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Acreage Living

A monthly newsletter for rural residents highlighting timely topics on country living. Iowa State University Extension

April 2009 issue: (download in pdf format)

Cost Saving Tips for Feeding Horses
Household Hazardous Material Disposal
Iowa Septic Systems Must Be Inspected Before Property Sale


Cost Saving Tips for Feeding Horses
By Chris Mortensen, Clemson University Extension Horse Specialist

In the February issue, we discussed feeding horses based on body weight and condition. Additional feed cost savings can be achieved by carefully selecting the ingredients in the diet.

Adding Fat to a Horse’s Diet
Another tip to maintain weight on a horse is to substitute fat for more expensive concentrate (grain). A shift has taken place within feeding practices based on current equine nutrition research. Rather than feeding additional concentrate, leading nutritionists recommend incorporating fat. The fat can be in the form of oil, such as vegetable oil, soy oil, or flaxseed oil. This can be an excellent way to safely add body condition to horses. Up to 10% of the total diet fed can be in the form of fat.

Change horse diets slowly over a two to three week period. When changing a diet, whether it is changing type of hay, or feeding a new concentrate, the first week feed 75 percent old diet and 25 percent new diet. Week two feed 50 percent old diet, 50 percent new diet, and third week feed 25 percent old diet and 75 percent new diet. Remember horses should be fed, at minimum, twice per day.

Hay Handling
Feed hay in a feeder or use round bales, which tend to be more economical, in a feeding ring to reduce waste.

Supplement Usage
Critically evaluate the need for expensive supplements as many of the horse’s daily nutrient requirements can be met with a balanced diet. If feeding supplements, the best recommended addition to a diet would be a vitamin/mineral mix. However, equine athletes in extreme competition may require additional nutrients and in those cases consult your veterinarian.

Other cost saving tips:

  • Store hay properly to waste (up on pallets and covered or indoors)
  • Use more pasture feeding in place of hay
  • Keep horse in paddocks or on pasture to reduce bedding use/cost
  • Trim hooves yourself (be cautious however, as improper trimming can injure an animal), or have horses go barefoot (no shoeing)
  • Buy hay and bedding in bulk (perhaps in cooperation with neighbors)
  • Reducing travel or showing
  • Repair, reuse, or sell old tack/equipment and shop for best prices on replacements
  • Breed fewer horses
  • Practice preventive horse care with proper feeding, vaccinations, and deworming
  • Change boarding from stall to pasture and discuss options with stable owners

horsesWhat if I can no longer care for my animal?
The biggest question a horse owner may ask is “What if I can no longer care for my animal?” With the closure of the nation’s horse abattoirs, horses are no longer being slaughtered. This has increased the number of “unwanted horses” in the United States and has strained many alternate outlets such as horse retirement/rescue farms. However, horses are still being sold in these tough economic times, and local sales or local circulars can be used to advertise animals for sale. If all options are exhausted and animals cannot be sold, donated, or leased, then a frank discussion with your veterinarian about euthanasia may be a consideration.

Unfortunately these decisions are difficult and this issue is a tough dilemma facing many owners.

More information
Additional information on horse care can be found on the eXtension web resources at

Iowa horse owners can access training through the Master Equine Manager program


Household Hazardous Material Disposal
By Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension Ag Engineering Field Specialist

Household materials are categorized as hazardous if they are corrosive, toxic, flammable or reactive. If not managed properly, these materials threaten human health, Iowa’s lakes and streams, and groundwater which supplies 80 percent of our drinking water.
Household products are considered hazardous if they have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Toxic: May cause injury or death upon being inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.
  • Caustic/Corrosive: Substance or its vapors can cause deterioration or irreversible alteration in body tissues and deteriorate or wear away the surface of other materials.
  • Flammable: Can ignite or explode under normal working conditions.
  • Reactive: Can explode through exposure to heat, sudden shock, pressure, or incompatible substances.    

If a product is considered hazardous, the product label is required to alert the consumer using the words danger, poison, warning, or caution.

Many products such as cleaners, automotive fluids, pesticides, paints and thinners, mercury thermometers, fluorescent light bulbs, and batteries are considered hazardous.  For a list of many of the most common Household Hazardous Materials (HHM), along with advice on how to handle and dispose of them, see the HHM Safety Chart at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) web site http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/hhm/.

Storage and Disposal Guidelines for HHM

  • Follow manufacturer storage directions.
  • Keep products out of the reach of children and animals.
  • Store all household hazardous materials away from food items.
  • Tightly seal lids and caps.
  • Clearly label all containers before storing.
  • Keep HHMs in original containers. NEVER place HHMs in food or beverage containers.
  • Keep HHMs away from heat, flame or sources of ignition.
  • Store HHMs containing volatile chemicals or those that warn of vapors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Store HHMs in a cool dry place.
  • Follow label directions for proper use, storage and disposal
  • Don’t pour HHMs down the drain.
  • Don’t put HHMs in the trash.

Figure 1. 2009 Iowa HHM Regional Collection CentersRegional Collection Centers
Regional Collection Centers (RCCs) are permanent collection facilities designed to assist the public and qualifying small businesses with proper management and disposal of hazardous waste. RCCs accept specific types of hazardous waste for disposal either through local outlets or through contracted service. They also provide a materials exchange (swap shop) and work to educate Iowans in proper purchasing and management techniques for HHMs.

In 2008 Iowa’s RCCs collected nearly 3.5 million pounds of household hazardous materials from 24,200 households and 1,450 small businesses. Currently 22 main facilities and 37 satellite facilities are operating across Iowa serving 88 counties. The Iowa DNR distributes grants to counties who wish to establish RCC service.

Figure 1 shows the counties served by RCCs, additional towns served by neighboring RCCs, and the locations of main and satellite RCC facilities.

More information
For complete listings of RCC locations and contacts, and for more information about Iowa’s HHM programs, visit the Iowa DNR HHM web site at http://www.iowadnr.gov/waste/hhm/ or call Kathleen Hennings, DNR Environmental Specialist, at 515-281-5859.

Facts and figures for this article courtesy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.


Iowa Septic Systems Must Be Inspected Before Property Sale
By Daniel Olson, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Environmental Specialist Senior

Iowa’s Time of Transfer Inspection Program
Iowa’s time of transfer inspection law (SF261) takes effect July 1, 2009. The new law requires that every home/building served by a septic system have that septic system inspected prior to the sale or deed transfer of the home/building. Presently 21 counties have ordinances that require time of transfer inspections. These counties have seen few complaints about the process or time involved. Many residents have repaired or replaced septic systems prior to putting the home on the market in these counties.

Inspector Certification
The law also requires the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to develop an inspection procedure and a time of transfer inspector certification program. The certification program will include an inspection training that covers the inspection procedure and reporting requirements. While county sanitarians may still do inspections, anyone with the appropriate experience and training can become a Certified Time of Transfer Inspector. The DNR will maintain a list of certified inspectors on its website and on the Onsite Wastewater Training Center of Iowa website. The list will also be available from county sanitarians.

septic systemInspection Reports
Inspection reports must be provided to the county recorder, county environmental health staff (sanitarian) and the DNR. A copy of the inspection report must be attached to the groundwater hazard statement before the deed can be transferred. The groundwater hazard statement has been modified to include a disclosure of septic systems on the property and whether an inspection has been completed. There are some exemptions in the law for foreclosure, family transfer, divorce settlements and administration of an estate.

A home or building with a septic system will require an inspection prior to finalizing the sale or transferring the deed. In the case of weather delays, a binding acknowledgement between the buyer and the county board of health to conduct the inspection at the first possible opportunity must be attached to the groundwater hazard statement.

Septic systems do not have to meet current code to pass an inspection. For example, a system installed under permit with a 1,000 gallon tank and 200 feet of absorption field will pass if it is properly working the day of the inspection even if current code requires a 1,500 gallon tank and 400 feet of fields. The primary purpose of the program is to eliminate systems with no secondary treatment such as a septic tank discharging to a ditch. These systems are illegal and have been for many years. They are not “grandfathered” into compliance.
More Information

For more information, contact the DNR Onsite Wastewater Program at 515-281-8263 or www.iowadnr.gov/tot.html


Managing Editors:

Paul W. Brown, Assistant Director, Agriculture & Natural Resources Extension, 109 Curtiss Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1050, Ph. 515/294-7801, Fax. 515/294-5099, and Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension FS/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600
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