Reducing the risk of groundwater contamination by improving livestock waste storage
New Mexico Farm A Syst , G3536-7F , 1991

Madison, F.

Storage of livestock wastes involves simply accumulating wastes in some type of structure until the wastes can be land applied. From an environmental standpoint, this waste storage can be either positive or negative. Manure storage can provide environmental benefits by allowing wastes to be stored until they can be safely spread, incorporated in the soil and used by a growing crop. The environmental safety of collecting large amounts of manure in one place for an extended period depends on three things: 1) the design and construction of the storage facility 2) the proper land application of the manure once it leaves the storage facility 3) the physical and chemical characteristics of: the soil and subsurface geologic materials within the storage area; and the soil and subsurface geologic materials of the area to which any runoff might flow Waste storage is an important management option available to livestock producers. Stored manure can be applied to the soil at those times of the year when crops are not actively growing and the soils are open. This allows manure to be injected or incorporated by tillage immediately following application. Handling manure in this way ensures the farmer of the maximum fertilizer value from the waste materials, while reducing risks of groundwater and surface water contamination from the over-application of nutrients. Stored manure can easily be sampled and tested to determine how much nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium it contains. (When sampling manure, be sure to obtain as representative a sample as possible.) This information, combined with a knowledge of the amount of manure applied per acre, enables a farmer to determine whether additional commercial fertilizer is needed to meet realistic crop production goals.