The Manager - November 2023

Farm of the future

Julie Berry

Real-time data-driven research, extension, and education come together to envision the Farm of the Future in a project funded by a $4.3 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant headed by Cornell researchers in collaboration with the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture (CIDA).

How ammonia emissions can impact climate change

April Leytem

Often, when people think about climate change and livestock production, they think about methane, as there has been a lot of focus on reduction of methane from both the cattle themselves (enteric) as well as from manure storage. But methane is not the only driver of climate change from livestock production. Reactive nitrogen, which includes all biologically, chemically, and radiatively active nitrogen compounds in the atmosphere and biosphere, can play an important role in climate change. Nitrogen transforms and is lost through many pathways as it cycles through agricultural operations. The primary forms of reactive nitrogen lost are ammonia, nitrate, nitrous oxide, and nitrogen oxides. This loss of reactive nitrogen to the environment is of increasing concern as negative impacts on water, air quality, sensitive ecosystems, and climate can ultimately have negative consequences for human, animal and environmental health.

Greenhouse gas emissions from dairy and agriculture

Lauren Ray, Jason Oliver, and Kirsten Workman

Many agricultural activities can directly contribute to the emissions of greenhouse gases, but what are those greenhouse gases and agriculture’s exact impact? What role does dairy production play? We distill the science and provide the facts about U.S. dairy and greenhouse gas emissions.

Manure application strategies for efficiency and environmental benefit

Kirsten Workman

Dairy producers have a valuable resource in the form of manure to provide home-grown nutrients for sustainable crop production and organic matter back to their soil. However, managing that manure responsibly comes at the cost of cash, labor, and environmental challenges. Manure equipment manufacturers, custom applicators, and dairy farmers have embraced innovation and technology to get the job done well, but will need to continue to evolve to meet the challenges of dairy farming in the Northeast in 2023 and beyond.

Manure storage impermeable cover and flare systems – Potential climate benefits and considerations

Jason Oliver and Lauren Ray

Cover and flare systems are suitable for dairy farms of all herd sizes and can help mitigate methane and other emissions while improving climate resiliency. Impermeable covers are gas-tight plastic membranes installed over the surface of a suitable manure storage structure to capture emissions and exclude rainwater. Biogas collected from under the cover can be combusted in a flare to reduce the potent greenhouse gas, methane, and to lessen potent carbon dioxide. Rainwater can be temporarily stored on the cover and used on-farm or pumped into an appropriate vegetated area.

Quantifying the value of manure – Taking uncertainty out of an inherently variable nutrient source

Juan Carlos Ramos Tanchez, Carlos Irias, Kirsten Workman, and Quirine Kettering's

Sound land application of livestock manure can reduce or replace fertilizer needs, given that manure contains all 17 essential nutrients for crop growth, and increase soil health over time. Healthier soils are more resilient to extreme weather events, thereby increasing overall farm resilience. A pillar of sound manure management is to understand what is in manure to better plan and manage applications for growing healthy, high-yielding crops profitably while maximizing environmental protection.

It’s a manure party!

Kirsten Workman, Heather Darby, and Kevin Erb

The North American Manure Expo (NAME) is coming to New York in 2024! This international event started in 2001 as a first-of-its-kind event to highlight “professionalism in nutrient management.” The Expo combines three attractions into one big event – manure technology and equipment demonstrations, a manure-focused industry trade show, and educational events and tours that include continuing education credits.