Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter

Fall 2000

Manure applicators say training will change their practices

by Karen Grimes, Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Commercial and confinement site manure applicators gave high praise to ISU Extension manure applicator training, with many applicators saying they will change the way they do business because of what they have learned.

"I think it’s very encouraging that people recognize there are some practices they can change that will make a difference environmentally," said Wayne Gieselman coordinator of Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) animal feeding operation program. Although Gieselman won’t credit the training for a lower number of fish kills this year, he does say the training is paying off by making applicators more aware of potential problems.

Of the 781 commercial applicators who evaluated the training this year, a majority (82 to 89 percent) rated the sessions as "good" or "excellent." Even more confinement site or private applicators (95 to 97 percent) gave the program high ratings.

Approximately one-fourth of the commercial applicators who attended training "plan to change" their manure management practices because of information they received (see tables). They plan to

  • sample manure differently (28 percent),
  • encourage the producers they work with to sample manure (28 percent),
  • maintain better application records (29 percent),
  • observe separation distances closely (25 percent), and
  • call the DNR for help in case of a spill (24 percent).

Similar results were found among 912 confinement site manure applicators who evaluated the training program. They will change their operations with plans to

  • maintain adequate freeboard on formed pits, earthen pits, and lagoons (20 percent);
  • maintain records on application of manure (34 percent); and
  • implement separation distances for land application of manure (25 percent).

Approximately 60 percent of the commercial and private applicators indicated that they were already using these practices before the training.

"We’re very pleased with the results," said Angela Rieck-Hinz, ISU Extension coordinator of the training program. "One of the surprises for us was the number of applicators who plan to make changes in their practices based on what they learned at the certification training meetings," she added. "However, we emphasize different topics each year, and this was the year to focus on manure storage and handling, land application, and handling emergencies."

This is the second year of the manure applicator certification program that is administered by the DNR. ISU Extension provides training for both commercial and confinement site manure applicators.

Commercial Applicators’ Plans to Adopt Practices

Changes in Manure Management Practices

Adopted Prior to Training

Plan to Adopt Because of 2000 Training

Do Not Plan to Adopt

Does Not Apply

No Response

Sample manure differently

56

28

4

10

0.9

Encourage producers to sample

58

28

2.8

8.4

1.9

Maintain better application records

63

29

1.3

5.2

1.5

Observe separation distances closely

65

25

2.8

5.4

5.2

Call DNR for help in case of a spill

68

24

1.0

3.4

3.3

Evaluation based on 781 commercial applicators. Values are expressed as percentages.

Confinement Site Applicators’ Plans to Adopt Practices

Changes in Manure Management Practices

Adopted Prior to Training

Plan to Adopt because of 2000 Training

Do Not Plan to Adopt

Does Not Apply

No Response

Maintain adequate freeboard on formed pits, earthen pits, and lagoons

58

20

2.5

18

0.7

Maintain records on application of manure

59

34

1.5

3.4

1.4

Implement separation distances for land application of manure

67

25

1.3

4.5

1.6

Evaluation based on 912 confinement site applicators. Values are expressed as percentages.

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Iowa Manure Matters: Odor and Nutrient Management is published by Iowa State University Extension, with funding support from the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service through Cooperative Agreement No. 74-6114-8-22. To subscribe or change the address of a current subscription, write to Angela Rieck-Hinz, 2104 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011-1010 or call 515-294-9590, fax 515-294-9985 or email: amrieck@iastate.edu. Please indicate you are inquiring about the Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter. The newsletter's coordinators are Angela Rieck-Hinz, extension program specialist, Department of Agronomy, Wendy Powers, environmental extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, and Robert Burns, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; the editor is Jean McGuire, the subscription manager is Rachel Klein, the production designer is Beth Kroeschell, and the web page designer is Liisa Jarvinen.

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