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Training Manure- and Compost-Spreading Contractors for the Cattle-Feeding Industry in the Texas Panhandle
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Training Manure- and Compost-Spreading Contractors for the Cattle-Feeding Industry in the Texas Panhandle


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Manure and compost companies have strived over the years to provide a service to both feedyards and crop producers in the most cost-effective manner possible. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to environmental impacts, by this important segment of the cattle feeding industry. This project, through training and demonstrations, will establish a program to provide for long-term implementation of best management practices (BMP) to be used during the land application of manure or compost. This will give producers a greater assurance that using manure or compost in their nutrient management programs has tremendous benefits and can be applied in a manner that is protective of the environment.

Presented by: Kevin Heflin

Published in: Education

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  • 1. 213425ftTarp ConfigurationApplication width 40ft00.511.522.51 2 3 4 5 6Tons/acreCompost Application Measurement With Overlap(Application Rate 2 Tons/Acre)Avg of Left & Rright Tarp MeasurementsAvg of Center Tarp Measurements00.511.522.533.51 2 3Tons/acreCompost Application Measurement With Overlap(Application Rate 3 Tons/Acre)Avg of Left & Rright Tarp Measurements0. vs Target Application Rate (Raw Manure)Average 13.3 tons per acre +/- 7 tons per acre (n=18)Targeted 20 Tons/acre applicationTraining Manure- and Compost-Spreading Contractorsfor the Cattle-Feeding Industry in the Texas Panhandle• Pen maintenance isconducted byfeedyard.• Manure loading isconducted bycontractors.• Contractorshaul/spread allmanure & compost.• Average haulingdistance 5-10 miles.• Hauling charge~$0.25 / ton / mile.• Feedyards providehaulers with annualmanure nutrientanalysis.• Feedyards areuncertain as to leveland type of trainingthathaulers/equipmentoperators havereceived.• Custom manure/compost haulers will have an enhanced understanding of surface water quality issues related to manure/compostapplication, to include bacteria and nutrients.• Custom manure/compost haulers will have an enhanced understanding of manure application best management practices.• Operators of manure/compost spreaders will understand the methodologies for field calibration of manure/compost spreadingequipment.• Materials and trainings available in English and Spanish.Project GoalsAcknowledgmentsenvironmental knowledge operator trainingBMP adoptionAssessTrainwater quality conceptsmanure characteristicssampling techniquespreader calibrationDemonstrateagronomic ratesnutrient miningsoil-runoff relationshipsPromotemanure usemachinery managementsoil and manure samplingnutrient balancingThis project is funded by the U. S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency through a Section 319(h) waterquality grant administered by the Texas State Soil andWater Conservation Board.Project personnel wish also to acknowledge thenumerous landowners who have generously madetheir cropland available to us for manure, soil, andwater sampling and for BMP demonstrations.B. Weinheimer1, B. Auvermann2, P. DeLaune3, K. Heflin2, G. Marek4, and M. Rhoades51Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Amarillo, TX; 2Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Amarillo, TX; 3Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Vernon, TX;4USDA-ARS Conservation and Production Laboratory, Bushland, TX; 5West Texas A&M University, Canyon, TX• Application width and overlap are the primary factors influencing “single” passestimates• Compost spreaders typically spread 40ft in a single-pass with 50% overlap on eachpass• Measurements from a single pass will be half the targeted application rate• Compost spreaders use technology to increase the precision of the application.Technologies include• GPS assisted steering• Ground radar for speed control• Load cells to control compost application rateCalibrating Compost SpreadersStep 1. Lay out 28” x 112” tarps in a line with long axis in direction ofspreader travel. The tarps need to start far enough into the field thatthe spreader will be discharging at full capacity by the time you reachthe tarps. Use 5-8 tarps for best results. Secure the tarps with heavyweights.Step 2. Run the spreaderdown the line of tarps, beingcareful not to run tires overthem in any way.Step 3. Approach each tarp with agood quality fishing scale and a secondtarp for weighing. The second tarpshould be clean and square.Step 4. Carefully collectthe manure from thetarp and pour onto theclean tarp.Step 5. Collect the cornergrommets and hang them onthe fish scale. Subtract thetarp weight. Each pound onthe scale is one ton per acre.Single-Pass Calibration Survey ResultsMeasures of Success