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Muck an Advantage and a Money-spinner

by 5m Editor
10 March 2008, at 10:08am

US - Complaints about hog farms are nothing new and in Ohio Members of CARE are protesting at the opening of six large hog farms in a ten-mile area scheduled for the next few years.

The root of the protest is manure, says a report in Ohio's Times Bulletin. Those against the development are concerned about potential problems dealing with hog waste, odour and and the responsible disposal of muck and slurry.


Ken Kottenbrock, Van Wert Soil and Water district technician, said that it was up to the farm operator to act responsibly.

"There's no governing that says everyone has to use the best management practices," he pointed out.

Many reports suggest that some farmers take manure straight out in the field and just pour it on. And with such abuses, then the health department can be called in

Jason Menchhofer of the Van Wert County Health Department said that if the manure is over-applied, or if they do it under less than ideal conditions where there might be some runoff into surface water, then there are serious reasons to be concerned. However, surface water contamination is rare, but can happen occasionally.

"Those things have happened at times in the past at some of the existing operations. I reported it to the state and it went over my head pretty quick as far as any kind of follow-up or enforcement that happened, once the state got involved with it," he added.

Comprehensive Control

He says that producers should make comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMP) a priority. Not only does the manure have fertiliser value - both in terms of crop nutrients and cash savings - it is also environmentally sensible.

The CNMP takes into consideration the chemical makeup of the soil and the manure and the calculations are made to line up the needed amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. And, according to calculations by Kottenbrock, show that around 600-700 acres is needed to soak up the contents of the manure pit.

He says that the contents of the manure pit can be worth up to $65,000 in fertilizer value. A farmer can save that much money annually by using hog manure to replace nutrients in the soil instead of using expensive chemical fertilizer. That means the large hog farms are money makers in more ways than one.

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Further Reading

- Go to our previous item on this subject clicking here.

5m Editor