Iowa Livestock Farmers Improve the Sustainability through Manure Management

Name and Position/Title:
Kris Kohl, Field Specialist-Agriculture Engineer

Fiscal Year Accomplished:

POW Title and Number:
160 - Natural Resources & Stewardship

Iowa Livestock Farmers Improve the Sustainability through Manure Management

Livestock farmers are using information provided from ISU Extension to convert the liability of their manure into an asset while protecting the environment.  Recent changes in the feeding of dried distillers grains and the use of feed additives have changed the fertilizer value of manures requiring different management to optimize its use on Iowa’s rich crop land.  The legislature is continuing to change the laws that govern haw manure is applied in Iowa.  Some of these feeding changes have led to new safety concerns.

Iowa State University Extension developed a program to address the current concerns of livestock farmers who must comply with ever changing regulations and changing feeding strategies.  The program provides adult education on feed additives and distillers grains that have become popular over the last few years.  These changes have resulted in the reduced manure production with lower nutrient content making this knowledge important in the proper use on the crop land without causing water concerns.  Protecting farmers from new and known risks associated with manure application were presented to provide additional safety associated with exploding pits and hydrogen sulfide hazards.

One hundred and fifteen producers returned evaluation surveys from the educational program presented by ISU Extension.  One hundred percent of the participants reported that properly applied manure exceeded the value of 65% fertilizer with 95% reporting that manure was producing better crops than equivalent commercial fertilizer.  These results show that our livestock farmers treat the manure as a valuable resource that is treated as an asset in their operations to produce their crops.  Ninety three percent reported that they become more aware of the safety issues involved with pumping and hauling manure and 23% have made recommended changes to prevent hydrogen sulfide related accidents from the information received last year.  The 2009 agriculture accident report shows no fatalities or injuries form from farmers in the NW region of the state.

Farmers reported that they had made the following changes to protect their livestock and their workers and family associated with manure hauling:

This program helped inform farmers about the current regulations with ninety three percent reporting that the rules presentation was good to excellent with the presenters being very knowledgeable about the subjects covered.  Eighty three percent reported that the information presented was useful to help them improve their farming operation. 

These farmers reported that they had applied manure to over 43,000 acres of cropland in the past year with an average fertilizer value of over $120.00 per acre covered which totals 5 million dollars of value.  This program has resulted in farmers increasing the value the put on the manure they haul marking it a valuable asset instead to a liability when it is over applied and can cause environmental concerns to our water.


160 - Natural Resources & Stewardship


Page last updated: May 5, 2010
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