Manure Nutrient Recycling and Environmental Assurance

Final Report for ENC01-060

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2001: $75,075.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2004
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Natalie Rector
MSU Extension
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Project Information

Abstract:

Manure Nutrient Management Education is vital to Michigan Agriculture. Twelve local projects, ranging from on-farm demonstration plots to field days to class room training events were conducted by MSU Extension Educators. Training for Extension and other agency persons has maintained a consistent message to all livestock producers. This has resulted in on-farm changes include record keeping, manure and soil testing, manure spreading plans, calibration, conservation setbacks and buffers, collection of silage leachate and much greater attention to field applications of manure. This is leading to greater protection of our water resources, recycling of manure nutrients and success in developing comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP).

Project Objectives:

The Manure AOE has utilized these SARE funds in several different avenues.

No. 1: Funding mini-grants to agents to implement a project in their local area. This has taken the form of field tours, on farm plot demonstrations, and/or classroom meetings. All of this activity has been reported in previous annual reports and is included here at the end.
No. 2: Curriculum development, specifically educational materials for agents to use with producers
No. 3: In-service training sessions where agents can learn to use the materials mentioned above.
No. 4: The ability of agent to attend national meetings for professional development and future contacts and resources.
No. 5: Hiring of an assistant for educational deliverables to both CNMP providers and farmers of the state.
Objectives:
The attached Logic Model represents the original objectives. Below are the revised objectives as per June 2003:

The deliverables include:
►Classroom education for agents, NRCS, groundwater technicians and private consultants that increase the comfort level of these professionals in discussing nutrient recycling of manure to crop production.
►Classroom and in-field sessions to improve professionals’ understanding of the sensitivities of surface and ground waters to nutrients from mismanaged manure. Increase their skills in implementing production and management actions to curb these concerns, e.g. cover crops, tillage, residue, grassed water ways, buffers and setbacks.
►Develop and implement a CNMP at the MSU Kellogg Biological Station Dairy Farm to serve as a model site for training professionals in CNMP development, for on-site field and surface water assessment related to nutrient loading, for classroom training and for what it means to be environmentally assured through the new MAEAP program in Michigan.
►Develop training materials to achieve the above.
►Attend out of state training events and network with other similar programs in neighboring states.

Education & Outreach Initiatives

Objective:
Description:

One page fliers and handouts have been developed on:
Calibration, Silage management to decrease leachate, record keeping sheets in English and Spanish, Capturing land-applied manure in the root zone, and outdoor lot management to decrease runoff.

Many articles have been written and printed in the media including:
The Michigan Farm Bureau News, special feature page for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) #
The Michigan Milk Messenger, the publication of the Michigan Milk Producers Association
The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association trade magazine
The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program newsletter
The MAEAP quarterly newsletter
Hoard’s Dairyman
The Farmers Advance
The Michigan Dairy Review (peer reviewed)
MSU Extension Field Crops Advisory Team Alerts
General local media
Examples of these are attached.
Topics included: silage leachate reduction, soil testing, manure applications ranging from nutrient management to winter spreading to tile line issues.

MSU Bulletins co-authored include:
Capturing Land-Applied Manure in the Root Zone Series (2004)
AEIS 668: Sediment and containment Runoff
AEIS 669: Tile-Drained Lands
AEIS 670: Spreading on Frozen and Snow-Covered Ground
Purdue and MSU series, Best Environment Management Practices: Manure Nutrient Recycling, co-authored with Al Sutton, Purdue, (2002)

Outcomes and impacts:

A. Training for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Providers:

1. A major goal of the Michigan Agricultural Environment Assurance Program (MAEAP) is to create a new consulting business that provides CNMP development services. MSU Extension is looked to for leading this educational effort.
Toward this, the following efforts have transpired:

3-day CNMP plan provider course. Offered in September 2002, January 2003 and November 2003. 176 attended, including NRCS employees and engineering and agronomy consulting business persons. The class is sponsored by MSUE but approved by NRCS and MAEAP. There are 6 MSUE person’s involved in the planning and teaching of this program: Lyndon Kelley, Marilyn Thelen, Dann Bolinger, Dr. Bickert, Dr. Rozeboom and Natalie Rector. In-class work assignments are utilized to help the participants learn how to use the information. A very thorough notebook of materials is organized with relevant materials for. 80% of the power point handouts are included in the notebook prior to the training, so that the training is not disrupted by constantly handing out materials. Ratings from this class tend to run in the 93% indicating the overall class ranked a 4 or 5 out of a one to five scale, with 5 being excellent.

Impacts:
1a.) In November 2004, Michigan teamed up with the national CNMP curriculum (and that 3-day training was held in Indianapolis reaching 65 nationwide). This is the fourth consecutive year that MSU Extension has been involved in a national CNMP training, in both a planning and teaching mode. This has developed into a CSRESS 406 grant, headed by Dr. R.T. Burns, Iowa State University, for national CNMP curriculum development (project in process).

1b.) Another impact of this has been the involvement of Dr. Dale Rozeboom in teaching at the CNMP class. He then took over the semester class offered to students at MSU, teaching them the components of CNMP development. Many of the same presentation and presenters from the 3-day class assist in this class. The fall 2003 class had 18 students, probably 6 of whom worked on CNMPs for their home farms and the fall 2004 class, with 12 students, again, about 6 doing CNMPs on their home farms.

1c) Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans are required by DEQ for 1000 animal unit and larger farms and for Natural Resource Conservation Service cost share funds. Since 2002, MSU Extension’s lead in educational efforts in cooperation with NRCS, MDA and DEQ has generated 21 trained and certified CNMP provider with 12 more in process to become certified. Producers in Michigan now have access to trained professionals to assist them in meeting new requirements. Seven people have begun new consulting businesses; three existing agri-businesses have devoted at least one staff person to work on CNMPs; Two existing engineering consulting firms have certified CNMP providers in Michigan; 5 persons have completed the certification process as requirements of their job but do not provide the service for hire. 125 NRCS and or Conservation District employees have also passed through the training as part of their job requirements. It is estimated that 300 farms in the state have been served by this consulting industry. Farmers have paid from $1000 to over $10,000 for their CNMPs, some have been cost shared through NRCS, to a maximum value of $4000 each.

2) Additional training events for CNMP providers that has led to the above impacts includes:
Follow up trainings to CNMP providers have occurred. They include one-day trainings on:
· Purdue MMP software: taught six different times, reaching 85 people with hands on computer training
· Nutrient Management training, equivalent to Module 7 at NRCS: Created and customized for Michigan, was taught two times, three days each time, for 98 people. This is a requirement for non-Certified Crop Advisors in Michigan to gain CNMP certification.
· MSU E has assisted in coordination of several other trainings such as RUSLE II, Wind erosion and the Manure Application Risk Indicator in concert with NRCS.
· Coordinated the first ever CNMP providers meeting, just for certified providers in the state to hear and update and get to know each other better. 30 attended. Much networking of plan providers is occurring as they share their expertise to get the CNMPs completed.
· A quarterly newsletter and email updates are sent to all persons who have attended any of the above trainings.

3) A sample dairy CNMP had been developed, edited several times, in concert with NRCS, and available in paper or web format at www.maeap.org

Impact:
Having a sample to go from will reduce frustration, improve accuracy and speed up the process. We are already seeing CNMPs being turned in that are more complete, better organized and with better data in them due to following the sample CNMPs.

4) Computer software to improve both the accuracy and efficiency of CNMP development has been a high priority but one long in the making. The Michigan DEQ granted $10,000 to a project specific to contracting with a computer programmer to develop output data from the existing Purdue Manure Management Planner (MMP) software. The out put creates pertinent data for the CNMP, aides the provider in generating comparison values. It is output into a Microsoft Word template, which is then easily edited and added to by the plan provider. This has been over a year in the making as it took a committee to decide just what data is important, how it should be calculated etc.

Impact:
$10,000 was leveraged and this template is a huge improvement for people developing plans. Hundreds of hours have been saved by plan providers, creating less cost to producers. Data can be easily and quickly edited and output is more accurate.

B. Manure Tour 2003:
Summer on-farm tours have become well received in the state and a valuable tool to reach producers about manure management. A Mid-Michigan Manure Management Field Day was held June 26, 2003 at Green Meadow Farms, Elsie, Michigan. Green Meadows is a well known farm in the state, looking at many new technologies to deal with manure. The program was a representation of a MSUE led partnership with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), North Central Region SARE funds, and local industry through a planning committee and financial support. The one-day event’s theme was “Issues of Today & Technology of Tomorrow.” The “issues of today” addressed were associated with field application of manure including the proper crediting of manure nutrients in a cropping system, appreciating the dollar value of manure nutrients, and avoiding discharges to surface water from field applied manure. The technologies experienced by participants at Green Meadow Farms included using a system approach to managing and handling manure, utilizing constructed wetlands for treatment of nutrient laden wastewater, and the chemical treatment of manure to remove nutrients from the liquid stream. MSU research was highlighted through the technology portion while touring the associated facilities on the farm. Participants also were able to visit with more than 20 manure related service providers who were also sponsors of the event.

Impacts
More than 320 farmers, agribusiness persons, and agency personnel participated in Manure Tour 2003. A post-event evaluation revealed the following:
· 61% feel more comfortable about crediting manure nutrients as fertilizer in a cropping system
· 67% have a greater appreciation for the dollar value of manure
· 78% have a greater understanding of the risk to surface water from field applied manure
· 52% are more likely than not to implement practices to reduce risk associated with winter application of manure.
· 56% are more likely than not to improve or implement practices to reduce risk associated with applying manure on tile drain fields.
· 79% are more likely than not to consider the impact of manure management when making decisions in other areas of manure management
· 74% are more likely to consider non-traditional new and innovative manure management technologies in future decisions.
· Farmers in attendance represented more than 26,000 dairy cows and 55,000 hogs (nearly 9% of all dairy cows and 6% of all hogs in the state of Michigan).

C. Assisting Livestock Producers to Complete Manure Management System Plans in Small Group Sessions:

Livestock and poultry producers are under increasing pressure from the general public, elected officials, regulatory agencies and environmental groups to do a better job of managing manure. Producers asked Extension for help to diffuse this pressure. Extension’s response was a series of small-group workshops held across West Michigan that provided one-on-one assistance to producers in developing farm-specific Manure Management Systems Plans. The resulting plans met Michigan Right-To-Farm guidelines, thus helping producers gain protection from nuisance lawsuits. These plans also helped producers determine if they had enough land base to apply all the nutrients they generate on the farm and explore their options if they were out of balance.
Thus far 64 plans have been written in Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo and Kalamazoo Counties. This number includes plans written for producers who did not attend the workshops, but requested plans anyway. If Kent, Montcalm and Ionia are factored in, that number approaches 100. This encompasses work coordinated and conducted by Extension Agents: Charles Gould, Ira Krupp, Bill Robb, Paul Wylie, Fred Springborn and occasionally, a few other agents helped out. Private consultants, NRCS and Soil Conservation District employees also helped at many of the sessions. The following are impacts of this program:

Impacts as a result of the workshops:
· Two Ottawa County dairy farmers have agreed to be cooperators in phosphorus plots this spring because they did not believe our recommendation that they could reduce/eliminate P application on corn and still maintain yields.
· Some of the producers attending these workshops were not “traditional” Extension clientele. Relationships of trust were developed where invitations were extended to agents for follow-up farm visits.
· A closer working relationship has developed between Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Conservation District.
· The list of farmers completing Manure Management System Plans (MMSPs required for Right to Farm Nuisance Protection and considered the precursor to CNMPs) was given to the MAEAP Environmental Specialist for Ottawa and Muskegon Counties. He has visited them and will be working with NRCS to develop conservation plans for some of them.
· Producers have indicated an interest in pursuing a CNMP after completing a MMSP. Currently two Ottawa County producers are in various stages of CNMP completion.
· At least 7 farmers have purchased MSUNM, a computerized record keeping program for manure.
· Three area horticultural nurseries, that use turkey manure as a fertilizer and a soil amendment, have developed Nutrient Management Plans.

D. Several of the mini-grants that were funded to agents for previous projects can now look back and see the impact of these efforts. Complete list of mini-grants is found Appendix A. Here are a few of the impacts:

Impacts:
A family dairy operation located in Ottawa County, milks 450 head and raises corn silage, grain corn and alfalfa hay over 1,223 acres. Working with Charles Gould, Ottawa County Extension Nutrient Management Agent, they recently completed a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan. As a result of following the CNMP recommendations, the farm reduced the amount of commercial fertilizer purchased for the 2001 growing season by $20,000. No phosphorus was purchased for any of the ground and only the recommended amounts of nitrogen and potash were applied. They also implemented a record keeping system. In January, NRCS will begin
developing a conservation plan for the farm. Finally, the producers are currently working on receiving the “environmentally assured” designation from the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program. When asked about the impact on yield by following the recommendations in the plan, the farmer replied that yields were maintained, for the most part, on all fields. Where yields were down, the farmer attributed it to weather-related reasons, not because there were insufficient nutrients to make a crop.

Extension Agent Rich Hodupp looks back on the producers he has worked with and can now see the following changes that will greatly improve surface water quality:
Buffer strips have been installed around a feed lot to deter runoff.
A direct discharge of beef feed lot runoff to the county drain has been corrected
A catch basin for silage leachate has been installed to reduce this potential threat to surface waters.
A producer has gone from ignoring dead animals to burying them according to the Bodies of Dead Animals act in the State of Michigan.
A manure storage structure has replaced the practice of pushing manure out of the barn and into an old depression area.

Extension Agent Tom Rorabaugh demonstrated the improvements possible with fencing livestock out of the creek and installing a controlled crossing and watering area. Since that demonstration one Amish producer has installed a similar system, another person is planning to do the same, and two others have fenced livestock out of creeks.

E. Curriculum Development:

Power point presentation have been developed, reviewed by several people, including some reviewed by NRCS, and speaker notes developed. These have been made available for agent use around the state and also at some of the MAEAP Phase I programs. Presentations have addressed the priority issues of:
Outdoor open animal lots
On farm record keeping
Assessing land base for P balance
Capturing Manure Nutrients in the Root Zone: Surface spreading of manure, including winter spreading and spreading on tile drained fields.
Value of manure
Manure utilization on fruit and vegetable crops: accounting for the nutrients
Whole farm, ration balance to estimate P in manure
Assessing a farm for direct discharges

The Dairy Team at MSU focused their annual regional meetings on manure (January-February 2004), including the topics of Capturing manure nutrients in the root zone, Phosphorus Rations for Dairy that reduce the excreted P in manure and Milking Center waste water management.

Educational news articles have been well received and printed in Michigan. A lot of this is due to the MAEAP partners, such as Michigan Milk Producers, Michigan Pork Producers and Farm Bureau having excellent publications and a strong commitment to extend the information on manure to their producers. Articles that have been well published include the subjects of:
Silage leachate, outdoor lots, pre-sidedress nitrate soil testing, A springtime checklist for producers, Myths about manure (encouraging the nutrients to be considered fertilizer) and the new permit system.

The PI of this grant has used the power points (customized for the specific audience) and or handouts at these meetings:
· 4 regional MSUE/Michigan pork producer meetings in the state, March 2002 reaching 200, distributed manure sampling bottles and record keeping books to 100.
· Late summer field tours 2002: tours in Marion, St. Johns, Litchfield and Bad Axe highlighting manure calibration, manure testing, field nutrient rates etc. reaching 550.
· Feb 2003, Branch County Farmers day and Ag Action Day in Kalamazoo 33 total
· March 2003, Agriculture Conference on the Environment (ACE), breakout session reaching 120 at a conference that drew 600 participants.
· May 2003, was invited to serve on a National NRC evaluation panel to review three manure management soft wares. There were 17 people from the U.S. who served on this committee, convening in Washington, DC, with only about 2 Extension people invited. This has also been beneficial in working on the template CNMP version generated from the Purdue MMP.
· Manure tour 2003: over 350 attended this tour held at Green Medows Farm, Elsie Michigan (highlighted in detail above)
· May 2003, World Pork Expo’s Pork Academy on “Getting ready for a CNMP” to 35.
· July 2003, MSU Ag Expo, field demonstration on Manure calibration, 98 people.
· Oct. 2003, MDA and DEQ in service for regional field people, 65.
· October 2003, Taught at the National CNMP training In Knoxville, TN in November. 80 people present from 27 states plus Puerto Rico and Korea.
· December, 2003, Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo 25 people
· January/Feb. 2004, Dairy Road Show, 5 regional workshops around the state, 200.
· March 1, 2004, St. Joe County Farmers Day, 26 people
· January 2005, Huron Conservation District meeting, 35 producers.
· February 2, 2005, Southwest Michigan Hort Day, 23 fruit and vegetable producers interested in manure applications for nutrients.
· Feb. 3, 8, 10, 2005 Regional CAFO meetings with DEQ, 379 producers and ag industry attended.
· March 22-24, 2005 Nutrient Management Training to 28 NRCS and Conservation District employees.

F. Agent in-service training:
Power points developed for these trainings were provided, generally with speaker notes, to the agents in attendance or upon request.
· April 22, 2005, Update on livestock regulations to MSU Extension, Teaching and Research Faculty and county educators, 100 expected.
· February 22, 2005; Inservice on manure nitrogen credits to reduce fertilizer purchases.
· March 7, 2005, Inservice for agents on the climate of Michigan partners with regard to livestock farms.
· November 2003, a manure Nutrient Management Inservice was held for Extension agents and specialists. Even fruit and vegetable agents are now interested in the issue of manure management as their producers are looking to use more manure and or diversity their operations with custom finishing livestock facilities. 40 people.
· The Farm Management Agent In-service included a segment on land base needs of a farm considering expanding to bring in a son and family. 23 attended.
· November 2002: Manure Management-New and Emerging Technologies. 33 attended. Two guest speakers were brought in for this event: Dr. Peter Wright, Cornell, and David Schmidt, U of Minn.
· April 2002: Phosphorus Inservice related to soil tests, environmental protection and manure management guideless for a P based standard in MI. 43 attended.
· Oct. 2001: 2 hour training update at Fall Extension conference on manure related programs. 27 attended.
· Sept. 2001: Inservice on sand bedding and Siting of Livestock Facilties. 28 attended.

G. Outreach to producers and industry
One page fliers and handouts have been developed on:
Calibration, Silage management to decrease leachate, record keeping sheets in English and Spanish, Capturing land-applied manure in the root zone, and outdoor lot management to decrease runoff.

Many articles have been written and printed in the media including:
The Michigan Farm Bureau News, special feature page for the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) #
The Michigan Milk Messenger, the publication of the Michigan Milk Producers Association
The Michigan Cattlemen’s Association trade magazine
The Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program newsletter
The MAEAP quarterly newsletter
Hoard’s Dairyman
The Farmers Advance
The Michigan Dairy Review (peer reviewed)
MSU Extension Field Crops Advisory Team Alerts
General local media
Examples of these are attached.
Topics included: silage leachate reduction, soil testing, manure applications ranging from nutrient management to winter spreading to tile line issues.

MSU Bulletins co-authored include:
Capturing Land-Applied Manure in the Root Zone Series (2004)
AEIS 668: Sediment and containment Runoff
AEIS 669: Tile-Drained Lands
AEIS 670: Spreading on Frozen and Snow-Covered Ground
Purdue and MSU series, Best Environment Management Practices: Manure Nutrient Recycling, co-authored with Al Sutton, Purdue, (2002)

Examples of outreach materials are found in Appendix B.

H. Professional Development opportunities
Dr. Minn, MSU Forage Specialist, to attend a manure field day in Michigan
Dr. Minn, MSU Forage Specialist, to attend a Manure Technology training
Dr. Minn works in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and it is a 750 mile round trip to attend events in the lower Peninsula and requires at least one over night expense. The SARE funds have been very helpful in keeping Dr. Minn in touch with the rest of the Manure AOE team and related events. We benefit as much as he does from his attendance and participation at training events.

Paul Wylie, MSU Extension Agent in Allegan County, attended the National Poultry Waste Management Symposium, October 28-29, 2002 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Michigan has a small and very localized area of poultry producers. Mr. Wylie is the ag agent that serves these producers. Comments from Mr. Wylie on the trip: “The most interesting thing I learned from attending the Symposium was the increasing regulatory concern about air quality and emissions from poultry and livestock farms. Science and industry are already developing strategies to cut emissions with feed changes, litter treatments and bio-filters for building air exhaust. An idea that I gained at the Symposium is to have animal industry associations recognise selected farmers for environmental stewardship. In other states, these farmers have served as examples to other farmers, created good public relations and had high credibility with regulators trying to fashion farm environmental regulations. I will propose to the MI Allied Poultry Assn. to create a biannual award for environmental stewardship.”

Rich Hodupp, Gratiot County Crops Agent and Dr. Tim Harrigan, MSU Ag Engineering, set up a small group inservice to Canada to learn more about manure regulations and site specific manure application equipment. They visited a manure application research and demonstration site, an equipment manufacturer and a supplier of irrigation equipment for manure application during the two day trip. Two county agents and three campus specialists attended.

Charles Gould, MSU Extension Manure Management Agent attended the Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling conference in Madison, Wisconsin, November 18-20, 2002. Mr. Gould has a keen interest in Composting manure and cacasses and in anaerobic digestion. This conference allowed him to make contacts with several individuals that expanded his professional development skills in this area.

Natalie Rector, MSU Extension Nutrient Management Specialist, attended the International Symposium addressing Animal Production and Environmental Issues, Oct. 3-5, 2001 in North Carolina. This lead to a contact at the University of Tennessee, which has lead to joint teaching at CNMP courses between Michigan and U of T.

Natalie Rector, attended the National Waste Management symposium in North Carolina, October 2003.

Natalie Rector attended the three-state (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan) Preferential Flow conference, November 2004 in Columbus.
Impacts: Writing of a 3-state grant request on preferential flow is in progress as of March 2005.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:
On-farm local projects with producers

Local projects: (All of these were reported in annual reports)
The Manure AOE formed a committee and process for a portion of the SARE funds to be redistributed to local county projects. Twelve projects were funded via this method. They are as follows:

Dairy Manure Nutrient Management in Rye Cover Crop Following Potato Production in the Upper Peninsula Region. Dr. Doo-Hong Min, MSU Extension Forage Specialist

This on-farm trial was conducted at the potato farm where dairy manure is available. The project site is located in Perkins, Upper Peninsula, Michigan (zip code: 49880). This farm has applied dairy manure to the fields on a week basis in the winter where winter rye was planted. The following spring, the winter rye was killed and plowed down into the ground and potatoes were seeded. The objective of this project was to determine if application timing of dairy manure affects the potato yield and soil nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus. Twelve different timings of manure application were compared.
Potato yield was not affected by different application timings of dairy manure. As well, there was no difference in soil nitrate nitrogen and phosphorus from different timings of dairy manure application. This indicates that fall and winter application of dairy manure is an acceptable practice in this farm. This also implies that winter rye as a cover crop played a key role to reduce the environmental impacts such as surface runoff, erosion and leaching processes.

Cattle in the Creek Demonstration Site: Tom Rorabaugh, MSU Extension Director in Mecosta County, MI.

A demonstration project was implemented in an Amish community to show an NRCS designed, limited access crossing to area producers. Electric watering is not feasible due to religious beliefs and pasturing all livestock is generally practiced. The watering/crossing site was implemented by MSU Extension in cooperation with NRCS design standards. Once implemented, a tour was held (October 29, 2002) in Morley, Michigan. Also on the tour agenda were topics on: Reducing erosion and nutrient loading in surface waters, Extended grazing season with forage turnips, new grazing type reed canary grass varieties for wet soils and Kura Clover for a long lived legume forage species. 40 attended, reaching Amish, NRCS, MDA, SCD Groundwater Tech, MSU Campus Specialists, Extension agents and producers. A neighboring county agent is doing similar projects as a spin off of this demonstration.
As a followup to the tour, several of the Extension Agents wrote an article for the Michigan Shepherds News, Dec. 2002. This article was a hard hitting message for producers to clean up their act and work toward building positive community relations via following and demonstrating sustainable farming practices. (attached in written report).

Preparing Livestock Producers and Agribusiness Persons for Eventual Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) Compliance: Richard Hodupp, Gratiot County Field Crops Agent.

This agent has been attending trainings on the specifics of CNMP development and working with producers to help them be prepared for developing one, if that is their goal. In Michigan, the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) is encouraging livestock farms of all sizes to develop CNMPs.
The project began with a two day manure management systems plan development workshop where 7 livestock producers received one-on-one assistance. Using the producer’s information on livestock numbers, nutrient output for the whole farm is calculated and compared to the cropping plan and soil tests. Other issues of surface water quality and Michigan Right to Farm conformance is stressed. From this event, the agent has been “tracking” five livestock farms in his area. Below are comments from Mr. Hodupp on the impact to the producers:
Recordkeeping: All are doing a “better job” of written recordkeeping. Two are using recordkeeping sheets. Others are using the small recordkeeping booklet developed with funding from a variety of sources. Recently when I visited one farm, the farmer’s son was so “proud of their recordkeeping” that he went to the tractor and retrieved the documents to “show me” that they were actually using them. Two farms are in the process of completing a CNMP. Three farms are completing an MMSP. Seeing the “book values” of the manure helped participants recognize the fertilizer value of the manure instead of looking at it as a waste materal. One farmer stated, “I know I need to do better job of keeping records, this has helped motivate me to do it.”
Manure Sampling: All are “in the process” of getting their manure samples analyzed.
Transfer: One farmer commented, “I didn’t know the spreader weighed so much!” (14,000 lbs. actual when weighed vs 5,000 lbs. to 6,000 lbs. estimated)
Application: All of the participants are now trying to place the manure where it is needed instead of on the fields close to the barn. Participants are focusing upon placing the manure on ground going to corn instead of soybeans to take advantage of the nitrogen value. One farmer has become more aware of the ditch banks breaking away and getting them repaired so manure cannot get washed into the ditch.
Savings: As a result of working on an MMSP, all of the participants believed they would be able to reduce fertilizer costs. This included nitrogen as well as phosphorus. Actual dollars saved has not been documented. Although, the Michigan output from the Purdue program has caused producers to look at manure nutrient values as “real dollars” when making a decision to allocate manure to certain fields.

Reducing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Fertilizer Use on Manure Applied Corn Fields Using Diagnostic Tests: George Silva, MSU Extension Field Crops Agent for Eaton County.

The agent in this project worked intensively with three livestock producers on nitrogen and phosphorus management of manure for their corn production. Manure samples and soil tests were detailed to develop fertilizer recommendations. Record keeping is being strongly encouraged and several of the producers are utilizing a computer record keeping system to help them better manage nutrients on a field by field basis.

Bio-gas Prducion from Animal Manure and other Organic Wastes: George Silva, MSU Extension Field Crop Agent for Eaton County

This Extension Agent teamed up his interest in Bio-gas and an international experience to India into a self directed study program that will culminate in outreach to Michigan producers. His international experience can be reviewed at http://www.msue.msu.edu/intext/biogas article.htm
The agent has done a literature review and developed a power point presentation to help encourage the economically viable opportunities to produce biogass on small scale livestock farms using state-of-the-art digesters.
He has reviewed reports from the Michigan Biomass Energy Program, Midwest Energy Research Center and Michigan Case studies relating to anaerobic digestion and compiling a list of digestor system designers, important web-based resources, sources of funding for producers, consultants and equipment suppliers, and other pertinent information for Michigan residents interested in exploring biogas production. He plans to collaborate with these agencies to promote biogas production and its use in the mid-Michigan area. He is making arrangements to attend a biogas production training session with two livestock producers and two MSUE agents for participatory extension and learning. Following the training session these two producers are expected to take the leadership in educational outreach.

Training Farmers and Agribusiness in Manure/Nutrient Management Planning: Paul Gross, MSU Extension Director for Isabella County.

A series of four training sessions were held in February 2002. The sessions were designed for participants to learn more about manure management on their farms and learn about MEAP, GAAMPS, manure management system plans, and the comprehensive manure management plan process. There are six farms that participated in all four sessions. Two additional farms have been added to the program. The goal of each farm is to develop a manure management systems plan for their farms.
The first session was for introductory information and we proceeded with the group to gather data from their farms using the tri-fold information sheets. The following sessions were hands on with farmers entering their farm data into computers.
It has been interesting working with this group of farmers as they gather data and begin putting a plan together. They are finding their application rates and production are not what they figured.
We are still working with this group and will meet again this fall after harvest to complete some of the loose ends as the plans come together. Manure samples are being taken to get accurate information for the plans.

Practical Application of Manure Mangaement Strategies on the Farm: Marilyn Thelen, MSU Extension Field Crops Agent and Michigan Dept. of Ag MAEAP Technician Clinton County.

Clinton County is one of seven counties identified as a priority for manure management programming. Working with MSU-Extension, NRCE, Clinton CD, the host farmer and local Ag consultant several projects were accomplished related to manure management:
Field Day – Host Nobis Dairy – 48879
Manure Tour 2002 – Practical Implementations of Modern Manure Management was held August 20 at Nobis Dairy. Several stations were set up around the farmstead to address; PSNT, Phosphorous, Open Lot & Silage Run Off, Silage Leachate, Phosphorus Research Plot, Nitrogen Demonstration, Field History and application equipment. Based upon registrations an estimated 45 farms comprised of approximately 17,500 dairy cows, 1,000 hogs, 1,500 steers/heifers and 1,000 sheep along with 23 businesses, organizations, & agencies were represented among the 150 persons in attendance. An informational handout used at the field day was developed to highlight the take-home messages that presenters wanted farmers to remember.
A written evaluation showed that the majority of attendees increased their understanding of current and future manure management expectation; increased their ability to credit manure for crop production; will explore ways to improve conservation practices; will work to decrease runoff; improved knowledge about EQIP funding; and will pursue efforts in manure planning.
The Manure Tour 2002 was a joint project of Clinton County MSU Extension and MAEAP. Sponsors and partners for the event included: Greenstone Farm Credit Services, Clinton Conservation District, USDA-NRCS, Bader & Sons Company, Central Dairy Supply, Harvey’s Milling Co., Inc., Les Miller & Sons Sand & Gravel, Mid-Michigan Boumatic, Misenhelder Welding, Inc., Wirth and Fedewa Construction, Aerway Independent Ag & Equipment, Agri-Business Consultants Steve Wagner, Berlyn Acres, L.L.C., Community Electric, Dennings and Associates, Roger Dennings, McConnell Farm Supply, Inc., Michigan Farm Systems, Inc., Thelen Ag Products, Inc.
Phosphorous Plot – Cooperator Nobis Dairy – 48879
Nobis Dairy was the cooperator for a starter phosphorous research trial.
Is additional Phosporous needed for corn silage if soil test phosphorous is over 40 ppm? Tri-state Fertilizer Recommendations says NO! However, many producers still feel there is an advantage to using a starter fertilizer on these fields. Larry Nobis, farmer cooperator, identified a field with 45 ppm phosphorous. Then we had three replications of either 10-34-0, 3 gal./a. or no starter fertilizer. The purpose of the experiment was to determine if there was a response to added phosphorus when 10-34-0 is applied as a starter fertilizer at planting. Whole corn plant samples were taken on June 24. The samples were analyzed for: fresh weight, dry weight, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc and manganese. Although there was a small amount of purple on the leaves of the corn where no starter was used, there was not a significant difference in any of the parameter measured. Corn was harvested as silage on September 6. There was no difference in yield. Conclusion, there was no advantage to starter fertilizer with soil test P at 45 ppm.
RUSLE/MARI: A key goal in for the summer was to develop a practical method for evaluating manure application risks on fields using RUSLE and MARI. MARI is Michigan’s Manure Application Risk Index for winter spreading. The summer intern worked jointly with the MAEAP Specialist to evaluate 2800 acres of cropland. As a result a MARI-RUSLE Data Collection Sheet was developed to aid in efficient data collection and data entry. An Excel spreadsheet was developed to calculate RUSLE for all fields on the farm. This information has been presented in two training sessions and is being shared with CNMP plan providers at both the three day training (Sept. 2002 and Jan. 2003) and one-day updates (Nov. 6, 2002).
Student Intern: The student intern was a valuable contribution to the team that was working on manure management programs. She was very knowledgeable about crop production and agronomics and played an active roll in all the projects mentioned above. This person is working on a Crop and Soil degree at MSU and may prove to be an excellent future Extension agent or NRCS DC.

Building Skills in Forage and Pasture Management: Bob Battel, MSU Extension Field Crops Agent for Branch and Calhoun Counties:

The Forage Area of Expertise team at MSU conducted a two-day workshop in November, 2001 designed and presented by agents and campus specialists. The audience consisted of 15 NRCS employees, agri-business, and other agency persons. Part of the training was on pasture management as it relates to manure nutrients and environmental protection. SARE funds help fund a portion of this agency training event.

Assisting Producers to Complete Manure Management System Plans (MMSP) in Small Groups Sessions I Ionia and Montcalm Counties: Rebecca Mitchell, MSU Extension Dairy Agent:

From January to April 2002, five one-on-one workshops were conducted in Ionia and Montcalm Counties. Agents, NRCS staff and private consultants, worked individually with livestock producers to develop a MMSP that would keep them in conformance with the MI Right to Farm Guidelines. The Purdue MMP software was utilized to help producers gain insight into their nutrient production by livestock and utilization by crops.
Twenty-five producers were personally assisted. This one on one process is a hugh learning experience and is more valuable since it relates specifically to the producers home farm situation. Here are comments from the agent in reflecting on producer impacts: “One of the most interesting things that has come out of our manure programs has been the breadth of impacts we’ve had on producers. For some, we’re just getting them to take soil tests. For other, we’ve linked them with NRCS to begin designs of manure storage structures. One farm in particular was hesitant about delving into his manure management practices. But after the workshop he is working to complete a CNMP. He also requested a farm visit by the ag agent to speak with his employees who operate the manure equipment. He has hired a consultant to work on the CNMP and cooperative efforts between Extension, NRCS, the producer and the consultant continue.

Assisting Livestock Producers to Complete Manure Management System Plans in Small Group Sessions in Allegan, Barry, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa Counties: Charles Gould, MSU Extension Manure Management Agent.

This project was accomplished by a team of 4 core agents and involved both winter meetings and summer fields days.
During the winter of 2001-2002, Michigan State University Extension sponsored a series of small-group workshops to assist farmers in Michigan to develop Manure Management Systems Plans. These plans helped farmers comply with Michigan Right-To-Farm guidelines, maximize nutrient use by growing crops, cut commercial fertilizer expenses and reduce the potential for pollution to the waters of the State. Farmers indicated their manure management skills, knowledge and confidence increased as a result of attending these workshops (statement based on statistical analysis of survey results from participating farmers). During the winter of 2002-2003, follow up visits will be made to find out how farmers used their plans and what impact it had. This information will be used to increase adoption of Manure Management Systems Plans by other farmers.
One of the outgrowths of completing these plans was the realization by farmers that they could no longer apply manure to fields exceeding 300 pounds of phosphorus/acre and meet Michigan Right-To-Farm guidelines. Land application of manure is currently the primary method farmers use to utilize manure produced on the farm. Removing this option means farmers have to get rid of the manure some other way. Farmers expressed a strong interest in identifying and determining the feasibility of using alternative sustainable manure treatment methods (i.e. composting, anaerobic digestion, etc.) to help them manage manure that can no longer be land applied. As a result of these expressions for assistance, letters of inquiry were sent to five foundations seeking funding for a statewide comprehensive compost marketing assessment. Such an assessment is the first phase of a two-phase project exploring the feasibility of a regional facility that composts manure and agricultural by-products (i.e. vegetable and fruit culls, old hay, corn stalks, sawdust, etc.). One foundation, the Frey Foundation, responded aggressively with a request for a proposal for this project. If fact, the submittal deadline was extended one week to allow time for the proposal to be written in the proper format and sent in. We will know if the proposal was funded in February.
Another impact of these workshops is illustrated in the following story. A West Michigan poultry producer owned some land a dairy farmer wanted to rent for manure application. The poultry producer told the dairy farmer that the land would be rented to the first person that could show him a manure management plan for that field. The dairy farmer called his local Extension agent and requested help in developing a Manure Management Systems Plan for not only this field but for his whole farm. Information on completing a Manure Management Systems Plan was given to the dairy farmer and he is working on it now.

Field days were held at the Wedeven Dairy in southern Ottawa County and Windy Acres Farm in northern Muskegon County. Thirty-two people attended the Ottawa County field day and 36 attended the Muskegon County field day. The purpose for the field days was to help farmers manage phosphorus in manure and soil so that the potential for water pollution is reduced or eliminated. Activities and topics discussed included such things as developing a manure spreading plan, manure spreader calibration, visual examples of various manure application rates, phosphorus movement in the soil, taking reliable manure samples, developing a Manure Management Systems Plan and promoting MAEAP. A survey was handed out to participants at both field days. The survey results indicated a few things about those who attended. First, they came because they wanted to be proactive towards manure management. They indicated they were interested in trying some of the practices being demonstrated or talked about on their farms. Second, they learned most about developing a manure spreading plan. That is important because it reflects the natural thought progression of producers in Southern Ottawa and Northern Allegan Counties towards manure management and validates all of the work that has been done with them over the past year in particular. Third, producers indicated the practice they already do is reduce phosphorus application. I think this reflects the work that has been done by Extension in previous years and also the current economic climate in the US. Finally, producers indicated they were confident five practices (MAEAP, manure spreading plan, spreader calibration, manure sampling and reducing starter phosphorus) would work on their farm.
During the various manure application rates demonstration at the Ottawa County field day, one producer admitted to applying manure at the 3x rate. The 3x rate was a very graphic example of over-application of manure. After having seen that, he realized he was applying way too much manure on his own fields. One person told me later that she watched him as he came to that realization and she could see the “light bulb” come on. In the Muskegon County field day, perhaps the greatest impact was on the field day host when his MMSP was completed and given to him. He did not realize he had some water quality issues that need to be resolved, and so he is now working with NRCS to correct those problems. The corn plots were harvested and there were no statistically significant differences between the phosphorus and no phosphorus plot yields. We therefore conclude it would have been better for the farmer to not have purchased phosphorus and instead, pocket the money spent on phosphorus fertilizer. There was sufficient phosphorus in the soil.

Sand Bedding: Sampling to Determine Where the Manure Nutrients Are Located: Natalie Rector, MSU Extension Nutrient Management Specialists.

Sand bedding provides many benefits to cattle, but a problem for determining where the nutrients are when the manure is spread. Several agents, a grad student and Dr. Bickert, MSU Ag Engineering, developed a sampling protocol for agents and farmers to follow. Agents were asked to gather stratified manure samples from sand laden manure as the manure was being hauled to the fields. Five farms have been sampled and results are inconclusive. Since most producers tend to “top off” the liquid fraction of the manure and only haul the sand fraction once a year, we will sample again next summer to gain more consistent data.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.