Penn State's 2010 Manure Expo to balance conservation, production

University Park, Pa. -- Manure management is a critical issue for livestock operations and has become a priority of conservation and nutrient-management activities. To help manure handlers adopt new technologies and best-management practices, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences will host the 2010 Manure Expo, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 15, 2010, at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs.

The expo's theme, "Balancing Production and Conservation," addresses how manure handlers must navigate federal, state and local regulations, public perceptions and scrutiny, and economic pressures, while trying to make the most of an important natural resource, said expo coordinator Robert Meinen, senior extension associate for Penn State Cooperative Extension.

"This event offers a forum for the manure-handling industry to interact with the companies that provide equipment and services to highlight the latest technologies, practices and knowledge related to manure management," Meinen said. "It will include side-by-side equipment comparisons, commercial field demonstrations, vendor displays and educational sessions that focus on optimization of manure nutrients. We also will provide information on such value-added systems as biogas production and separating solids for bedding."

With the rapid expansion of reduced tillage and no-till methods, livestock producers face unique hurdles.

"Adopting no-till can be particularly tough for a livestock farmer," said Doug Beegle, professor of soil fertility at Penn State. "If a farmer can't incorporate his manure into the soil, he risks losing nitrogen to the atmosphere and phosphorus in run-off as well as upsetting neighbors with offensive odors and flies."

Beegle noted that manure injection can help manage run-off, but hasn't caught on in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states as it has in other regions. Fortunately, new injection and improved incorporation methods offer new options for farmers across the Northeast. "Figuring out how to work these methods into our local farming systems is an ongoing effort," he said.

"Today's manure application technologies are increasingly creative, diverse and specialized," said Peter Kleinman, soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. "We have units that inject manure with no steel implements and units that will place dry manures, such as litters and composts, into shallow furrows much like liquid manure injectors. The expo will allow farmers, custom applicators, conservationists and the general public to see these technologies perform side-by-side."

Adding value to manure -- from composting to solid/liquid separation to digesters -- will be a major theme at the expo, which will feature the most recent and complete information on storage and handling technologies, covering subjects from economics to farm infrastructure.

"In a quickly changing regulatory landscape, manure handlers must not only comply with state nutrient-management regulations, but also federal air-quality regulations and local nuisance ordinances," Meinen said. "Some changes represent opportunity, particularly the advent of nutrient trading credits that may help to fund certain manure-management activities."

More information about the 2010 Manure Expo is available online at http://www.das.psu.edu/2010manureexpo, by calling (814) 863-2263, or by sending e-mail to manureexpo@psu.edu.

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Last Updated October 02, 2009