Open Feedlot Runoff Control Tours

Dennis L. DeWitt, Livestock Field Specialist, Northwest Iowa

Iowa open feedlots have been regulated since 1969.  Rules affecting open feedlots have remained essentially unchanged since 1987.  Over the last several years, the Iowa DNR has been visiting feedlots to enforce the required runoff controls.  The minimum level of manure control for all open feedlots regardless of size is the removal of settleable solids from the manure prior to discharge into a water of the state.  Feedlots over 1,000 head must contain all runoff and irrigate crop ground or pasture land. Producers who have signed up under the "Iowa Plan" will have a DNR site visit and receive a letter with a timeline from the Iowa DNR of required work to come into compliance.  

For the under 1,000 head open feedlots, a solids settling field day was held to discuss the options for retrofitting the open feedlot to meet the DNR regulations.  For those operators with over 1,000 head open feedlots, an alternative technologies (AT) field day was held at an approved AT site for feedlot operations to view how a feedlot with total containment will be able to release into a vegetative treatment area with no pumps.

Fifty three feedlot operators attended the under 1,000 head tour for discussions about current manure regulations and how to design a solids settling system to manage runoff from the open feedlot. As of August about half had constructed a solids settling system, and 25% had started construction of a system and 25% did not know what they needed to do, so had not done anything at that time.

Sixty eight feedlot operators attended the over 1,000 head AT tour near Lytton, Iowa.  A majority of the attendees had feedlots that were just over 1,000 head and were deciding to move under the 1,000 head permitted level.  Six operators of the over 1,000 head operations were in the permitting process and wanted to view the AT as an alternative for their feedlot.  The rest of the feedlot owners  were already under 1,000 head and came to see if this AT was going to be an economical way to expand their feedlot.  Most of these owners have decided now if they are going to expand, they will build a new under 1,000 head feedlot at least 1,250 feet from the existing open feedlot.

March 31, 2006
107 - Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: July 18, 2006
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