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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

An Assessment of Nitrogen-Based Manure Application Rates on 39 U.S. Swine Operations


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 33 No. 3, p. 1106-1113
    Received: July 16, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): loryj@missouri.edu
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  1. John A. Lory *a,
  2. Raymond E. Masseyb,
  3. Joseph M. Zulovichc,
  4. John A. Hoehnec,
  5. Amy M. Schmidtc,
  6. Marcia S. Carlsond and
  7. Charles D. Fulhagec
  1. a Department of Agronomy, 210 Waters Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
    b Department of Agricultural Economics, 223 Mumford Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
    c Department of Biological Engineering, 207 Agricultural Engineering Building, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211
    d Department of Animal Science, 133 Animal Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211


Water quality concerns and revised regulations are changing how confined animal feeding operations manage manure. Devising acceptable and feasible changes in manure practices requires a full understanding of the forces shaping current manure management decisions. Previous theoretical models have shown that a wide range of factors influence the lowest cost solution for manure management. We used a mechanistic model to characterize the manure management practices on 39 swine operations (20 unagitated lagoon and 19 slurry operations) in five states (Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania). Information was collected from each operation about animal numbers, feed and water use, manure handling and storage characteristics, field locations, crop rotation, fertilizer need, and equipment inventory and usage. Collected data were used as input and to validate results from a mechanistic model that determined acres required for manure application, manure application rate, time required for manure application, value of manure, and costs of manure management. The 39 farms had a mean of 984 animal units (AU) per operation, 18.2 AU ha−1 (7.4 AU acre−1), and manure application costs of $10.49 AU−1 yr−1 Significant factors affecting manure management included operation size, manure handling system, state, and ownership structure. Larger operations had lower manure management costs (r 2 = 0.32). Manure value potentially exceeded manure application costs on 58% of slurry and 15% of lagoon operations. But 38% of slurry operations needed to apply manure off the farm whereas all lagoon operations had sufficient land for N-based manure management. Manure management was a higher percentage of gross income on contract operations compared with independents (P < 0.01). This research emphasized the importance of site-specific factors affecting manure management decisions and the economics of U.S. swine operations.

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Copyright © 2004. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA