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On-Farm Field Days as a Tool to Demonstrate Agricultural Waste Management Practices and Educate Producers


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Teaching Best Management Practices (BMP) or introducing new agricultural waste management practices to livestock producers and farmers is a challenge. This poster describes a series of on-farm field days designed to deliver information and demonstrate on-site several waste management techniques, most of them well established in other parts of the country but sparsely used in Idaho. During these field days, Extension personnel presented each technique and offered written information on how to apply them. But without a doubt, presentations by the livestock producers and farmers who are already applying the techniques and hosted each field day at their farms was the main tool to spark interest and conversations with attendees.

Presented by: Mario E. de Haro-Marti

Published in: Education
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On-Farm Field Days as a Tool to Demonstrate Agricultural Waste Management Practices and Educate Producers

  1. 1. Project activities All four programs included an on-farm field day and the development of associatededucational materials. Three of the programs have an on-farm research component. The four programs where we conducted on-farm field days and the activities includedin each program are:a: Dairy manure collection and composting• Demonstrated operation and use of a vacuum manure collection system, manurescraping system, manure separation, hydraulic plume manure transport, andcompost turner system.• How different manure management techniques can be integrated on a dairy.• How to use the manure vacuum, composting turner, and stockpiled beddingcombined to achieve better manure management and improve compostingtechniques and compost quality.Demonstrating the vacuum trailer At the composting yardb: Dairy manure land application• Demonstrated operation and use of a floating manure storage mixer and pump,tanker manure application, and drag hose manure injection system.• Research data was collected to compare odor and ammonia emissions betweenmanure application using sub-surface injection as compared to broadcastingapplication.ON-FARM FIELD DAYS AS A TOOL TO DEMONSTRATE AGRICULTURAL WASTEMANAGEMENT PRACTICES AND EDUCATE PRODUCERSMario E. de Haro-Marti1, Lide Chen2, Howard Neibling2, Mireille Chahine2, Wilson Gray2, Tony McCammon1,Ariel Agenbroad1, Sai Krishna Reddy Yadanaparthi3, James Eells41 Extension Educator, 2 Extension Specialist, 3 Graduate Student, 4 Research Assistant. University of Idaho Extension.Introduction and significance This poster shows a series of Extension and research efforts designed to introduceand locally test proven Best Management Practices (BMP) to dairy producers andcrop farmers in southern Idaho in an effort to increase their adoption and incorporatethose BMP as regular practices in Idaho agriculture. On-Farm field days are a powerful educational tool, offering attendees the opportunityto see first-hand how the presented BMP work, interact with the producers who use it,and share experiences with other producers, educators, agency agents, and otherprofessionals. On-farm field projects also give researchers a possibility to conduct on-farm researchby collecting quality data. Proper design and participation of all parties involved isparamount. Data collected during these type of projects can serve as a stand aloneresearch or, much better, as a tool to help during the educational portion of theprogram during the field day and at further publications and presentations.Project objectives The principle of conducting on-farm research and coupling it with on-farmdemonstrations was applied to four projects. Each project has it own objectives and intended impact, but all of them have incommon the on-farm field day component, an applied research component, and theparticipation of the producer during each step of the project.Project activities (cont.)c: Grapevine prunings and dairy manure composting• Demonstrated three different windrow composting techniques: mechanically turned, staticpassive aeration, and static with forced aeration.• Research data is being collected to determine how increasing the carbon content usinggrape vine prunings and other carbon materials affects the composting of dairy manure ineach system mentioned above.Producer presenting in his barn On-farm composting research and demonstration aread: Mortality and offal on-farm composting• Demonstrated in-vessel forced aerated mortality and offal composting to properly disposeof mortalities and animal processing waste.• One composter is operating at a diversified farm that includes a sheep and goat dairy,and lamb meat processing.• A second composter will be located at a dairy to process calves mortalities. A field dayand data collection will also be included in this project.Project outcomes A common outcome in all four programs was the attendance of producers, andpersonnel from Extension, federal and state agencies, and allied industries. Theirpresence helped us to reach a diverse audience, having a multiplier effect in thecommunity. Specific outcomes for each project include:a: Dairy manure collection and composting: 20 attendees at field day. Improvedcomposting techniques at the host dairy after the program. Based on programobservations, the Extension team obtained funds to develop a Dairy Composting Schoolin Spanish and English for dairy operators to fulfill the urgent need for that type oftraining.b: Dairy manure land application: 10 attendees at field day. Through our researchdata, we demonstrated that the deep injection system produces less ammonia and odoremissions than the manure broadcasting system. Producers were more interested inapplying this technology to reduce their environmental impact and their loss of fertilizervalue in the applied manure.c: Grapevine prunings and dairy manure composting: 50 attendees. Field dayparticipants significantly increased their knowledge on available composting techniques.Several producers showed interest in starting their own systems. We don’t have acomplete dataset yet, but enhanced vine prunings and manure compost windrows areshowing much better performance and they look better than only manure windrows. Anexpected outcome of this program is increased use of composting as an alternative togrape vine prunings’ burning, reducing the impact of the grape industry on air pollution,and improving the characteristics of dairy manure compost in the area.d: Mortality and offal on-farm composting: 40 attendees. Before the program mostparticipants didn’t know that mortality composting was even possible or how to do itproperly. The hosting farmer was so impressed with the composter performance that shestarted a second mortality composter using her own materials. The producer nowdisposes of all her mortalities, offal waste, whey, and other organic wastes through thiscomposting technology, stopping shipments of wastes to the local landfill. Severallivestock producers showed interest in applying this technology on their own farmoperation.Take home message On-farm field days are an excellent tool to include in Extension, research, andeducational programs. Properly planned programs can include on-farm research and field days to increasethe benefits and get a very cost effective use of funds. Producers’ participation at each step of the program is paramount. As well asidentifying new producers willing to host and collaborate with such programs. By seeing the demonstrated techniques first hand, and talking with hosting producers,attendees are more likely to consider the application of those techniques at their ownoperation.AcknowledgementsProjects a. and b. were supported by a USDA-NRCS Conservation and Innovation Grant(CIG). Project c. was supported by a USDA-NRCS Idaho CIG. Project d. was supportedby a University of Idaho USDA-SARE mini grant. We also want to thank all producersinvolved in these projects for their support and openness to work with us, and for theirinnovative spirit. Injection BackgroundAmmonia(mgofNH3-N/m3)Second day sample results from test site Injection BackgroundAmmonia(mgofNH3-N/m3)First day sample results from test site 1020406080100120Background Subsurface Injection Surface BroadcastOdorDetectionThreshold(OU/m3)Test site 1Odor ResultsSiteManurepHManuretotal Nconcentration(mg/L)Manure total NApplicationRate (kg/acre)Site 1 7.4 3433 257Site 2 7.3 3519 265The liquid manure application ratewas approximately20,000 gal/acre at both sitesMortality composter built by Extensionpersonnel (front) and composter built byproducer using straw bailsShowing the dairy calves’ mortality composterInjection of manure using a drag hoseand injector systemData on manure, ammonia and odor emissions