UNL Tours to Showcase Environmentally Friendly Manure Treatment Systems

UNL Tours to Showcase Environmentally Friendly Manure Treatment Systems

May 9, 2008

UNL Extension tours on June 3 and 5 will highlight how Nebraska livestock producers are minimizing their risk to the environment by installing vegetative treatment systems to handle livestock waste. Smaller cattle and cow-calf producers — those with 1,000 head or fewer — make up 90% of Nebraska cattle producers. Often these producers don't have runoff control for their open lots, said Chris Henry, UNL extension engineer.

"UNL Extension is one of the only groups in the country developing and demonstrating solutions for animal feeding operations," Henry said.

Due to the popularity of the tour in recent years, the Vegetative Treatment Systems for Feedlots and Cow-Calf Operations Tour will be offered twice — once on June 3 and again on June 5. Registration is limited to 48 participants per day.

Online registration is available at archive/-/asset_publisher/VHeSpfv0Agju/content/http//afo.unl.edu. The tour cost is funded by a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant and a Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Section 319 grant.

Cattle producers, including cow-calf, those with small feedlots, and especially those considering expanding or building a new feedlot or backgrounding lot, should attend this tour. Others, including natural resource districts, other local and government officials and commodity groups, also are encouraged to attend.

Participants will learn about new cutting edge solutions to open-lot runoff control, what small producers are doing to protect the environment , and see how Nebraska's livestock producers are finding economic solutions to minimize their environmental risk.

The tour will meet at 8 a.m. at the Ramada Inn at Cornhusker Highway and I-80. The coach bus will depart Lincoln at 9 a.m. The first stop will be a 300-head feedlot near Beatrice, where a young producer has used a vegetative treatment system to return to the farm. The next stop, near Adams, includes two systems — a gravity vegetative treatment and a sprinkler vegetative treatment. The sprinkler vegetative treatment system was developed by UNL Extension. This unique system is the only one of its kind in the U.S. The last stop will be near Crete for a cow-calf system, where a vegetative treatment system is used to control runoff from a feeding area devoid of vegetation. This also is a one-of-a-kind system in the U.S.

A vegetative treatment system is used to control and treat the runoff from an open livestock lot. These systems are a substitute for the conventional holding pond. Instead of a pond, producers use an area of perennial grass called a vegetative treatment area.

A vegetative treatment system controls the runoff by consuming the water and using the nutrients in the liquid runoff.

For more information about this or the UNL Extension Livestock Producer Environmental Assistance Project, visit the LPEAP Web site at http://afo.unl.edu.

This voluntary, cost-share project helps producers construct simple, low-maintenance systems, many of which are very economical. Since 2000, at least 60 individual designs have been developed from hundreds of individual site visits.

This project is funded by a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant.

Other project partners include: Nebraska Natural Resources Conservation Service, Little Blue Natural Resources District, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska and UNL Extension.