0338

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 15

10/19/23 12:29 PM

Figure 1. Grazing treatment runoff and solids load Runoff (mm) or solids load (kg/ha)

and AMP (Figure 3). Whereas annual systems such as corn tend to be dominated by inorganic nitrogen (ammonium and nitrate) losses in surface and subsurface runoff, our results show that a relatively high proportion of nitrogen loss in surface runoff from MARS pastures and hayfields was organic nitrogen. Statistical analyses for nitrogen also indicate that continuous grazing elevated average nitrogen concentrations and loads, but differences were not always significant from the control. Results also differ for rain versus frozen precipitation events. Similar trends appear to hold for total and dissolved reactive phosphorus.


700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 Control

Runoff for continuous grazing (mm)



 Calibration  Treatment


y = 1.4681x + 1.6232 R 2 = 0.7411

80 60 40

y = 0.5924x + 1.7327 R 2 = 0.4404

20 0







Runoff for control (mm)

Figure 3. Grazing treatment nitrogen runoff loads 25

 Control

 Continuous



20 15 10 5 0

16 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F3 14-16 Nov 2023 Grazing methods.indd 3


Figure 2. Runoff control versus continuous grazing

Runoff N load (kg/ha)

The author is a research soil scientist for the Institute for Environmentally Integrated Dairy Management, USDA-Agricultural Research Service.

 TDS load  SS Load


More to look at Based on our findings, it is clear that stocking method influenced surface runoff water quality and nutrient loss. While our results suggest rotational stocking may help to reduce nutrient losses possibly related to lower soil disturbance, we are looking at additional factors (hydrology, grass biomass yield, and soil fertility) that may shed additional light on water quality and nutrient loss differences among systems. While grazing and hay forage systems reduce erosion in a crop rotation compared with annuals, a larger fraction of nutrients in the surface runoff from pastures and hay exist in a dissolved phase. In addition, soil phosphorus tends to accumulate in surface soil layers of long-term hay and pasture compared to tilled systems where it can be mixed with deeper layers. Ongoing work at the Marshfield Agricultural Research Station will help clarify the extent of phosphorus and carbon accumulation in the pastures while also assessing other factors controlling dissolved phosphorus loss to runoff. Greenhouse gas fluxes are also being monitored to better understand air and water quality benefits and overall agri-environmental trade-offs for pasturing in dairy systems. 

 Runoff


TN load

Org-N load

Amm-N load

Nit-N load

10/19/23 12:30 PM




he macronutrients and micronutrients available in manure make it a great fertilizer source. It also brings value in the form of greater soil organic matter content, which plays a role in improved soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient availability. The benefits of long-term manure application were described in a University of NebraskaLincoln Extension article by Sauray Das and Bijesh Maharjan. The Knorr-Holden plot is the oldest experimental irrigated corn plot in North America, established in 1910. Located in Scottsbluff, Neb., it has been planted with corn since 1912. In 1942, the plot was divided to include a beef manure treatment, and the next year, a split-plot was designed to include manure and inorganic fertilizer nitrogen treatment. Over 77 years of applying manure, soil organic carbon improved by more than 60% compared to the nonmanured plot. Soil organic matter also rose by more than 60% compared to plots that did not receive manure. Plant-available water content grew by 6.94% compared to the nonmanured plot. The manured plots had higher concentrations of nitrate nitrogen, indicating a higher rate of nitrification, and lower concentrations of ammonium. The manured soils also had higher concentrations of ACE protein, water-extractable nitrogen, water-extractable organic nitrogen, and potentially mineralizable nitrogen. This suggests greater microbial activity and nitrogen mineralization. The authors noted that soil enzymes are a valuable indicator of soil health, and at the Knorr-Holden plot, manure application led to a substantial rise in the four soil enzymes that were tested. As for yield, the experts wrote that long-term application of manure can enhance yield stability and reliability. However, the manured plot supplemented with nitrogen and phosphorus had the highest yield reliability index. The authors summarized, “Using manure in corn production improved

F3 17 Nov 2023 Manure Minute.indd 1

yield stability and soil health by increasing organic matter and nutrients, as well as improving water-holding capacity and soil enzyme activity.

However, to achieve a sustainable and reliable yield, it is important to optimize the use of both manure and inorganic fertilizer nutrients.”

Digester Tanks

WE BUILD TANKS • 920-948-2286 NRCS PRE-APPROVED! Manure Tanks

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 17

10/19/23 12:31 PM

Introducing ManureDB: A new way to view manure variability and trends This recently created database will serve as a resource for estimating nutrients in manure. by Nancy Bohl Bormann

Getting up to date Researchers at the University of Minnesota received Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Figure 1. Regional comparisons for dairy liquid manure (1998 to 2022)

(lbs./1,000 gal)

30 Nutrient content


anure is used as an organic fertilizer source on approximately 31 million acres across the country. That equates to 10% of U.S. cultivated land, according to the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) II survey of practices from 2013 to 2016 estimates. Manure book values — which are approximate nutrient concentrations — are used for developing manure management plans, designing manure storages, creating best management practices for manure land application, and agricultural modeling. They show a range of nutrient values that can be expected from typical manure storages and encourage farmers to test their manure often. Unfortunately, current book values are several decades old and may not reflect current production practices. Recent laboratory data from the Midwest indicated manure nutrient data has changed compared to published Midwest Plan Service (MWPS) book values. Different animal diets, treatments, genetics, housing, and manure storage and handling practices can impact these manure nutrient values.

25 20 10 5 0

New York


# of samples: 3,960

# of samples: 1,060

 Total N

▲ Total P as P2O5

grant funding in 2020 to create a manure nutrient database in collaboration with the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute called ManureDB. It uses FAIR principles (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable). This project partners with laboratories and universities that analyze manure for business and/or research. A project team comprised of commercial manure laboratories, livestock commodity groups, regulatory and agency staff, agriculture professionals, researchers, engineers, and alternative energy groups guides the development process. This project highly values data privacy. A data use agreement gets signed

18 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F3 18-20 Nov 2023 Manure DB.indd 1


 Total K as K 2O

between the participating laboratory and the University of Minnesota. Laboratories can share past manure data and annual updates to grow the database. Data is provided without customer names or addresses to avoid privacy concerns. Only the state or first three digits of a zip code are entered into the database. The zip codes and laboratory identities will not be included in the public-facing database. At least five samples per year from a state or region will be needed to show up in public summaries. As one can imagine, laboratories report their results in many ways, and coming up with a standardized

10/19/23 1:37 PM

plate was a high priority. The database only requires the year the sample was analyzed but offers many other reporting options and sample notes. A manure type, animal or other amendment type, manure treatment, agitation status, bedding type, storage type, length of storage, and application method options can be selected if known. The template offers a wide selection of analyte options from macronutrients, micronutrients, and other metals and ratios. The analytical method, units, and wet or dry basis are selected for each analyte reported. The project based the analytical method selections off of the recently updated Recommended Methods of Manure Analysis, Second Edition, the AgGateway Modus Agricultural Lab Test Data Standard, and interviews with laboratories. A spreadsheet validation step ensures the data conforms to the template parameters prior to uploading to the database. Once uploaded, each sample

is given a unique ManureDB identifier and conversion equations are used to display data in consistent units. The public facing ManureDB database launched this summer at http:// New features and improvements continue to roll out. Sign up for the email list at ManureDB-signup for updates. The database interface offers data aggregation with preliminary filters and provides some overview statistics. As of September 2023, ManureDB included 422,032 samples from 49 states, 13 laboratories, over 65 animal types, and 18 organic amendments. With other data use agreements signed and some pending, the database will continue to grow with additional datasets and annual data additions. The team continues to refine and build features in ManureDB, with plans to add data visualization displays and offer a download option. Eventually a log-in feature will be available for lab-

oratories to view their lab-specific data relative to the aggregated database. The team plans to archive data on an annual basis in the USDA National Agricultural Library’s Ag Data Commons. We continue to seek out laboratory, university, and consultant data collaborators; if interested in learning more, please email

Follow the steps What are the steps to submit data? 1. Contact or one of the project leaders. 2. We can set up an initial meeting to learn more about your laboratory. 3. We will send out the data use agreement for signatures. 4. Once signed by the lab, University of Minnesota will sign and return the fully executed agreement. 5. We can meet again to review the lab’s methods, analytes, and column names if needed. 6. Send a spreadsheet of your lab’s



4103 LNMS

Liquid or Dry, Oxbo has the SOLUTION

OXBO.COM 800.628.6196 OXBO.COM

F3 18-20 Nov 2023 Manure DB.indd 2

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 19

10/19/23 1:38 PM

30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Digestate (liquid)


Separated (liquid)

Separated solid



# of samples: 210

# of samples: 6,163

# of samples: 179

# of samples: 373

# of samples: 5,083

# of samples: 421

▲ Total P as P2O5

 Total K as K 2O

 Total N

Figure 3. Manure trends over time 45

Swine + swine finisher liquid manure P2O5 (IL, IA, MN, WI) 2000 to 2022


P2O5 lbs./1,000 gal

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 2021




















Year  75th percentile P

 Median P

ment policy for their region. This database can also show improved estimates of other less studied manure components such as carbon and chloride. Regional comparisons (Figure 1), comparisons between different manure types (Figure 2), and manure trends over time (Figure 3) are some examples of what can be done with this new data resource. With the largest manure

 25th percentile P

n = 8,025

dataset of its kind, this manure database is poised to be a valuable resource for understanding manure trends and variability into the future.  The author is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota in the Soil, Water, and Climate Department and grain farms with her family in northern Iowa.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author would like to recognize the Minnesota ManureDB team of Melissa Wilson, Erin Cortus, Kevin Janni, and Kevin Silverstein, all from the University of Minnesota. The author would also like to thank Larry Gunderson, with the Pesticide and Fertilizer Management Division at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, along with the ManureDB Stakeholder Committee and participating laboratories. This work is supported by the AFRI Foundational and Applied Science Program [grant no. 2020-67021-32465] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute.

20 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F3 18-20 Nov 2023 Manure DB.indd 3


0 2000

data, as far back as you wish to go. 7. We work through the spreadsheet validation process and may have a few questions for the lab as we go. 8. The data will be imported. While this manure database resource will give better manure nutrient estimates, the wide variability should also encourage farmers to test their manure more frequently. Regardless of fertilizer prices, utilizing manure nutrients where they get the most value is economically important. Having a better idea and confidence in manure’s nutrient value will ensure crops get the required amount of nutrients for full economic optimum yield potential. It should reduce manure overapplication, which would lessen the environmental risk of nutrient loss. If plants cannot use all the nutrients applied, there is a greater probability of environmental contamination. With many states working on nutrient reduction strategies for water quality improvements, knowing more about manure characteristics can improve those strategic plans. Animal feeding operation regulations could be improved with updated manure book values by having better estimates of how much land would be required for new animal feeding operation construction. A new barn location could be compared to available land for manure application to prevent overapplication in a specific area. Knowledge of what are appropriate manure application rates for agronomic and environmental reasons can assist environmental regulators in farmer education and relevant nutrient manage-


Nutrient content

(lbs./ton or lbs./1,000 gal)

Figure 2. Comparisons between types of dairy manure (1998 to 2022)

10/19/23 1:39 PM




ntensive management of compost windrows will yield the most effective and efficient results in terms of pathogen destruction, plant disease suppression, manure volume reduction, and improved soil health, but even casual composters can benefit from the microbial breakdown of organic matter that occurs within a compost pile. To best utilize the end material, it is helpful to submit a sample for laboratory testing. During a Composting Field Day hosted by the University of Wisconsin Division of Extension, Kevin Shelley showed attendees how to collect a composted manure sample. Shelley, an outreach educator for the Nutrient and Pest Management Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said

the first step is to select a laboratory that does this type of testing. He noted that some labs have an option for you to order a sampling kit that would contain the jar, the submission form, and, in some cases, a mailing label. Next, collect a composite sample. “You want something that represents the pile the best you can,” Shelley stated. To do this, Shelley recommended using a clean shovel to pull compost from at least half a dozen places. If the pile is fairly consistent throughout, one composite sample should be enough. If the pile has a lot of variation in terms of the type of manure or bedding, pull subsamples from each area and then make a composite sample from each segment of the pile. Thoroughly mix the subsamples in

a clean bucket or tub, then grab the composite sample. Shelley reminded attendees that the sample is only about one handful from the whole pile, and a lab will only test a few ounces from that sample, so it is important to mix it well. Label the jar with the date and source of the compost. He said to put the sample in the freezer and to ship it early in the week so it gets there promptly. Some laboratories may have a test specifically for composted manure. If they don’t, or if you are using the compost on your own fields and not selling it to others, then a less comprehensive analysis is probably sufficient. Shelley said dry matter content, the macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio would be useful data to receive.

HPX 195 PROPUSH® | Hydraulic Push Box Spreader 950 ft3 heaped capacity • trailer model



Push-type design means no chain, fewer moving parts & minimal maintenance

Invest in Quality ®

F2 21 Nov 2023 Manure Minute.indd 1

All-steel, welded construction for highuse reliability & long life

Heavy-duty Vertispread® vertical beaters provide wide, consistent spread pattern

Commercial-grade, sprung undercarriage to withstand heavy loads

Visit our website to locate a dealer near you!

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 21

10/19/23 12:42 PM


EFFICIENCY GUIDES EQUIPMENT TRENDS A survey of manure applicators showed their equipment choices are most often driven by efficiency. by Kevin Erb

Figure 1. Semis, truck, tractor tankers, and semi tankers 700

Number of vehicles


any farms depend on professional manure applicators to deliver important nutrients to the field. As an example, the for-hire manure application industry serving Wisconsin handles approximately 7 billion gallons of liquid manure annually. That’s enough manure to cover a football field, including end zones, just over 3 miles deep. And while the percentage of manure handled by the industry hasn’t changed much over the past decade, the equipment used is constantly evolving.

500 400 300 200 100








Figure 2. Dragline hose size (inches) 250

■ 6-inch

■ 8-inch

■ 10-inch


200 150 100 50 0 2014









Year systems. Moving manure by semi is more time and cost efficient for greater distances. It is preferred by livestock producers because roadside transfer systems, which avoid vehicles entering

22 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 22-23 Nov 2023 On the Move.indd 1

■ Semi ■ Semi w/ tanker ■ Tanker for O/O ■ Tractor tanker ■ Straight truck


Switching to more big rigs The annual directory of manure applicators, compiled by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension since 2003, includes information about the equipment used by more than 200 for-hire manure applicators. These businesses range from a single truck or manure spreader to larger application firms that handle more than 300 million gallons annually. The most obvious trends over the past 20 years are the rising number of semis used to move manure, and, more recently, the dramatic shift to technologies that use less fuel and/or are more labor efficient. This change was forced by the challenges of finding high-quality seasonal employees. Since 2003, the number of semis used to move manure from the farm to the field has risen from 68 to 637, with growth propelled by both the need to move manure longer distances and the adoption of roadside manure transfer


and leaving the field, do not track mud or manure onto the road, improving safety and reducing neighbor concerns. The challenge of finding qualified commercial drivers license (CDL) drivers

10/19/23 1:33 PM

has led to a dramatic shift in the trend since 2020, with many manure applicators shifting from employing in-house drivers to using owner/operators who move from job to job, either with their own semi and tanker or who rent a tanker from farmers or other manure applicators. Between 2021 and 2022, the number of owner/operators in Wisconsin jumped from fewer than 10 to 60, while semis and tankers operated by manure applicators dropped for the first time. This approach means that drivers move between forage, manure, grain, and non-ag loads weekly, if not daily. If it rains too much on one side of a county, for instance, these more nimble operators can quickly adjust and assist livestock producers, forage operations, and manure applicators where it did not rain as much.

the cash grain farmer receives manure based payments for the manure on the nutrient value. Varying the rate can mean avoiding a second trip across the field to apply fertilizer in more highly productive portions of the field. Adoption rates of technologies that benefit both the manure applicator and the farmer equally tend to be more in the middle. In 2022, 76% of the manure applicators with dragline systems offered GPS as-applied rate mapping to their customers. As-applied mapping provides both the applicator and livestock producer with documentation that their manure was applied at the right rate in the right location. Hopefully, technology such as this will become more mainstream over time. ■

More hose, less diesel Many of the semis are used for roadside transfer systems, with one or more manure tankers or dragline systems applying in the field. The total miles of mainline hose has leveled off at just over 350 miles in the state, but the diameter of the hose used has expanded dramatically. In 2014, around 75% of the manure hose in use was 6-inch, while 25% of hoses were 8 or 10-inch. In 2022, only 15% of the hose was 6-inch, with 226 miles of 8-inch diameter hose (64% of the total) in use. A larger hose means less diesel per gallon of manure moved because the larger diameter reduces friction loss. Higher volumes per minute through the hose result in the ability to cover more acres per hour, sometimes by being able to feed two different crews with 6-inch lines from a single 8-inch main. Diesel fuel savings are one reason manure agitation boats have grown in popularity in Wisconsin from seven in 2011 to 113 in 2022. The combination of fuel savings (60% to 80% compared to tractor-mounted agitators) and the ability to agitate larger storages more efficiently have reduced costs both for applicators and the livestock producers providing fuel for the manure storage agitation.

The author is the program manager of the Conservation Professional Training Program with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension and has worked with for-hire manure applicators in Wisconsin since 1993.

Some tools lag behind The data also shows a much slower adoption rate for technologies that do not have the labor savings or fuel savings. This includes low disturbance toolbars and real time nutrient sensors. Low-disturbance injection toolbars on both dragline systems and manure tankers can dramatically reduce soil erosion and make it easier for livestock producers and farmers who take manure and sell feed to livestock farms to meet conservation compliance requirements. After a quick doubling of the toolbars in use from 2017 to 2020, numbers have now leveled off. Part of the reason may be the lower application rate chosen by many livestock producers, which reduces the number of acres that manure can be applied to in a day. Another technology with lower than expected adoption by the for-hire manure application industry in Wisconsin is realtime nutrient sensors. These sensors measure nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and dry matter and allow the manure applicator to vary the rate based on the nutrient content of the manure. Interest and adoption of the technology has been greater in states with more swine manure, where

F2 22-23 Nov 2023 On the Move.indd 2

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 23

10/20/23 9:26 AM


People of the upper crust by Thomas Menke


had the pleasure of knowing a soil scientist with USDA whose last project was completing the soil survey for Darke County, Ohio, where I live. He retired here, and we became good friends, sharing our appreciation of the importance of soil in our respective careers. Sam referred to us as “men of the upper crust.” Although some in the hydroponic business might challenge me saying this, we are wholly dependent upon the soil to feed us and to absorb the residuals of food production and its consumption. From the highest perspective, the soil is key to a wondrous recycling project we call planet Earth, that tiny blue and green dot in a small solar system, itself a minor portion of a small galaxy amongst countless others. Are we one of many planets with life? Or are we unique in the cosmos? I’ll never know in this lifetime, but what I do know is that without soil and water, life would not be as we know it, if at all. If you are reading this article, you are probably one of few who understands our dependency on the soil. The profession of being part of the food production cycle is seldom noticed, much less appreciated. We often end up dealing with things that most would term repulsive, yet we find of value. Our job does not create news unless we do it poorly. We are not “headline people” and quietly go about doing the job of feeding billions around the world without thanks. My mind is too small to grasp the fact that 63,000-plus grocery stores in the U.S. alone stock their shelves daily with a variety of foods that not even kings could dream of a century ago. Add to that some 750,000 restaurants feeding us on a daily basis. What a miracle of a system that fulfills our wants and needs around the clock!

As this is my last article for this publication, I want to say how proud I am to be in a profession associated with agriculture along with all of you who contribute in your own unique way. “None of us is smarter than all of us,” and I encourage you to keep up the good fight, collaborate together, sustain a healthy agriculture, and don’t give in to those whose ideas are not grounded in practicality. Food is entertainment for many. Niche markets have emerged for those who can afford what I call designer foods as a luxury. Overconsumption creates health issues associated with an obesity epidemic. And yet, over 20% of children around the world under age 5 have stunted growth due to malnutrition. We face many challenges unrelated to producing food. Progress is slow compared to our ability to raise wholesome and nutritious food in abundance. I hope my contributions to the Journal of Nutrient Management have

24 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 24 Nov 2023 Nutrient Insights.indd 2

provided some insights that you could use in your business. You are the people who manage that critical link between the production of food and the soil that makes it all happen in this grand recycling project we lump under the term “agricultural production.” Take care of the soil, and it will take care of you. You are my “people of the upper crust,” and I wish you success in all that you do. Search my name on YouTube sometime if you’d like to get some information of where my perspectives come from. I would like to thank this publication and its editor for the opportunity to express my views and share my stories, forcing me to be a better communicator. Thank you. ■ The author is the president of Menke Consulting LLC, an agronomic and environmental consulting firm in Greenville, Ohio.

10/19/23 12:43 PM

PLACES TO BE Sustainable Agriculture Summit December 6 and 7, 2023 Charlotte, N.C. Details:

Nutrient Management Conference

California Dairy Sustainability Summit

February 20, 2024 Mankato, Minn. Details:

March 26, 2024 Davis, Calif. Details:

Wisconsin Water and Soil Health Conference December 7 and 8, 2023 Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details: cropsandsoils.extension.wisc. edu/wwash

Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic January 10 and 11, 2024 Madison, Wis. Details:

National Cattleman’s Beef Association Trade Show and Convention




January 31 to February 2, 2024 Orlando, Fla. Details:

COMPOST2024 February 6 to 9, 2024 Orlando, Fla. Details:

Minnesota Pork Conference February 13 and 14, 2024 Mankato, Minn. Details:

World Ag Expo February 13 to 15, 2024 Tulare, Calif. Details:

Midwest Forage Association/ Wisconsin Custom Operators Symposium February 19 to 21, 2024 Wisconsin Dells, Wis. Details:

If you would like us to include your event on our list, please send details to

F2 25 Nov 2023 Places To Be.indd 1

AGRICULTURAL CONCRETE THE NATION’S LEADER IN AGRICULTURAL CONCRETE (920) 948-9661 | 37+ years in business | U.S. Navy Seabee Veteran

November 2023 | Journal of Nutrient Management | 25

10/19/23 12:44 PM

PROFESSIONAL DIRECTORY AGRICULTURAL CONCRETE JP Tank 317 Kohlman Rd. Fond du Lac, WI 54937 920-948-2286 Pipping Concrete N6106 County Rd. C Rosendale, WI 54974 920-948-9661 ANAEROBIC DIGESTER SERVICES Agricultural Digesters LLC 88 Holland Ln. #302 Williston, VT 05495 802-876-7877 APPAREL Udder Tech Inc. 2520 151st Ct. W Rosemount, MN 55068 952-461-2894 BEDDING SEPARATION McLanahan 200 Wall Street Hollidaysburg, PA 16648 814-695-9807 COATINGS Industrial Solutions USA 5115 S. Rolling Green Ave. Ste. 211 Sioux Falls, SD 57108 605-254-6059 ENVIRONMENTAL SOLUTIONS Future Enviroassets LLC Cincinnati, OH 45215 513-349-3844 Hall Associates 23 Evergreen Dr. Georgetown, DE 19947-9484 302-855-0723 Tomorrow Water 1225 N. Patt St.

Anaheim, CA 92801 714-578-0676 Trident Processes Inc. 10800 Lyndale Ave. S. Bloomington, MN 55420 1-800-799-3740 MANURE SEPARATION Boerger LLC 2860 Water Tower Place Chanhassen, MN 55317 844-647-7867 Al-Ins Enterprises, LLC Aaron Kuhis 695 Sullivan Drive Fond du Lac, WI 54935 920-238-5460 MANURE STORAGE Pit-King®/Agri-King® Inc. 18246 Waller Rd. Fulton, IL 61252 1-800-435-9560

New Leader 1330 76th Ave. SW Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 1-800-363-1771 Oxbo International 100 Bean St. Clear Lake, WI 54005 1-800-628-6196 WATER TECHNOLOGY Bauer North America Inc. 107 Eastwood Rd. Michigan City, IN 46360 1-800-922-8375 Press Technology & Mfg. Inc. 1401 Fotler Street Springfield, OH 45504 937-327-0755

 Don’t see your company listed? Send

WASTE HANDLING EQUIPMENT Cornell Pump Co. 16261 SE 130th Ave. Clackamas, OR 97015 503-653-0330 Doda USA 255 16th St. S. St. James, MN 56081 507-375-5577 GEA Farm Technologies, Inc. 1385 N. Weber Road Romeoville, IL 60446 + 1-800-563-4685 Pacific Pumping 8941 Jasmine Lane Lynden, WA 360-815-2171

your company information to marketing@ with Professional Directory in the subject line.

GEA ProMAnurE High-performance manure technology

Find your dealer

R Braun Inc. 209 N. 4th Ave. St. Nazianz, WI 54232 920-773-2143

26 | Journal of Nutrient Management | November 2023

F2 26 Nov 2023 Directory.indd 34

WASTE HANDLING NUTRIENT SPREADERS Kuhn North America P.O. Box 167 Brodhead, WI 53520

10/19/23 12:44 PM













SO YOU CAN BE TOO. Predictable? There’s no higher compliment in this business — and we wear it with pride. It’s the reason we’ve been trusted across the industry for more than 80 years, and it’s why we’re the exclusive spreader partner of industry-leading brands like AGCO, CASE IH, John Deere and RBR. They know exactly what they’re getting every single time, and so will you when you buy a New Leader: precision, performance and above all, predictability. For more info visit








Untitled-4 1

10/17/23 1:22 PM

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.