Animal Waste Management
The manure generated by animal production is currently receiving a great deal of attention in the water quality arena. While manure generated by livestock have historically been returned to the soil to improve its fertility, the concentration of large numbers of confined animals and increasing urban encroachment into agricultural areas have created several concerns.
In order to stay economically competitive, most commercial livestock and dairy production operations have found it necessary to increase the number of animals utilizing the same land base. More manure is generated than can be safely applied to the soil. Consequently, waste treatment technologies must be upgraded.
Adoption of animal waste best management practices can reduce the transport of nutrients and pathogens from farms, contributing to improved water quality. Improved management and utilization of animal wastes can occur through proper collection, storage, proper land application, and composting. Such strategies can benefit farmers by reducing disposal problems and reliance on commercial fertilizers, as well as improving water retention and fertility of soils.