Managing Livestock Manure to Protect Environmental Quality
University of Nebrasak Cooperative Extension EC 02-179

University Nebrasak at Lincoln

Proper utilization of livestock manure is a major environmental concern. Livestock manure has typically been considered a ‘waste product’ of livestock production. A more accurate name for this material is a ‘recycled resource’ from the production of livestock. By managing livestock manure, the producer has a second chance to utilize the nutrients that have already been paid for but not fully utilized by the animal. Collecting, containing, and properly spreading livestock manure will incur additional costs for the producer. However, these costs can be offset or justified by the producer in terms of the yield enhancement and nutrient credits that occur when manure is utilized as a resource. This book covers the land application part of manure management. With increasing regulations, the livestock producer needs to understand the scientific principles that affect manure transformations and how to use these principles to manage the manure for maximum fertilizer value with minimal environmental impact. Improved land application of manure is one part of the solution, but we suggest that the producer evaluate the quantity of nutrients arriving on the farm as feed, animals, and fertilizer compared to the total that is exported. Achieving a nutrient balance will reduce potential environmental hazards often associated with animal agriculture. As the producer begins to think of manure as a resource, rather than as a waste product, it is critical that one understands what quantities of nutrients are available and what effect different manure storage and handling practices have on the nutrient availability of the recycled resource. This publication explains the basic principles related to manure nutrient utilization. In addition, sources and management of odors generated on livestock facilities will be discussed.