Feedlot Update - March 2016

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Feedlot Update

March 2016

Manure-nitrogen guide for irrigated corn on sandy soils

corn irrigation

The MPCA feedlot program has issued a two-page guide for manure management for corn planted on irrigated sandy soils. This is based on nitrogen recommendations in the most recent University of Minnesota Extension Service publication.

The MPCA has allowed up to a total of 180 pounds of plant available nitrogen per acre for corn production when manure has been applied. However, irrigated sandy soils require specific management to control nutrient loss. Using best management practices (BMPs) is a recommended strategy to help reduce possible environmental impact. Extension recommends using the following BMPs:

  1. Use the Extension MRTN, (Maximum Return to Nitrogen) nitrogen recommendation.
  2. Fertilizer nitrogen applications must use a split program.
  3. No pre-plant fertilizer nitrogen (this includes no fall nitrogen application).
  4. Account for all sources of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers.
  5. Take credit for previous crop and manure application. (Eg. soybean is a 30 lb. nitrogen/acre credit.)

The guide is located on the feedlot program manure and nutrient management webpage

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Check with DNR about water use permit requirements

dairy water use

Hydrologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are reaching out to livestock operators, county feedlot officers, and various farm organizations about requirements for water use permitting.  A DNR water use (appropriation) permit is required for all users of more than 10,000 gallons of water per day or 1 million gallons per year.

Although water use for an individual feedlot may not seem significant, the water used for washing, watering and sanitizing can be considerable even for small operations. The DNR estimates that only 20 percent of feedlots may have the needed permits. This is partly due to a transitional process as the DNR switches to a new electronic permit system. This system, called MPARS (Minnesota DNR Permit and Reporting System) is accessible 24 hours a day and provides an easy way to access information regarding water use.

The DNR monitors the “balance” or water levels in the aquifer through a series of observation wells. However, water use reporting provides much needed detail on the demands placed on aquifers and how use may affect aquifer levels. Reporting provides insight on how each individual aquifer reacts to different levels of use. Together monitoring observation wells and water use reporting will help ensure a viable continuous water supply for everyone. This is critical since these same aquifers provide water to supply community needs, rural homes, irrigation, manufacturing, food processing and other uses.

Anyone who suspects they might need a permit can visit MPARS (www.dnr.state.mn.us/mpars/index.html) and calculate water use or apply for a permit. For questions on water use, permitting or how to calculate water use, please contact DNR Hydrologists Brent Beste at 507-389-8808 or Anne Nelson at 320-234-2550.

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NPDES and SDS permit annual reports were due March 1

Livestock producers with operating permits are required to submit annual reports by March 1. Those who have not yet sent in reports are urged to so do immediately. Failure to submit the report in a reasonable time may result in an enforcement action from the MPCA. Report forms are available on the MPCA feedlot program website. Links to the form are located on the feedlot program permits and forms webpage. Paper copies of the form may be requested by contacting the MPCA regional offices. The office phone numbers are listed on page 5. All land application records for the 12-month period starting Sept. 1, 2014, through Aug. 31, 2015, must be submitted as part of the report and on the included forms. For farms that do not transfer manure, land application records can also be generated and submitted using the MPCA excel based Manure Management Planner under Create Crop Year Records. A link to the planner is located on the feedlot program Nutrient and Manure Management webpage. Annual reports provide valuable information for determining compliance with Minnesota’s feedlot rules.

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Staff busy processing permit applications and renewals

MPCA feedlot staff are working to keep up with the large number of NPDES or SDS permit applications or renewals. The new State Disposal System permit and the 2016-2021 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit combine to create a large workload in a short period of time. An estimated 1,000 NPDES general permits are being renewed, or in some cases, being replaced with the SDS permit. Livestock producers who have submitted applications but not yet received their operating permits will continue to be covered under their expired permit until the new one is received. Submitting complete and accurate application forms helps to keep the process moving well.

A single permit application has been developed for use when applying for either the NPDES or the SDS permit. The manure management plan, submitted as part of the permit application for either the SDS or NPDES permit, must be done on a form provided by the MPCA. A fact sheet, titled “NPDES and SDS Permits for Feedlots,” is available to assist in determining the type of permit coverage preferred or required for a facility. Forms and factsheet can be found on MPCA feedlot website at: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/quick-links/feedlot-program

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barn vent plume
Early morning sunlight reflecting on plumes from turkey barn vents - Submitted photo

News briefs

County feedlot staff news

Training for new county feedlot program staff has been scheduled for April 26-27, followed by all staff training April 28 at the Days Inn in Hutchinson.

Jonah Olson is leaving the East Polk County feedlot program and will be joining the West Otter Tail SWCD staff.

Turkey growers cautious going into spring

Minnesota’s turkey industry is back at full production. Minnesota Turkey Growers Association executive director Steve Olson says turkey growers are optimistic and cautious heading into spring. "We’re looking forward like this is going to be a typical year, but we’re prepared as if we’re going to have to deal with high path avian influenza like we did last year.” Olson says turkey growers are prepared. “We held a meeting with state agencies last week where everyone got together to talk about the plan if we got hit and the purpose was to identify any gaps and to try to fill those gaps in the next week or so. It was great to have everyone in the same room. It was less looking back and more looking forward at how we’re going to deal with this if we need to again.”  Reported in Red River Farm Network News.

Windom processing plant sale finalized

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor and his partners have closed on the PM Beef plant in Windom, Minnesota.  The new owners will convert the former beef plant to a state-of-the-art pork operation. When fully operational, the plant is expected to process between 4,000 and 5,000 hogs per day and employ around 350 people. Reported in Red River Farm Network News.

Lentsch to lead Midwest Dairy Association

South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Lucas Lentsch will soon relocate to the Twin Cities and take over as the chief executive officer of the Midwest Dairy Association. Lentsch announced this past week that he was leaving the South Dakota Department of Agriculture for a job in the private sector. At MDA, Lentch will succeed Mike Kruger. Kruger has been in that role since 1985 and plans to retire on July 1. Lentsch was raised on dairy farm in northeast South Dakota and has a degree in dairy manufacturing at South Dakota State University. Reported in Red River Farm Network News.

New MPCA advisory committee appointed

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has appointed eight people to his new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency advisory committee. Two of the eight members have a connection to agriculture, Nathaniel Hultgren and Ted Winter. Hultgren is the agronomy director for Meadow Star Dairy at Willmar. Hultgren also farms with his brother at Raymond, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, kidney beans, sugarbeets and alfalfa. Winter is an insurance agent with Farmers Union Insurance and farms near Fulda in southwest Minnesota. Winter spent 16 years in the state legislature, including two years as the House majority leader. The MPCA Citizen’s Board was eliminated during the 2015 legislative session. The advisory committee does not have the authority seen with the Citizen’s Board, but will provide input the MPCA commissioner. Reported in Red River Farm Network News.

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LPE Learning Center webcast March 25

LPE News logo

Veterinary Feed Directive, Antibiotic Resistance, and Animal Agriculture - This webcast will examine the veterinary feed directive and how it impacts animal agriculture as well as discuss the state of the science as it relates to antibiotic resistance. Finally, we’ll bust some myths and review “facts” to keep in mind when chatting with livestock producers and the general public. More... March 25 at 1:30 p.m. Presenters: Dee Griffin, Great Plains Veterinary Education Center, Jean Mclain and Lisa Durso, USDA ARS. The broadcast will be moderated by John Brooks, USDA ARS.

More on webcasts...

Avian influenza

  • A University of Minnesota study looked at some of the causes of the avian influenza outbreak last year. The data indicated that wild birds were likely the initiator of the outbreak and that biosecurity breaches and equipment (like rendering trucks) traveling between farms was likely how it spread from farm to farm. More (article)... | Direct link to study

Farming systems

  • More and more research is looking at the ecological aspect of farming systems with soil health, animal well-being, and biodiversity being among the parameters weighed along with productivity and profitability. This article summarizes a Vermont study that found that managing for biodiversity can benefit farmers. More...

Nutrient management

  • The Chesapeake Bay Commission recently issued a new report comparing Maryland's phosphorus management tool (PMT) to the phosphorus index approaches used by Virginia and Maryland. News release... | View report
  • For the first time, the global nitrogen footprint has been mapped. According to this effort, the United States, China, India and Brazil are responsible for 46% of the world's nitrogen emissions, mostly through their consumption of nitrogen-intensive goods (including animal products). Australia was one of the few wealthy nations that was a net exporter of nitrogen. More... This study was cited in a National Public Radio story on "Why Your Hamburger Might Be Leading to Nitrogen Pollution".

Foaming Manure. Iowa and Illinois researchers took a close look at foaming manure and factors (fiber source and particle size) that lead to this potentially dangerous situation in swine barns. They found that finer particles reduced methane potential while decreased digestibility (bigger grind size and more neutral detergent fiber) increased foaming. There appears to be a strong link between carbon in the manure and foaming. News article... | Journal abstract...

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In the news

Scientists, farmers study impacts of winter manure on watersheds
Ag Week, 3/14/16
Minnesota livestock building expansion projects move forward
Ag Week, 3/4/16

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March 16-17, 2016: Midwest Poultry Federation convention, St. Paul RiverCentre.
March 16: Dairy Day at the Capitol. Minnesota Milk Producers Association

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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.