When you consider the other choices, ‘manure’ is actually pretty refreshing

image of green field and blue water 2Good manure storage improves the health not just of livestock and crops but of waterways, say organizers of a farmer panel discussion at the Aug. 14 Manure Science Review. The panelists, all northeast Ohio dairy producers, will share their plans and practices for storing manure. (Hat tip to George Costanza.) (Photo: iStock.)

Watch: ‘This is food for your soil’

If you’re interested in compost bedded pack dairy barns, University of Vermont Extension has an excellent, straight-from the-farmer introduction to how it works here (video, 6:23). The compost produced by such a system “all goes back to the soil,” says organic dairy farmer Guy Choinere. “This is, for me, a fertilizer factory. It’s producing what I need to grow crops.”

Dec. 5: Compost bedded pack dairy barn workshop at OARDC

OARDC, which is the research arm of our college, will host a workshop on compost bedded pack dairy barns on Dec. 5. Possible benefits of these systems include increased comfort and longevity for the cows and less environmental risk from their manure. The manure is composted (and intensively managed) together with the cows in the barn rather than being turned into liquid manure. The national Cooperative Extension System’s eXtension website has details on how these systems work here.

New ways to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys

A workshop next month in western Ohio aims to clean up Grand Lake St. Marys — and in doing it, give farmers a new source of income. “Turning Manure into Ca$h” features new technologies for turning livestock waste into sellable fuel, fertilizers, and bioresins. It’s on March 8 in Maria Stein, about 10 miles south of the lake. OSU Extension is one of the sponsors. “We have new manure rules in place for Grand Lake, but we still have the same amount of manure, so we need to look at ways of reducing our nutrient loads,” said Jim Hoorman, one of the speakers and an OSU Extension educator in Mercer County. “Farmers can adopt these technologies, sell their manure for a profit, and reduce their nutrients.”