Feedlot Update - December 2016

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Feedlot Update

December 2016

Manure land application in winter requires extra care

winter manure land application

Land-applying livestock manure in winter requires much greater attention to locations and weather. And with increasing variability during winter, weather even more so. The main concern comes from insufficient incorporation, and runoff from frozen and snow-covered soil. (See article: "Research shows winter application of manure is a bad idea," from the Conservation Technology Information Center).

For large livestock farms with state or federal operating permits, land application of liquid manure is prohibited after Nov. 30 on frozen or snow-covered soils, unless an emergency application is approved. Solid manure applications must follow permit conditions and their manure management plan. When planning to land apply either solid or liquid manure, applicators should always check soil conditions and weather forecasts. The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture provides a webpage with links to soil temperature sites around the state. (9/20/16 news release: MDA adds to real-time soil temperature monitoring sites to aid farmers in fall fertilizer application).

Regardless of whether or not they have an operating permit, all livestock operations need to follow the Minnesota 7020 rules. During winter land application 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."  (Photo: Brown County, Wisconsin).

Some common sense best management practices include:

  • Manure is applied more than 300 feet from sensitive features including lakes, streams, open tile inlets, sinkholes, water supply wells, mines and quarries, intermittent streams, un-bermed drainage ditches, or public water wetlands;
  • No active snowmelt is occurring that can create runoff from an application field. Active snowmelt is deemed to be occurring if there are two or more inches of snow on the field and maximum temperatures that exceed 40 degrees F. are occurring or are predicted to exceed 40 degrees F. within 24 hours of spreading manure;
  • No rainfall over 0.25 inches is predicted by the National Weather Service with a probability greater than 50 percent within 24 hours of the end of the application period;
  • Slopes should be less than or equal to six percent on the entire portion of the field where manure is land applied.
  • Water or ice should not occupy tillage furrows to the extent that additional snowmelt or precipitation cannot be contained between furrows or in other depressional storage areas within the field.

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NPDES, SDS permit annual reports due March 1

For feedlots with NPDES or SDS operating permits, it's not too soon to start thinking about annual reports due March 1, 2017. The form is available on the MPCA feedlot webpage. We encourage everyone filing to download the document (wq-f3-22b), fill out the Word version, and e-mail the completed report as a PDF document. Cover letters that accompany permits include the e-mail address of your MPCA staff contact, or call your MPCA regional office for the e-mail address to use. Paper copies of the form may be requested by contacting the MPCA regional offices.

All land application records for the 12-month period starting Sept. 1, 2015, through Aug. 31, 2016, 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. Failure to submit annual reports by the March 1 deadline may result in an enforcement action from the MPCA. 

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Stop by the MPCA exhibit at Pork Congress Jan. 17-18

2016 pork congress

MPCA feedlot program staff will be attending an exhibit at the 2017 Pork Congress Jan. 17-18 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Recently, they also attended the Minnesota Milk Expo Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in St. Cloud, and annual conference of the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Dec. 5-6 in Bloomington. Feedlot program staff are available to distribute informational handouts and answer questions. Forms, factsheets, and record-keeping sheets are available along with tips on how to use. Everyone is welcome stop by to see what's new or just to chat. We'll be in booth 328 at Pork Congress. In a new event for the MPCA, feedlot and watershed program staff will also be having an exhibit at the winter education meeting of the Minnesota Independent Crop Consultants Association Feb. 2 in Hutchinson. Photo: Desiree Hohenstein points out the delegated county map to 2016 Pork Congress visitors.

Top SWCD award goes to Pope County

Among awards presented at the MASWCD conventinon, the SWCD of the Year award went to Pope County SWCD. The Outstanding District Employee award and Outstanding Supervisor award went to Melissa Barrick-Crow Wing SWCD Manager, and Clark Lingbeek-Cottonwood SWCD Supervisor and MASWCD Soutwest Area 5 Director, respectively. The Minnesota Outstanding Conservationist award went to Rick and Marlene Schlichting of Rice, nominated by Benton SWCD. The MPCA presented the Community Conservationist award to the city of Deerwood and Summer Place Association, and Katie Kaz of Miller Hill Mall in Duluth. 

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Winter grazing workshop highlights value of cover crops

winter grazing 2016

A group of 40 landowners, farmers, ranchers, and professionals gathered at a workshop Dec.13 in Starbuck hosted by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and the Pasture Project to learn more about soil health and soil building with cover crops, livestock, and winter grazing systems. (Photo by Rebecca Wasserman-Olin.)

Dr. Allen Williams of Mississippi spoke on the basics of soil biology, soil systems, and how working with cover crops, with or without livestock, contributes significantly to the long term health, productivity, and stability of our soils. He talked about the effects of tillage, bare soil, and limited crop rotations and how they are impacting our soil’s ability to absorb water, provide nutrients, and have healthy biological communities that support healthy crops and livestock.

Kent Solberg of the Sustainable Farming Association discussed the finer details of using cover crops in western and central Minnesota, including varieties for specific farm goals (such as forage, soil building, weed suppression, erosion control, hardpan breakup, etc), equipment ideas, timing, and grazing. LSP also presented their Cropping Systems Calculatorwhich allows farmers to compare the finances, using their farm numbers, of up to six years of different crop rotations, including perennials and grazing scenarios.

During lunch, chili made with local grass-fed beef, attendees asked questions of Allen and Kent, as well as Dan Jenniges, the local farmer hosting the field visit of the afternoon, and Lisa Scheirer of MPCA who was there to clarify MPCA’s feedlot and winter grazing rules and regulations.

After lunch the group braved 20 below windchills and ventured out to the Jenniges farm to look at the more practical details of a winter grazing/winter feeding system. Details included a flowing water system and a plan to move the feeding area every 3-4 days in order to distribute nutrients on a field with poor soils. The field had been in a cover crop mix that had been grazed off, providing approximately ten days of feed. Everyone learned valuable information about soil systems and health, as well as grazing and cover crops in our specific bioregion. - Robin Moore, Land Stewardship Project

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Agreement with EPA to realign feedlot inspection focus

Each year the MPCA is required by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to inspect at least 20 percent of the large feedlots in Minnesota with federal operating permits, which is about 260 farms. Currently, there are about 1,100 large Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in Minnesota. To better align with its goals, the MPCA feedlot program seeks to shift some of those inspection resources to small and medium feedlot inspections.

In an agreement with EPA, the MPCA plans to realign is inspection resources to 150 large CAFOs, 10 large CAFOs that transfer all manure, and 23 medium and small Animal Feeding Operations in specific watersheds related to Watershed Restoration and Protection Program Strategies and Total Maximum Daily Load reports. Reasons for reducing the number of inspections at large CAFOs include: All must prepare and maintain a manure management plan, many are total confinement turkey and hog farms that present a lower risk to the environment. Realigning inspection resources will help the agency do a better job achieving its clean water goals.

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News briefs

Al Langseth takes feedlot officer post in Carver County

Al Langseth is leaving Nobles County for the feedlot officer position in Carver County where he started working Dec. 5. Carver also has a new manager for the Environmental Services Department, Greg Boe.

2017 MACFO conference April 11-13 in Moorhead

The 2017 annual convention of the Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officer is scheduled for April 11-13 at the Courtyard Marriot in Moorhead. From now on the convention will be held in spring instead of the fall as it has in the past. MACFO represents the 52 counties delegated to administer the 7020 feedlot rule except for farms with state and federal operating permits for farms with more than 1,000 animal units.

U of M seeks manure management-water quality specialist assistant professor

The Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota seeks an extension specialist and researcher in the area of manure management with a focus on protecting water quality. This is a nine-month (B-term) tenure-track appointment at the rank of assistant professor with duties divided between Extension (60%) and research (40%). Minimum qualifications include a Ph.D. in soil science, agronomy, environmental science, animal science, biosystems engineering, or closely related discipline by date of appointment. The position is available March 1, 2017; review of applications will begin Jan. 20. Detailed benefits information is available at:  http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/benefits/index.html.  Apply on line via the Employment System at http://employment.umn.edu. The system job number for this position is 314369.

First breeding bull introduced to Minneopa bison herd

The first breeding bull has arrived at Minneopa State Park near Mankato, bringing to 15 the number of bison at the park, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The yearling bull comes from Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and spent a month quarantined at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Eleven bison were reintroduced to Minneopa in the fall of 2015. The herd expanded to 14 with the birth of three calves in 2016. It’s hoped the newly-acquired bull will successfully breed bison cows within the existing herd, strengthening the herd’s genetic similarities with its free-ranging ancestors from two centuries ago. - DNR news release  

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Board of Animal Health reports highlights from 2016

The Minnesota Board of Animal Health’s 2016 Annual Report revolves around themes of progress and protection. Focuses of the year include: a new executive director, a renovated Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory (MPTL), new leadership in partner agencies, the discovery of Senecavirus A in Minnesota swine, and recovery from 2015’s avian influenza outbreak. Read the Board of Animal Health’s full report on our website. You’ll discover budget details, annual testing and inspection results, and a letter from the new executive director.

HPAI response team meets Dec. 14 in Willmar

Members of the Minnesota highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) response team attended a review and planning meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at the Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory in Willmar. The team consists of state and federal employees working in areas related to animal health. The Board's incident commander, Dr. Greg Suskovic, worked with government agencies and poultry industry partners to review how Minnesota will respond if HPAI is detected. It was also a chance to see some new tools available to poultry producers, like the University of Minnesota's Poultry Disease Planning Tool.

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MPCA revisits environmental worksheet for proposed hog farm

Following public comments and before a public meeting Dec. 12 in Zumbrota, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) staff revised the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) for a proposed large hog farm. About 60 citizens attended the meeting, many expressing concerns about the Circle K Farms proposal for a 4,700-head hog farm near Zumbrota. The MPCA explained the agency’s responses to public comments and the changes made to the EAW since it was issued for public comment in September 2016.

MPCA staff are preparing the final decision-making documents for the Circle K Farms EAW, prior to its next stop, the MPCA commissioner. After reviewing the final documents, responses to comments, and list of updates to the EAW, the commissioner will decide whether a more extensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is needed.

Many of the citizens’ concerns were received during a 30-day official public comment period ending Oct. 5. Issues receiving comments included: Number and distances of nearby residences, areas of porous karst geology, manure storage and management, and impact on wells and groundwater.

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In the news

MDA awards $2 million in Livestock Investment Grants
News release, 12/9/16
Public brings questions to MPCA hearing on proposed hog facility
Rochester Post-Bulletin, 12/13.16
Large Minnesota feedlot approved by county
Alexandria Echo-Press, 12/20/16
MPCA responds to concerns about proposed hog farm near Zumbrota
Kenyon Leader, 12/20/16

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Jan. 12-13, 2017: Organic agriculture conference, St. Cloud.
Jan. 13-14, 2017: Minnesota Elk Breeders Association conference, Arrowwood, Alexandria.
Jan. 17-18, 2017: Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center.
Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2017: International Poultry Production and Processing Expo, Atlanta, GA.
Feb. 2: Minnesota Independent Crop Consultants Association winter meeting, Hutchinson.
Feb. 22-23: Midwest Manure Summit, Green Bay, WI.
March 13-14: North Central Avian Disease Conference, St. Paul RiverCentre.
March 14-16: 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.