Feedlot Update - Sept. 3, 2014

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Feedlot Update

Sept. 3, 2014

UM Extension field days highlight successful dairy systems

schefers dairy

University of Minnesota Extension hosted a livestock workshop Aug. 19 at the Schefers Brothers Dairy, north of Paynesville. It was part of Extension's series of summer field days for successful dairies. Discussions focused on nutrient management including various options and methods to manage total farm nutrient balance, manure management and nutrient runoff. Presentations were given by Jose Hernandez, University of Minnesota Extension livestock nutrient management specialist; Mark Lefebvre, Soil and Water Conservation District coordinator of the MN Ag Water Certification program, Stearns County Sauk River Watershed; and Randy Pepin, U-M Extension educator, livestock systems.

Schefers Brothers Dairy, operated by Ken and Ralph, is located in the Sauk River watershed and is involved in the voluntary Minnesota Ag Water Certification Program. They milk 75 cows in a tie-stall barn. The herd has a rolling herd average of 27,000 pounds milk and more than 1,000 pounds fat. The water quality certification "is a good program," Ken says. "It's a lot in line with what we learned from the Conservation Security Program." The certification process is helping them do a better job of managing phosphorus and spreading manure, and seeing the value of grassed waterways and field borders, Ken says. Photo: Ken Schefers talks about water quality projects on the farm, including a new design of open tile intake management. Created by Agri-Drain, the yellow strips inserted in open intakes slow down the water.

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PCA board votes to require EIS for proposed dairy

The MPCA Citizens' board voted Aug. 26 to require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a proposed dairy in Stevens County. Riverview LLP, which owns and operates eight large dairies in western Minnesota and South Dakota, is seeking a permit for a new facility, Baker Dairy, with a capacity of 8,850 cows and 500 heifers, about five miles southeast of Chokio. The board action followed extensive public comment from area groups and residents concerned about issues such as water use, dust, odor, cumulative effects, and manure management. PCA staff had prepared an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, and initially recommended to the board that an EIS was not necessary. The company has 30 days in which it could decide to appeal the decision. A webcast of the PCA board meeting including the discussion can be found on the PCA Citizens' Board webpage.

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Feedlot staff news

desiree hohenstein

Hohenstein leaving Brown County staff for MPCA Mankato office

The MPCA has hired Brown County feedlot officer Desiree Hohenstein for the vacant feedlot staff position in the MPCA Mankato office. Desiree started with the county about six years ago assigned to wetlands, water plan, and recycling. A year later she added feedlot technician, and began working on education, technical assistance, and site visits. A native of the San Francisco bay area, she graduated from Bemidji State majoring in aquatic biology.

steve schmidt

Schmidt named MPCA feedlot east unit supervisor

Steve Schmidt started July 30 as the new supervisor for the east unit of the MPCA feedlot program. For the past year, Steve has been working full-time on the team working on the agency's change to a new data management system, and he will continue to devote a significant portion of his time to this for the next several months. Previously, Steve was the county feedlot officer in Goodhue County before joining the MPCA feedlot program staff working in the Rochester office.

MPCA feedlot program seeking to fill two vacancies

The MPCA feedlot program has made some staff re-assignments, and seeks to fill two vacancies. Sara Isebrand of the Mankato office and Allie Remer in the St. Paul office will be working temporarily full-time and half-time, respectively, on the agency's data transformation project. Vacancies to be filled are compliance coordinator, and compliance and enforcement position in the Rochester office. Until vacancies are filled and county assignments for MPCA southeast region feedlot staff are confirmed, county feedlot officers should contact their regional office.

Schultz to wrap up level III inventory in West Fork Des Moines

Amanda Schultz has replaced Kiel Tschumperlin in the Heron Lake Watershed District office as the West Fork Des Moines watershed coordinator. She will be doing level III feedlot inventories, finishing the inventories within the West Fork Des Moines Watershed that Kiel had started. Amanda is from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and graduated last May from UW-Stevens Point with a BS in Water Resources. During the summer of 2013 she interned for the Heron Lake Watershed District. Previously, she worked for the Center of Environmental Management of Military Lands at the Fort McCoy Military Base in Wisconsin.

Registration open for BWSR academy

Registration is now open for the Board of Water and Soil Resources Academy. A training event for conservation-based local government staff, the 2014 academy will be Oct. 28-30 at Breezy Point Conference Center, near Brainerd. To view the sessions schedule and descriptions, registration information, and lodging instructions, visit the BWSR website at www.bwsr.state.mn.us/academy

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Extension hosts total tillage solutions field day Sept. 4

jodi-soil trench

University of Minnesota Extension is hosting a Total Tillage Solutions Field Day on Thursday, Sept. 4, south of Appleton. Farmers will have the opportunity to see four customized soil pits that will demonstrate different management techniques. The pits, using backfill of alternating dark and light soil layers, help visualize the impact these implements are having below the soil surface. The pits will showcase 11 different tillage implements, revealing a cross section of the soil and the disturbance each implement creates. Implements will be categorized as shallow (0-4"), medium depth (6-10"), and deep tillage (12-20"). (Photo: Jodi DeJong-Hughes describes soil tillage in a trench at the Aug. 13 Schrunk farm field day north of Canby.)

Two other stations will showcase bio-tillage and the newest applications of drone technology. Directions to the field day from Appleton: take Hwy 119 south eight miles, turn west on CR 28 (300th St.) for three miles and look for signs. The site is hosted by farmer and seed salesman Jeff Olson. There is no charge to attend but viewing space around the field demonstration pits may be limited.

Registration for the day starts at 9 a.m. and discussion and demonstrations will continue until 3:30. Pre-registration is recommended so the field layout can be adjusted to accommodate the number of participants as best possible. To pre-register, call 320-235-0726 x 2001 or email foxxx055@umn.edu. The event will be held rain or shine. If you would like more information please contact Jodi DeJong-Hughes at 320-235-0726 x2006 or email at dejon003@umn.edu.

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MSCA welcomes Ashley Kohls as new executive director

ashley kohls

The Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association announced that Ashley Kohls started Sept. 1 as executive director. She holds a BS in Animal Science from South Dakota State University and brings many years of experience in various sectors of the beef industry including nutrition, reproduction and animal health. Her most recent experience in the food industry also allows her to bring a strong background in food safety and food quality, specializing in HACCP, regulatory compliance and environmental monitoring. Originally from Iowa, she now lives in rural Hutchinson with her husband Craig and two children, Avery (5) and Bennett (2). Ashley and Craig own and operate Kohls Land and Cattle, which consists of a short-term cow program, multiple-yard feedlot and a diversified cropping operation. In her free time Ashley enjoys gardening, fishing and cooking. - MSCA newsletter, 8/7/14.

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Supreme Court to review MPCA-Reichmann case

The Minnesota Supreme Court has accepted a request from the MPCA to review the case involving Reichmann Land and Cattle Company. In a decision filed May 19, 2014, the Minnesota Court of Appeals said that "Reichmann’s winter feeding fields are not a pasture—because its cattle are not 'allowed to forage'—the commissioner did not err by ordering Reichmann to obtain a state SDS (State Disposal System) permit." However, the Court of Appeals denied the agency's argument that the company was a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation as defined by federal rules, and therefore must have a federal NPDES permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System). The Supreme Court also agreed to review the issue of the state 'pasture' definition. The complete text of the Appeals Court May 19 opinion can be found on the Minnesota Appellate Courts case management webpage (case number A13-1461). The Reichmann livestock operation is located in Pope County near Villard.

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Soil and water management key in a changing climate

jeff strock

Water management and soil health are key to future gains in crop productivity in a changing global climate. Managing those effectively also benefit water quality. That's the bottom line from the fifth Soil and Water Management Field Day hosted July 23 by the U of M Southwest Research and Outreach Center. The event showcased research projects on the Brian Hicks farm south of Milroy in Redwood County. "We can't rely on genetics to increase yields," said Jeff Strock of SWROC. "We need more water in the soil profile." Controlled or managed drainage can bring as much as a 45 percent reduction in water and nitrogen losses, he said.

In the effort to combat climate change, agriculture can help by reducing the loss of nitrous oxide, a far more potent greenhouse gas. We need to manage soil and water together, to integrate the carbon, water and nitrogen cycles, said Jerry Hatfield of the USDA-ARS lab in Ames, IA. Presentation topics included: Carbon, nitrogen, water and climate change; drainage water management to meet production and water goals; greenhouse gases and agriculture; and results of a survey of farmers about climate change. 2014 field day proceedings are online at the SWROC Soil and Water Management and Conservation webpage. (Photo: Jeff Strock explains the subsurface irrigation project on the Hicks farm.)

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U of M workshops feature fertilizer value of manure

A series of workshops on the value of manure were presented in August by the University of Minnesota and Summit Livestock Facilities. The Fertilizer Value of Manure Field Days topics included: Value of manure and costs associated with manure removal, manure application systems, factors determining nutrient balance, and brokering the value of manure. There were demonstrations of various manure application systems and visits with representatives of companies that manufacture manure application equipment and related equipment and supplies. The information will help to leverage the real financial value of manure, determine the potential ROI on various manure storage and handling systems, and design and operate a cattle feeding facility more profitability. Copies of the "Fertilizer Value of Manure" report are available by registering online at the field day webpage. The field day presenters were Alfredo DiCostanzo, U of M animal science professor, and Nicole Kenney-Rambo, U of M Extension feedlot educator. A total of 185 producers and livestock industry representatives attended the workshops held in Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, and in Minnesota at Rosemount and Lamberton.

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Helping turkey farmers reduce energy use with LED lighting

Switching from high pressure sodium or incandescent lighting to LED lighting presents the greatest savings opportunity. Local and federal funding is available to help Minnesota poultry farmers move forward with on-farm lighting retrofits. The Clean Energy Resource Team is here to help turkey farmers understand and apply for these funds. Check out the resources below to learn more about LED lighting and available funding, and fill out a form to request assistance when you’re ready.

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Conservation agriculture congress proceedings online

Presentations and abstracts from the 6th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture are now available on the Conservation Technology Information Center's (CTIC) website. The congress took place June 22-25 in Winnipeg. It was hosted by the Conservation Agriculture Systems Alliance, a network of conservation agriculture organizations across North America, with the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) taking the lead for WCCA. The proceedings can be viewed at www.ctic.org/WCCA/Proceedings.

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In the news

Cargill’s corporate responsibility report focuses on company’s role in the global food system
News release, 8/20/14
Gourley’s, DNR lose in Court of Appeals
Long Prairie Leader, 8/27/14
Livestock producers urged to enroll in disaster assistance program by Oct. 1
News release, 9/2/14

New USDA Conservation Partnership Program receives nearly 600 initial proposals
News release, 8/4/14
Emerging biogas industry offers new revenue opportunities for farmers
USDA blog, 8/1/14
Field day highlights manure management, soil nutrition
Agri-News, 8/9/14

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Sept. 17-18: Minnesota Livestock Nutrition Conference, Mystic Lake, Prior Lake.
Oct. 1: Animal Science Conference, MinnWest Technology Center, Willmar.
Oct. 13-15: Minnesota Association of County Feedlot Officers annual conference, Holiday Inn, Alexandria.
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.

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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.

Forrest Peterson
Public Information Officer
MPCA-Willmar office