Penn State survey to study nutrient, manure management for horse farms

November 29, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Responding to new demands on Pennsylvania's equine industry concerning nutrient and manure management on horse farms, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is surveying the state's horse-farm owners and managers to gauge their understanding of the challenges of pasture development and manure regulation.

Nutrient management is the process of managing manure and fertilizer to avoid polluting nearby water sources. Horses have been regulated as livestock by the state since 2008, and regulations are being established to include horses under the same nutrient-management regulations as other livestock.

As a result, research is needed to develop recommendations for horse-farm environmental practices. This survey is aimed at determining the horse industry's knowledge of farm best-management practices and how farm owners can best acquire information that could help them adopt environmentally sound production methods.

"We want horse farm owners to feel free to complete the survey and be assured that all information will be kept confidential," said Ann Swinker, equine extension specialist in the Department of Dairy and Animal Science. "It will give Penn State Cooperative Extension a better understanding of how horse farms are managed, as well as how to better inform farm owners regarding these management practices."

Penn State's equine science program will survey horse owners and farm managers in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Equine Council. The Web-based survey will assist the equine industry in disseminating new and emerging information, which may help farm managers make decisions to benefit their horses, their farms and the environment. The ultimate goal is to promote sustainable farm management and enhance environmental health and water quality practices on horse farms.

"It is abundantly clear to me that Pennsylvania's horse farms would benefit from participating in the survey," said Robb Hoffa, Pennsylvania Equine Council president. "We encourage horse farm owners to fill out the study questionnaire."

For more information contact Sarah Worobey at sew5091@psu.edu.

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Last Updated March 21, 2011