Feeding Management in Nutrition and Nutrient Management for Livestock - Poultry Professionals

Final Report for EW03-003

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $99,635.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2005
Matching Federal Funds: $97,950.00
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $1,685.00
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Lynn Vanwieringen
Washington State University
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Project Information


The Feed Management education project held ten workshops in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon that focused on Feed Management for audiences at the introductory or advanced level. The primary livestock audiences were dairy and beef. During the latter part of 2004 we developed a tool to implement the concept of Feed Management on dairy operations. The development of this tool led us to submit a grant proposal to the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program. In September of 2006, we were awarded a $425,000 grant from NRCS to develop and implement Feed Management nationally according to NRCS Practice Standard 592 – Feed Management.

Project Objectives:
  1. 1. Provide training to Ag Professionals in feed management concepts and practices that minimize the import of nutrients to the farm and provide economic and environmental sustainability

    2. Provide training in the use of computer models and software for strategic ration balancing, whole-farm nutrient balance, and whole-farm economics

    3. Develop educational materials that are specific to the Pacific Northwest regional animal industries while utilizing national curriculum developed to address nutrition in the context of nutrient management


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new guidelines for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO/AFO) in early 2003. Under the new guidelines, CAFO/AFOs will be required to develop a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP). One of the NMPs is a Comprehensive NMP as defined in the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Planning Procedures Handbook (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/afo/cnmp_guide_600.54.html). There are six components of a CNMP: 1) Feed Management, 2) Manure and Wastewater Handling and Storage, 3) Nutrient Management, 4) Land Treatment, 5) Record Keeping, and 6) Other Manure and Wastewater Utilization Options. The Nutrient Management element of a CNMP contains nine components. Nutrient Management Plans have been developed for most of the dairies in WA, OR, and ID, however, the Feed Management component of a CNMP is not part of Nutrient Management Plans in the region. Few other livestock operations (beef, swine, and poultry) in the region have been required to have or have voluntarily adopted Nutrient Management Plans.

Once the new EPA guidelines are adopted and implemented in each state, any livestock or poultry operation which chooses to develop a CNMP, will have an immediate need for an understanding of the Feed Management component of the CNMP. The NRCS has developed one-page facts sheets as an introduction to Feeding Management, but the EPA has no plans for an educational program beyond the fact sheets. The education project in the current proposal will provide needed training for staff of NRCS, Conservation Districts, Nutrient Management Consultants, Nutrition-Management Consultants, and designated Nutrient Management Specialists of large animal operations.

Although NRCS and Conservation District (CD) staff are trained in most components of a CNMP, they have little or no educational background in Feed Management. Nutrient Management consultants also need training in the Nutrition Management of a CNMP. Whereas Nutrition Management consultants have been trained in diet formulation and ingredient management, they are, in some cases, not aware of the most recent information about the environmental and economic merits of the newest technologies. In order to have the greatest impact in the region it is important to reach these professionals who will serve and influence the livestock and poultry producers.

Feed represents the largest import of nutrients to the farm, followed by commercial fertilizer (CAST Issue Paper # 21 – Animal Diet Modification to Decrease the Potential for Nitrogen and Phosphorus Pollution -http://www.cast-science.org/castpubs.htm#animaldietmodif). Feeding Management opportunities currently exist to reduce imports of nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, to most animal and livestock operations. The technologies and approaches to achieve these reductions vary in their degree of economic feasibility and environmental impact. It is important that agricultural professionals understand the degree of success that can be expected both from and economic and an environmental standpoint.


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  • Troy Downing
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Education & Outreach Initiatives



A combination of educational approaches was used during the project and included: workshops, field days, case studies, and computer software training. In addition, fact sheets and presentations from workshops were made available on a website (http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/dairy/joeharrison/).
A module system of education blocks were developed that were tailored to the participant’s previously defined understanding of nutrition and feeding management. This module system included “Feed Management 101” for the participant that wanted to be able to converse about feed management but not be actively making on-farm recommendations. Advanced modules (201 level) addressed applications of feed management strategies with case studies. In addition, the option to receive training in the use of computer models and software for strategic ration balancing, whole farm nutrient balance, and whole-farm economic analysis was provided.

The Livestock Poultry Environmental Stewardship curriculum (http://www.LPES.org) served as base education materials and was with supplemented by University specialists from the region. Additional topics identified by the regional University specialists were: specialty feed ingredients (enzymes, amino acids, organic vs inorganic minerals), and outside sources of minerals (copper in copper-sulfate footbaths). Specific software/computer models that were identified and training provided were: Cornell -Penn-Miner (CPM) ration balancing model, DAFOSYM (model for whole-farm nutrient and economic analyses), whole-farm balance nutrient education tool (WFBNET), and AminoCow.

To accommodate the needs in the three-state region, we held 10 workshops over two years. We found that our greatest success was to partner with Allied Ag industry for meeting topics and advertising and when possible hold workshops in conjunction with other conferences in the region such as the Pacific Northwest Animal Nutrition Conference.

Field Days
We were able to organize one field day in 2004 in cooperation with a county-based conservation district. This event was well attended (~77 people) and evaluations were very positive about its impact to provide valuable education.

Outreach and Publications

The primary education tools used were PowerPoint presentations and Fact Sheets. A list of the fact sheets include (associated PowerPoints are available):

101 - Nutrient Management at the Whole Farm Level – A Dairy Example

102 – Phosphorus on the Farm from Feed Grains and By-Products

103 - Phosphorus Requirements of different species, phytase feeding, and ration formulation

104 – Assessing phosphorus and potassium feeding on Oregon Dairies

105 – Effect of phosphorus supplementation on reproduction – dairy cows

106 - Strategies to increase phosphorus export from the farm

107 - Introduction to Feeding Management, NRCS Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning, and Whole Farm Balance

108 - Effects of Nitrogen and Phosphorus on Reproduction

109 - Importation of Nutrients in Feed Supplements and By-product Feeds

110 - Strategies to increase nutrient export from the farm

111 - Nutrient needs across species with an emphasis on N, P, K and Feeding Reduced nutrients in the diet

112 - Western Washington dairy farm case study –– Focus on grass silage quality and N use efficiency

113 - Computer simulation to Evaluate Farm Nutrient Management

114 - Nutrient Balances and Management Changes on Oregon Livestock Operations

115 - Nutrient Needs Across Species with Emphasis on N, P, and K – Feeding for Reduced Nutrients in the Diet

116 – ID Mineral Case Study

117 – Copper Sulfate Footbaths and Soil-Crop Levels of Copper

118 – Alternatives to Copper Sulfate Footbaths

119 – An Update on Trace Mineral Research

120 - Ammonia Emissions & Management on a Dairy

121 - Developing a Nutrient Management Plan

The following articles were posted to our electronic (web-based) Dairy Newsletter (http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/dairy/)

Washington State Dairy Newsletter October 2005 - Copper Sulfate Footbaths and Soil-Crop Levels of Copper

Washington State Dairy Newsletter May 2004 - 102 - Effect of Phosphorus Supplementation on Reproduction - Dairy Cows

Workshops and Field Days conducted in 2004 and 2005 were:

Five workshops were conducted during 2004
1) Phosphorus Workshop, March 3 and 4, 2004. The purpose of the workshop was to create a greater understanding of phosphorus effect on water quality and phosphorus management alternatives. 37+ attended
2) Feeding Management in the Context of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan, WADE (Washington Association of District Employees) Conference, June 15, 2004. The purpose of this workshop was to create a greater understanding of nitrogen and phosphorus feeding management strategies, and their effects on whole-farm nutrient balance. 9 attended
3) Pacific Northwest Animal Nutrition Conference Post Conference Workshop, Nitrogen Management in a Whole Farm Nutrient Management Context, October 7, 2004. The purpose of this workshop was to create a greater understanding of nitrogen feeding management strategies, and their effect on whole-farm nutrient balance using computer models including CPM ration balancer and IFSM whole farm nutrient balance model. 28 attended
4) Ag and Water Quality in the Pacific Northwest, WIN2ME Workshop, October 18, 2004. The purpose of this workshop was to create a greater understanding of nitrogen and phosphorus feeding management strategies, and their effects on whole-farm nutrient balance. 8 attended
5) Oregon Conservation District employee meeting, November, 2004. The purpose of this workshop was to create a greater understanding of nitrogen and phosphorus feeding management strategies, and their effects on whole-farm nutrient balance. ~45 attended

One field day was conducted in 2004.

1) Bueler Field Day, June 29, 2004, Snohomish, WA. The purpose of this field day was to educate dairy producers and others associated with animal agriculture about nutrient management data collection and data analysis and interpretation, and to discuss grass silage management strategies that impact dairy cattle nutrition. 77 attended

Five workshops were conducted during 2005

1) Feed Management Workshops - Focus on Nitrogen Utilization Efficiency and Hoof Health, August 3, 2005 – Twin Falls, ID, August 4, 2005 – Puyallup, WA. The purpose of these workshops was to create an understanding of mineral nutrition, hoof health, and environmental concerns soil copper buildup (20 people at each location).

2) Nutrient Management Workshop for Beef Feedlots -Focus on Nutrient Management in the Pacific Northwest, August 23, 2005 – Tri Cities, WA
August 24, 2005 – Caldwell, ID. These two workshops were designed specifically for beef feedlot operators and their consultants (3 people attended in WA but represented the majority of the WA feedlot industry, and 20 people in ID)

3) Pacific Northwest Animal Nutrition Conference Post Conference Workshop -
Amino Acid Nutrition of Dairy Cows, October 20, 2005. Boise, ID. The purpose of this workshop was to create a greater understanding of nitrogen feeding management strategies, and their effect on whole-farm nutrient balance using the computer model AminoCow ration balancer (55 people attended).

Outcomes and impacts:
  • The following specific impacts/outcomes (Milestones) were identified by the project team:

    ¨ Create regional-specific Feed Management education materials that complement the National Livestock Environmental Stewardship Curriculum
    ¨ Develop a network of professionals in the region that can assist each other with feed management and nutrient management issues
    ¨ Increase the understanding of the positive environmental and economic role that feed management can play in livestock operations in the region
    ¨ Increase the knowledge of whole-farm nutrient management by professionals
    ¨ Create an awareness and competency with computer tools that are available to assist with evaluation of feeding management and whole-farm nutrient management
    ¨ Increase the adoption of Feed Management and other related practices on livestock facilities beyond the dairy sector

    During the two years of the education project we were successful in achieving all of the Milestones stated above.

Project Outcomes

Project outcomes:

At the conclusion of our workshops and field days we conducted evaluations to learn of our learning impact and seek information for improvement of our educational program. A sample of comments from the evaluations follows:

The evaluations that were completed at each educational event have a question that states 'Please list one or more things that you intend to do in your work as a result of attending this session.' The results listed below are responses that were received at the various educational events, and demonstrate that there was an interest in using the educational information presented.

Advise on diet changes
Check diet and nutrient sources more closely
Change manure handling method
Discuss export options
Ensure all forages get tested for P
Get more local data to better assess situation
Get producers aware of the problem
Keep current on new information being developed
Read up on nutrient management
Work with technical staff in assisting cooperators
Work with producers on feed contributions
Use software of whole farm balance to experiment with reducing N and P
Develop material emphasizing benefits to dairies in balancing nutrients
Try to learn more about nutrient management and feed quality
Learn more about relation between ration and nutrient management economics
Continue to learn more about the topic
Helps me provide more information to other livestock owners
Impart my skill and knowledge to clientele
Promote these principles
Talk to producers more about cropping to P and N levels
Work on own phosphorus issue
Present information in producer newsletter
Write a story
Tell people about the field trip
Try to keep records/better records
Emphasize more testing/use of records
Take more soil samples
More soil and manure sampling
Use less commercial fertilizer
Quicker application/Recommend applying manure very soon after cuttings/seasonal manure applications
Look more at nutrition
Share forage ideas with producers
Ask more intelligent questions of my clients
Keep on with nutrient management
Take a closer look at my own operation
Better management of nutrients and crops


Potential Contributions


Future Recommendations

In 2002 we envisioned a Feed Management Education Program that focused on increasing the understanding of the positive environmental and economic role that feed management can play in livestock operations. This overall vision was achieved during the two-year project. During late 2004 we developed a draft tool that we thought would facilitate the adoption of Feed Management on dairy operations. The tool was designed to be implemented by a consulting nutritionist in cooperation with the dairy producer. After further study of how we might implement this tool in the region, it became apparent to us that the Feed Management 592 Practice Standard had not been adopted in our region, or broadly across the U.S. In early 2005, we decided to submit a Conservation Innovation Grant to NRCS to develop and implement a National Feed Management Program. Faculty from eight Land Grant Universities collaborated and submitted a proposal to “Development and Integration of a National Feed Management Education Program and Assessment Tool into a CNMP.” In September 2005, we learned that we would be awarded $425,000 to develop and implement a National Feed Management Program. That project is currently under development and is projected to be completed by the fall of 2007.

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.