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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Manure Collection and Distribution on Wisconsin Dairy Farms

Authors
item Powell, J Mark
item Mccrory, Daniel - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
item Jackson-Smith, Douglas - UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY
item Samm, Heather - UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2005
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Livestock operations in the US need to know the amount of manure produced on their farms, and the amount of manure collected and available for land-spreading. Much information is available to calculate manure production, but little is known about the types and amounts of manure actually collected on typical dairy farms. We discovered that less manure is collected in the hilly southwest (56% of total annual herd production) than in the undulating south central (72%) or the flat northeast (68%) regions of Wisconsin. Collection of lactating cow manure is lower from stanchion (66% of total annual production) than free-stall (89%) housing, and lower on farms having small to medium herds than on farms having large herds. Farms having small to medium herds might require assistance in managing manure in outside confinement areas to reduce the risk of impairing surface and ground water quality.

Technical Abstract: Manure management plans require knowing the amount of manure produced, collected and available for land-spreading. Whereas much information is available to calculate manure production, little is known about the types and amounts of manure actually collected on typical dairy farms. This study of fifty-four representative Wisconsin dairy farms showed significant regional, housing and herd size differences in collection of manure from lactating cows, dry cows and heifers. Significantly (P<0.05) less manure is collected in the hilly southwest (56% of total annual herd production) than in the undulating south central (72%) or the flat northeast (68%) regions. Collection of lactating cow manure is significantly (P<0.05) lower from stanchion (66% of total annual production) than free-stall (89%) housing, and significant (P<0.05) positive relationships were found between the number of lactating cows a farm keeps and the percent manure collected. Average annual manure nitrogen (range of 116-846 kg N ha-1) and phosphorus (range of 24-158 kg P ha-1) loading rates in areas where manure goes uncollected was highest in un-vegetated barnyards followed by vegetated and partially vegetated outside areas. Once uncollected manure was accounted for, average annual loading rates on cereal cropland ranged from 128-337 kg ha-1 of manure N, and from 45-139 kg ha-1 of manure P. Compared to adjacent cropland, the accumulation of uncollected manure has vastly increased soil test P, potassium (K) and organic matter levels in outside areas. Manure management on Wisconsin dairy farms with small to medium herds might require assistance in managing manure in outside confinement areas to reduce the risk of impairing surface and ground water quality.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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