Dairy Manure Storage Covers

      Photo3 Positive air pressure (inflated dome) manure storage cover. Source: Ted Funk, University of Illinois.
      Category:  Ammonia Control
      Practice Type:  Management
      Landuse/Agriculture Type:  Animal Confinement
      Climatic Zones:  Temperate, Tropical, Semiarid
      Regions:  North America, South Asia, Europe
      Pollutants Treated:  Nitrogen (Ammonia)
      N Efficiency1:  15%

      Description: Covers in the form of permeable plastic can be used to cover liquid dairy storage. These covers create a physical barrier that prevents mass transfer of volatile chemical compounds from the liquid by decreasing wind velocity (decreasing surface area), and reducing radiation onto the manure storage surface (lower temperature). Covering liquid manure helps slow down the rate of ammonia losses. The fertilizer value of the manure is increased while the ammonia loss pathway, which can eventually redeposit nitrogen onto land and surface water, is minimized.2

      Implementation Considerations: Covers are particularly useful in warm weather when ammonia emissions are higher. Use of covers decreases evaporation, requiring either more frequent pumping or larger storage capacity.

      Scalable to small farms? No

      1 "Documentation: Source Data, BMP Effectiveness Values." Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool. Web. 2013. http://casttool.org/Documentation.aspx .

      2 Simpson, Thomas, and Sarah Weammert. "Developing Best Management Practice Definitions and Effectiveness Estimates for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed." Chesapeake Bay Program. Dec. 2009. Web. June 2013. http://archive.chesapeakebay.net/pubs/BMP_ASSESSMENT_REPORT.pdf.


      Dairy Precision Feeding and Forage Management

      Photo54 To preserve the nitrogen content of manure for fertilizer, Agricultural Research Service dairy scientists are helping farmers to choose the right feeds for cows and are developing tests to analyze for manure nutrients. Photo by Keith Weller. Photo courtesy of USDA ARS.
      Category:  Manure Management
      Practice Type:  Management
      Landuse/Agriculture Type:  Animal Confinement
      Climatic Zones:  Temperate, Tropical, Semiarid
      Regions:  North America, South Asia, Europe
      Pollutants Treated:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment
      N Efficiency1:  24%
      P Efficiency1:  25%
      S Efficiency1:  N/A

      Description: Dairy precision feeding manages the quantity of nitrogen and phosphorus fed to dairy cattle in order to minimize the excretion of nutrients. It involves precision formulation of feeding programs based on confirmed nutrient analysis of feed, forages, and by products for the best use of available nutrients.2

      Implementation Considerations: Cattle should be weighed frequently to ensure growth targets are hit. Cattle of the same size should be grouped together so that larger cattle cannot prevent smaller cattle from accessing feed. Bunk space is critical. Heifers need 14" to 24" of feedbunks pace per animal from 4 months to 22 months of age.

      Scalable to small farms? No

      1 "Documentation: Source Data, BMP Effectiveness Values." Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool. Web. 2013. http://casttool.org/Documentation.aspx .

      2 Simpson, Thomas, and Sarah Weammert. "Developing Best Management Practice Definitions and Effectiveness Estimates for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sediment in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed." Chesapeake Bay Program. Dec. 2009. Web. June 2013. http://archive.chesapeakebay.net/pubs/BMP_ASSESSMENT_REPORT.pdf.


      Dry Detention and Extended Detention Basins

      Photo11 Photo of a dry detention pond designed to temporarily detain runoff during storm events.
      Category:  Detention
      Practice Type:  Structural
      Landuse/Agriculture Type: 
      Climatic Zones:  Temperate
      Regions:  North America
      Pollutants Treated:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment
      N Efficiency1:  20%
      P Efficiency1:  20%
      S Efficiency1:  60%

      Description: Dry detention basins are depressions or basins created by excavation or berm construction that temporarily store runoff and release it slowly via surface flow or groundwater infiltration following storms. Ponds remove suspended particles via settling. Any plants may further reduce velocity to help with settling. Nitrogen and phosphorus are also removed via settling of particulates and from plant uptake. The basins are designed to dry out between storm events, in contrast with wet ponds, which contain standing water permanently. The surface of the basin often consists of grass or can consist of concrete or some other liner. Structures to reduce flow velocity such as rock berms may also be included. Basins may also have belowground tanks that temporarily store stormwater. 2

      Implementation Considerations: Dry detention basins provide little habitat value.

      Scalable to small farms? No

      1 "Documentation: Source Data, BMP Effectiveness Values." Chesapeake Assessment Scenario Tool. Web. 2013. http://casttool.org/Documentation.aspx .

      2 Estimates of County-level Nitrogen and Phosphorus Data for Use in Modeling Pollutant Reduction Documentation for Scenario Builder Version 2.2." Chesapeake Bay. Dec. 2010. Web. May 2013. http://archive.chesapeakebay.net/pubs/SB_V22_Final_12_31_2010.pdf.


      Dry Straw Based Manure Storage

      Photo55
      Category:  Manure Management
      Practice Type:  Structural
      Landuse/Agriculture Type:  Animal Confinement
      Climatic Zones:  Temperate, Tropical, Semiarid
      Regions:  North America, South Asia, Europe
      Pollutants Treated:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment

      Description: A dry straw based manure storage facility is a type of animal waste storage system. Manure is mixed with straw to make the mixture stackable and able to absorb excess moisture. This mixture is kept in a large stacking facility that may be roofed or unroofed, usually with sidewalls and a concrete floor. Dry straw based manure storage helps retain nutrients and lowers runoff potential.1

      Implementation Considerations: If runoff from the facility occurs, a cover or a system to treat the runoff should be established. To minimize the effects of storage facilities on nearby water bodies, animal waste management systems should not be located in flood plains.

      Scalable to small farms? Yes

      1 "Best Management Practices, Today's Agriculture: A Responsible Legacy." Nutrient Best Management Practices. Web. Aug. 2013. http://dda.delaware.gov/nutrients/D17762BestMgmtbklt.pdf .


      Ecological/Organic Production Systems

      Photo82 Peppers grow in a high tunnel on an organic farm (Saucier, Miss.). Photographer: Stephen Kirkpatrick. Photo Courtesy of USDA NRCS.
      Category:  Nutrient Management, Manure Mangement, Erosion Control
      Practice Type:  Management
      Landuse/Agriculture Type:  Row Crop, Pasture, Fodder, Rice, Small Grains
      Climatic Zones:  Temperate, Semiarid, Tropical
      Regions:  North America, Europe
      Pollutants Treated:  Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment

      Description: Ecological/organic production systems use a systems approach that relies on organic inputs to manage nutrients in such a way that mimics natural ecosystems. Nutrient management and manure management should be standard requirements for ecological agriculture and many other practices, such as buffers, should be expectations. Organic farmers manage crop nutrients through a crop rotation that includes cover crops and the application of plant and animal organic matter, generally in the form of compost. Appropriate tillage and cultivation practices improve soil structure, organic matter content and soil microbial life. The procedures and approaches used to implement these types of systems will determine the ultimate benefit to reducing nutrient pollution. 1

      Implementation Considerations: Growing crops ecologically (organically) still requires nutrient management and erosion control. Marketing produce with an “ecological” label would require a level of practice verification which could increase the cost, but the farmer should receive a premium for the product.

      Scalable to small farms? Yes

      1 "EU Database of Best Practices." Living Water Exchange: Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe. Web. Sept. 2013. http://nutrient2.iwlearn.org/nutrient-reduction-practices/eu-database-of-practices/view .