The Midwest Manure Summit returns early in 2015. Held the last week in February, this biennial event will attract farmers and agri-business professionals from across the country to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

Leading experts will discuss the latest techniques and methods for handling manure on farms of all sizes. Read below to see a sampling of what’s in store as Progressive Dairyman interviewed presenters scheduled for the morning of the second day of the conference.

In addition to the classroom-style educational sessions, the summit will close with on-farm tours. Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy and Wayside Dairy will welcome conference attendees and give them a firsthand look at their respective manure management systems.

Those interested in anaerobic digestion systems should plan to arrive early. A separate, daylong pre-conference session focusing on this specific type of manure processing will be held at the same facility, the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, on Monday, Feb. 23.

Wednesday morning presentation preview:


Planning a Solid-Liquid Separation System to Meet Manure Treatment and Management Goals

John Chastain

Dr. John Chastain
Associate Professor
Agricultural Waste Management
Clemson University

Why is this topic important?
CHASTAIN: Many dairy producers simply collect and store manure until the time is right to use manure to fertilize crops. However, many dairy producers are considering changes in their manure handling system to facilitate management of phosphorous application, removing solids to facilitate the use of flush systems or to provide solids removal prior to a biological treatment process. There are many solid-liquid separation options available, and like most things, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Not all options will fit into the treatment goals for a particular farm. The last thing a dairy producer wants to do is to make the investment in a new solid-liquid separation system and then later determine that it did not meet the needs of the farm. This presentation will provide information to help producers to select the solid-liquid separation options that will meet treatment goals for their farm.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
CHASTAIN: After attending this presentation, I hope producers will be able to narrow the choice of solid-liquid separation options to a few that will meet farm manure treatment goals. Some producers may become convinced that no solid-liquid separation is suitable to meet the needs for their operation. That could be a very legitimate outcome.

Manure Odor Management

Kevin Janni

Kevin Janni
Professor and Extension Engineer
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering
University of Minnesota

Why is this topic important?
JANNI: Odors, whether pleasant or unpleasant, can evoke strong emotions and stimulate physiological responses. Manure odors are normally considered unpleasant. Dairy operation owners and managers need to be aware of their odor emissions and the impact they have on their neighbors and community. Good neighbor relations and effective communications can help identify when there are odor problems and communicate what is being done to manage them. When considering mitigation practices, owners and managers need to weigh the costs, expected effectiveness and how the practice fits into the overall operation. Dairy producers and managers, neighbors and community leaders need science-based information to make informed decisions; decisions that balance the concerns and needs of neighbors and the community, and the business men and women that own and operate animal feeding operations.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

  • Most odors are comprised of hundreds of volatile chemical compounds, some that are detected at very low concentrations.
  • When managing agricultural odors, it is common to focus on odor frequency, intensity, duration and offensiveness (FIDO).
  • The goal of odor management is to reduce the odor concentrations that neighbors and the public detect to non-offensive levels most of the time.
  • Most agricultural communities and units of government recognize that totally eliminating agricultural odors is not economical, so they strive to develop community expectations and regulations that allow some offensive odors for limited amounts of time.
  • Dairy owners and managers need to identify odor sources and practices that emit odors that can be at offensive levels at nearby public areas and their neighbors’ property and then investigate practices that can reduce the levels or time at offensive levels.
  • There are several effective odor mitigation practices. Practices used need to be effective, economical and fit into the operation’s management.
  • Dairy producers and managers, neighbors and community leaders need science-based information to make informed decisions about odor management and regulations.
  • One of the best online sources of information is the air quality section of the Animal Manure Management eXtension website.
  • The National Air Quality Site Assessment Tool (NAQSAT) is a free, Web-based tool that helps assess the impact of different management practices on airborne emissions from animal feeding operations. NAQSAT is confidential, free and available online.
  • Good neighbor relations and communications can help identify odor problems and communicate to neighbors and the public what dairy owners and managers are doing to mitigate odors and their impact.

DVO’s Ammonia and Nutrient Recovery Technology

Stephen Dvorak
DVO Inc.

Why is this topic important?
DVORAK: When manure breaks down, the nitrogen in the manure is naturally converted to and released as ammonia and nitrates/nitrites. Capturing and recycling the nitrogen before it can be released can help reduce ammonia air emissions, reduce odor, lower nitrogen groundwater infiltration rates and save farmers the cost of purchasing large quantities of nitrogen for plant growth.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?
DVORAK: New ideas concerning nitrogen losses/capture from manure management systems.

Nutrient Recovery Technologies from Animal Manure

Ariel Szogi

Dr. Ariel Szogi
Soil Scientist
Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center

Why is this topic important?
SZOGI: For centuries, manure has been a traditional source of nutrients in agriculture. However, its disposal has become an environmental problem in recent times as a result of increased concentration of animal production within small geographic areas. Manure nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) applied in excess of the assimilative soil capacity have the potential to reach and pollute water resources through soil leaching or runoff. Currently, management and treatment of large amounts of manure is becoming increasingly difficult via traditional land application methods. Yet, conservation and recovery of N and P is a concern in modern agriculture because of the high cost and supply of commercial fertilizers, particularly P, which is extracted from mineral deposits. Therefore, N and P recovery methods are necessary to reduce their excess prior to manure soil application and recover them as valuable products.

What do you hope attendees will take away from this presentation?

  1. New regulations and current trends of animal production concentration may require affordable and environmentally safe technologies for handling excess manure nutrients in the near future. Eventually, economic incentives such as government subsidies, environmental credits and tipping fees may be needed to promote wide adoption and integration of new methods to reduce nutrient pollution from animal production activities.
  2. Description of emerging manure treatment technologies as a product of USDA-ARS research at Florence, South Carolina.
  3. Brief description of challenges and opportunities leading to the integration of N and P recovery methods in manure management systems to maintain sustainability of dairy production while recycling these nutrients into agriculture.

Click here for the complete conference agenda, registration information and travel tips. PD