United States: Advances In Animal Agriculture Part 2

Last Updated: September 2 2016
Article by Nancy E. Halpern, DVM, Esq.

Anyone who works with livestock knows how difficult it can be to manage manure properly from an economic, environmental and animal health standpoint (not necessarily in that order).

28,000 hogs (and their manure) were affected during Hurricane Floyd.

As reported by the NY Times:

"In the hurricane, feces and urine soaked the terrain and flowed into rivers from the overburdened waste pits the industry calls lagoons. The storm killed more than two million turkeys, chickens and livestock in the region, and waste from the farms is expected to keep leaching into the water supply until next spring."

That is why the announcement by BHSL about their ability "to find an economic alternative to land spreading for poultry manure produced in broiler rearing by developing the technology to use the manure as a fuel for energy generation on the farm" is so revolutionary."

"BHSL championed the development of the new rules for on-farm combustion of poultry manure at European Commission level, in close collaboration with the UK and Irish governments, on behalf of the European poultry industry. The resulting rules reclassified poultry manure as a valuable Animal By-Product for on-farm combustion, which meets emissions animal health and human health standards.

BHSL's bio-feedstock energy systems enable chicken producers to safely, securely and consistently produce fuel alongside food."

The ability of livestock producers to contain and utilize manure productively and safely is of paramount importance for animal health and environmental protection.

Other technologies have been utilized to manage manure. For example, "[a]nimal manures from intensive livestock operations can be pelleted to improve handlings and recyclings of embodied nutrients."

Other technologies have been utilized to manage manure. For example, "[a]nimal manures from intensive livestock operations can be pelleted to improve handlings and recyclings of embodied nutrients." Atsushi Hayakawa, et. al, N2O and NO emissions from an Andisol field as influenced by pelleted poultry manure, 2008.12.011. The use of pelleted manure may effect nitrogen levels in the soil, as this report and others have identified.

Concerns about manure are not limited to poultry. EPA regulates animal feeding operations, defined as "agricultural operations where animals are kept and raised in confined situations," because of concerns that "[m]anure and wastewater from AFOs have the potential to contribute to pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus, organic matter, sediments, pathogens, hormones, and antibiotics to the environment." See EPA's website.

According to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC):

"[t]he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008 finalized its regulations under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). The CAFO rule is the most comprehensive federal water-quality regulation ever put on pork producers."

Despite the economic impact this regulation has had on livestock producers, industry associations like the NPPC are committed to continuing "to work with EPA and others to support fair, sound, and practical implementation of the final CAFO rule, including support for the development and use of effective Nutrient Management Plans (NMPs) to guide the land application of manure."

One thing is certain, manure management will also be an integral part of animal agriculture.

Therefore, continued development of advanced scientific technologies to manage manure will help ensure that people and animals are healthy.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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