Let’s Learn About Manure!

Spreading ManureBy Trey Cody

How do you balance production and conservation?  This was the theme of this year’s 8th annual Manure Expo; held on July 15th.  Sponsored by Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, this event was held in State College, at the Rock Springs Agricultural Progress Day Site.  Attendees ranged from manure handlers, applicators, and brokers, to the general public.  The goal of this year’s expo was to educate on ways to obtain optimum crop growth while minimizing the environmental risk.  What are some of these ways?  With help from new and improved technology, demonstrators showed safe ways to put manure into soil.  When this is not done properly, nitrogen is released into the air and phosphorus is added to run-off.  At the Expo a total of eight states were represented by university speakers.  These included: Penn State University, Cornell University, University of Delaware, University of Maine, University of Maryland, Michigan State University, and Virginia Tech.  Also speakers from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region III, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and the Pennsylvania Agricultural Ombudsman gave talks.  Following the expo a “White Paper” will be constructed grasping discussed methods to managing livestock manure and poultry litter.  This “White Paper” will also cover some grey areas that are in need of further discussion.

Did you know?
• About 20% of the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay comes from animal manures and poultry litter.
• Pennsylvania has about 8,500 dairies and over 55,000 milk cows.
• New York and Pennsylvania are ranked 3 and 5 nationally in dairy production.
• Between PA, NY, MD, VA, DE, WV, NJ, and OH there are over 1.6 million milking cows.
Would you like to attend a Manure Expo? Well you can; the 2011 expo will be held in Nebraska for the 1st time.

Let’s put our heads together.
What do you think will be the major nutrient reducers in the future? Can you think of ways that state/federal procurement can use organic fertilizer? What are ways states can address soil phosphorous build up? How can point to point source nutrient trading be accelerated?