Odors and Nutrients

November 11, 2008 12:15 PM
Terry Van Maanen
Rock Valley, Iowa


If you milk more than 350 cows in Iowa, you need a manure management plan (MMP) that has been approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. As fertilizer prices have risen, the MMP has become a valuable tool. Overapplication of nutrients not only puts the environment at risk, but it also is expensive to not cover as many acres as you can.

Although manure has become valuable, it still smells bad! Before applying manure, I try to call neighbors that will be affected. This gives me a chance to apologize in advance for any inconvenience to them.

Three years ago, we started using an umbilical hose to deliver manure to the field. It's a nice way to move manure without having tractors and tanks on the road. Injecting the manure helps keep odor down and preserves its nutrient value.

The most interesting improvement to the environment in our area is the total containment of feedlot confinement water runoff. Solid waste is held back and the runoff is contained. Most frequently, this water is irrigated onto crops and not down the waterway or creek.



Van Maanen's September prices
Milk (3.5% bf, 3.0% prt) $18.51/cwt.
Cull cows  $55/cwt.
Springing heifers $1,950/head
Alfalfa hay (milk cow quality) $155/ton
Whole cottonseed   $415/ton (Spot load)
Ground corn    $153/ton


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