Feedlot Update - Dec. 4, 2014

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Feedlot Update

Dec. 4, 2014

Early winter weather hastens manure land application

Despite the early winter weather across much of central Minnesota, land application and incorporation of liquid manure on cropland seems to have kept pace. "Many producers chose to till the soil, such as chisel plowing, to try get some degree of incorporation prior to the soil freezing solid," says Jerry Holien of the MPCA feedlot staff in the Willmar office. "While not an ideal solution, it helps to keep the manure in place and allow some infiltration, absorption and cover for the manure." The Dec. 1 deadline has now passed for land-applying liquid manure from large feedlots with NPDES permits. "It is important that they follow their NPDES permit about how to seek permission to land apply liquid manure for the remainder of the winter," Holien says. While there are specific permit requirements for feedlots with NPDES permits, all livestock operations need to follow the 7020 rules. They must maintain a 300-foot setback from all sensitive features and use other best management practices to prevent manure from running off, and preserving its nutrient value for next year’s crop.  For more information see the fact sheet, "Managing manure land application during adverse weather conditions."  'Winter manure application options' is the topic if the Nov. 21 webcast of the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center.

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Public notice period approaching for SDS draft permit

The public notice period for the State Disposal System (SDS) draft permit for large feedlots could begin sometime in January. The MPCA feedlot program is nearing completion of the draft, and will announce public notice dates. Feedlots with 1,000 or more animal units will be required to apply for the SDS permit, unless they have a current federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. While the permits are similar, there are several noteworthy differences. The SDS permit is for 10 years, compared with five years for the NPDES permit. The SDS permit is 'zero discharge' and does not include the 25-year 24-hour storm exemption for land application contained in the federal permit. A detailed explanation of the SDS permit and how it compares with the NPDES permit will be available soon. 

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'Optimal' grazing plan workshop offered in Benson

forbord cattle

Do you manage livestock?  What if you could plug in all the variables on your farm, in your herd, and in your life into a program and spit out the optimal grazing plan? Land Stewardship Project is offering a workshop in Benson Dec. 2, 4, 9 and 11 that uses 'holistic' grazing planning as the “computer” and you will walk away with a grazing plan that can consider all the following elements: Herd numbers and feed goals, number of available pastures, breeding and calving schedules, goals of pasture management - such as weed control or improvement goals, pasture strengths and weaknesses, water, equipment, and loading locations, available labor, vacations and social obligations.

The class will be held at the Benson courthouse meeting room on Tuesday and Thursday Dec. 2, 4, 9 and 11 from 6 to 9 pm. They are asking $50 contribution from LSP members, $75 for non-members. Land Stewardship Project will provide a light supper for the first three nights and a potluck dinner on the final night. Contact Robin Moore, 320-269-2105 or rmoore@landstewardshipproject.org for questions or to sign up for the class. 

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Next up for trade shows: Dairy Expo, Cattlemen's convention

2014 farm burea

MPCA feedlot program staff will be tending trade show booths at the Midwest Dairy Expo Dec. 3-4, and the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association convention Dec. 5-6. Everyone is welcome stop by for the latest feedlot program information, or just to visit. Thanks to everyone who visited the MPCA table at the recent Agri-Growth Council annual meeting Nov. 6, and the Minnesota Farm Bureau showcase Nov.21-22. Photo: Wayne Anderson works the MPCA table at the Minnesota Farm Bureau convention Nov. 21.

  • Dec. 3-4: Dairy Expo, St. Cloud convention center. (Booth 412 in the newer section).
  • Dec. 5-6: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, Grand Casino-Hinkley.
  • Dec. 8: Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Doubletree Hotel, Bloomington.
  • Jan. 21-22: Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
  • Jan. 29: Ag Expo, Verizon Center, Mankato.

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News briefs

Douglas County looking for feedlot technician

Applications are due Dec. 29 for the feedlot technician position in Douglas County. Duties include administering the feedlot program in the county's Land and Resource Management Department, conduct feedlot inventory, and provide technical assistance to producers. More information and applications are available on the web. The position opened when Deja Anton took the feedlot program position in Todd County.

2014 feedlot calendar

Photos of livestock needed for 2015 wall calendar

The MPCA feedlot program is looking for some nice photos of livestock to use in the background of pages in the 2015 edition of the feedlot inspection record-keeping calendar. It soon will be available on the feedlot program main webpage and publications webpage. If you have photos that you would like to share, please contact Forrest Peterson, forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Photo credit will be given. You can download the calendar and post it in the office, and use the daily check boxes to record regular inspections of water lines, weekly basin inspections and depth mark readings, storm water and runoff controls, and perimeter tile inspections monthly. The calendar notations would fulfill those NPDES/SDS record-keeping requirements. A limited number of printed copies will be available at the MPCA booth at Pork Congress.

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LPELC webcast on manure application challenges this fall

LPE News logo

A late growing season and early freeze in some parts of the country have led to problems with manure applicators being able to sufficiently empty storage structures before the ground freezes. The Nov. 21 webcast from the Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center highlights a robust and proactive approach toward winter spreading with efforts of research, farmers and applicators, and technical service providers working together to identify and reduce risks through planning.  More... Access the archived version at: http://www.extension.org/54317

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Report to EPA shows a total of 280 inspections at CAFOs

The MPCA feedlot program report to EPA  for fiscal year Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014 counted a total of 280 inspections at 274 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Of the 280 total inspections, there were 92 compliance inspections, 92 level II inspections, and 96 compliance + level II inspections. The inspection target was 268. Last year a total of 355 inspections were conducted. According to the most recent statistics, there is a total of 1,309 feedlots in Minnesota operating with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. Most have the 2011-2016 general NPDES permit. Work will begin in 2015 to prepare the 2016-2021 NPDES general permit. Large feedlots with 1,000 animal units or more can continue to use the federal NPDES permit if they wish to: otherwise, they will be required to apply for the State Disposal System permit.

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In the news

Meadow Star Dairy gets go-ahead for operation west of Willmar

Construction of an 8,800-animal-unit dairy operation will begin next spring west of Willmar. Meadow Star Dairy, which is owned by Riverview LLP based in Morris, was granted a conditional use permit earlier this month by St. Johns Township. The operation, which will employ 55 people and depend on area farmers for feed supplies and manure application, will include about 6,000 milking cows. The remaining livestock will be comprised of dry cows and heifers that are about to calf. Initiated by Hultgren Farms of rural Pennock, with support from Riverview, the developers had obtained a conditional use permit from Kandiyohi County in 2008 and a permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in 2009. But with a downturn in the dairy industry, the project was put on hold. The county permit was renewed in 2010, but developers failed to win approval of a request to change the county ordinance to allow high-density, on-site labor housing for ag businesses. The project was again put on hold and the county permit expired. There is no time limit on the MPCA permit, which is attached to the specific site. Then, around 2012, Hultgren Farms sold the land, with the MPCA permit still intact, to Riverview. Also during that time, St. Johns Township took action to create its own zoning board. - West Central Tribune, Willmar, 11/17/14.

Farm coalition upset with MPCA Citizens' Board action

A coalition of 25 agriculture organizations has sent a letter to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, due to action by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizen’s Board. That Citizen’s Board overrode the MPCA technical recommendation and imposed the requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement for a proposed dairy operation in Stevens County. In addition to the costs and delays for this project, the ag groups said the Citizen’s Board puts the future animal agriculture projects at risk. The letter was signed by Agri-Growth, Farm Bureau, commodity groups, dairy cooperatives and farm credit service associations. - Red River Farm Network News, 12/1/14.

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Dec. 2-4: Minnesota Dairy Expo, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
Dec. 4-6: Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association convention, Grand Casino Hinckley.
Dec. 7-9: Soil and Water Conservation Districts' convention, Double Tree Hotel, Bloomington.
Jan. 9-10: Minnesota Organic Conference, River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud.
Jan. 28-29: Minnesota Ag Expo, Verizon Wireless Center, Mankato.
Jan. 21-22, 2015: Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 25-27, 2015: Minnesota Grain and Feed Association convention, Minneapolis Hilton.
March 17-19, 2015: Midwest Poultry Federation convention, St. Paul RiverCentre.

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Send the news

The MPCA Feedlot Update welcomes news from partners about, projects, people, and upcoming events. Email submissions to forrest.peterson@state.mn.us. Past issues of Feedlot Update are available on the feedlot program publications webpage.