Reducing Land Application Incidents
February 19, 2021
- I am Leslie Johnson. I serve as the coordinator for all things manure, essentially in Nebraska. My main role is manure education, Nebraska but I also am highly involved with the larger manure team across the US. And that's how I got connected with this group of folks here. If you'd have asked me growing up if my plan was to teach about manure I probably would have laughed at you. I did grow up on a hog farm and cleaning pens, hauling manure probably two of my least favorite jobs, but here I am and I really do enjoy teaching about manure. So bear with me here 'cause it is something very fun for me. With that, I do want to spend a minute on the technology I wanna use. I'm not a huge fan of giving presentations where you all just sit back. So I'm gonna need your help. I'm going to use a couple of different tools during this presentation. So I want you to try them out now and actually get to use them. If you're viewing my screen, which you should be you should see a green bar at the top of my slide that shows that says, "You are viewing Leslie Johnson screen." Click on the view options and select annotate, like as shown down here. (coughs) You'll get it to a bar and now can draw all over my slides. Feel free to go ahead and test that out. But remember to be nice, we are recording and we can see exactly who is typing or writing on my slides. So we don't want anything that's inappropriate. If you don't see that annotate, like I just described you can look for these pencil buttons. And then the other thing that I want to use is a voting buttons tool. And if you're on your computer, you will open the participants list at the bottom of there you'll see the voting tools, the raise hand, yes or no. And I'll let you know when I want you to do these things but just be ware that that's gonna be happening throughout my presentation. So with that, I wanna go ahead and get started. If you wanna clear the annotation here. Actually I can do that. Oops! Clear all drawings. There we go. So I want you to go ahead and try these tools out. I wanna know what factors you consider when you're hauling or stockpiling or applying manure. And I want you to know there's no wrong answer here. And you can put as many factors as you want. I will give you two minutes to type or write on the slide using those annotate buttons. Oops! If you're like me, it's much easier to type than it is to write on the screen with your mouse. So you can use that text tool too. Weather. Good one. This is a small group. So everybody's gonna have to participate or we're not gonna have much on here. And two minutes is gonna seem like a really long time. If you wanna unmute and tell me, that's fine too. I'm more than happy to listen to that. Crop needs, application rate, time of day, time of the year wind and weather forecast, field conditions. All good factors. Type of manure, also a good factor. Anything else, you're getting close to the end of the two minutes. Oh, setbacks. Good one. Customer needs also a very good one. All right. Here we go. So as you saw, we'll go ahead and clear all of those. As you saw on that stream there's lots of factors to consider. So my best advice for making a plan is to make that plan but then plan to adapt it. Because things change. We always joke here in Nebraska, that if you don't like the weather, just wait five minutes, it'll change. I'm pretty sure that's not a Nebraska issue only. Weather can change and that should change your plans. We know that rain events can pop up on occasion. So learning more information can change your plans to whatever it is, just be prepared to change. So I told you to make this plan but what should you include in your plan? Looks like you guys all have a pretty good start. You could all probably teach me all about logistics of preferred roads and bridges that you need to avoid because of weight limits. We all have timelines that we're expected to follow. We know that farmer wants the manure right now when the crop needs it. Or before the crops are planted. We know that livestock manure producer just wants that manure gone and they want it gone yesterday because their pits are full or whatever. I'm gonna assume that you know, your Michigan rules because I am not an expert in that. I'm sure others have covered those in other meetings that you've been to. And if you have questions by all means ask those folks, don't ask me. But remember the setbacks that somebody mentioned that you need to avoid so you aren't in trouble with what I like to call the manure police which here in Nebraska is the NDEE. And you all know your landscape better than I do. We have lots of hills and valleys and so we know how water flows from our hills into the valleys. And you I'm sure know those things as well. So you don't need me to teach you all about that. But one of the things that I want to discuss further today is weather. (coughs) What weather do you look at? Do you look at what has been happening? What is happening now or what forecast is looking like? The right answer is that you should be looking at all of those things. We know that if the weather has been wet and the soil is already saturated you probably need to wait. Not only due to compaction but because any added liquid be it manure or more precipitation is likely to run off because the soil just can't hold it. And if the temperatures have been really cold maybe the ground is frozen. The same situation runoff risk is gonna be really heightened. Ideally we apply when the weather is dry and it's gonna stay dry for a while but we know that's not always possible. You gotta just do the best that you can and watch and make sure it's gonna be dry. As long as possible. I saw a couple of people mentioned that they look at the wind. I'm gonna talk about that more in a little bit later slide. I'm not sure what exactly you're looking at when you're looking at the wind, but I wanna point out a couple of really important things later. Where do most of our complaints come from? Go ahead and type in the chat box or unmute. Anybody? Nobody knows where our complaints come from? Neighbors. - Neighbors. - Yes Yes, absolutely it's the neighbors. But what neighbors? It depends on what you're doing of course . If you're loading manure or you're making that stockpile on site. Maybe you're just piling up manure, right on a feedlot facility. We have lots of open moths here. Then it's probably the neighbors that are the closest the facility. If you're stockpiling that manure on a field it's probably the folks that are within a mile of that field. So, and then maybe it's the people that are along the route of that manure. Maybe they don't like what you're doing. They don't like the smell. They don't like the trucks on the road, whatever, you know. And so we all knew, and we also knew that some neighbors are gonna be more sensitive than others. Those that maybe don't have a lot of Ag background or don't have any livestock experience are probably gonna be a lot more sensitive than the neighbor that used to have livestock. So anybody that just moved out to an acreage from the city and doesn't have any experience they're gonna be a lot more likely to complain. So the only way to really know which neighbors are more likely to complain is to get to know those neighbors. So Laura Campbell yesterday mentioned getting involved in your community and having touch with your neighbors before your hauling. Those are wonderful ideas. And if you know those neighbors, you know if they're planning a backyard, barbecue or whatever and you maybe need to avoid the dates that they might be doing that or that they are in preparation for that so that you can make sure that they don't have all of those odors happening when they're gonna have a whole bunch of people in their backyard or there's some special events coming up. So I've talked enough again I wanna go back to an activity. This is one of those things where you're gonna write on my slides again. I have a map here of my own neighborhood here in Nebraska and the field that I wanna put manure on. Unfortunately, we're not gonna be able to spread it right away. So we need to figure out where the stockpiles should go. I want you to show me on that enlarged map the one that's surrounded in blue there where you would place that manure stockpile. And I would tell you that the bottom of the rectangle is where the road is. And there's an entrance on the west corner. And there's one about where that number five is on the eastern corner. I'll give you just 30 seconds if you wanna make a mark on the slide where you would put that manure stockpile. - [Woman] Just for reference for the elevation points are the darker colors higher or lower higher? - Higher. - Thank you. - Yep. Looks like everybody's. Most people are putting it in about the same area. Well, there's not a correct answer to this question. There are a couple of wrong answers and nobody got it wrong. That's wonderful. And you can see my heap. My field's kind of hilly I'm in the eastern part of the state where we have pretty good hills. 11% slopes not uncommon in my area. So we do have some terraces, as you can see on the southern part of that field that keeps unrunoff contained. (coughs) Looks like most of you place them in your stockpile in the Southwestern corner. That is actually where I've had the most recent stockpile on this particular field. We actually like the Northwest corner better just because the entrance is much better. But that's something that you wouldn't know by looking at the field and they're both good options. The big thing is we wanna avoid the valleys. Where water is running. This valley that you see here is. (coughs) Excuse me! Is an intermittent stream. There's a spring that opens up often in the spring time. And so there's actually water flowing in that valley on a relatively regular basis. And then of course, with all of these hills this valley is going to have a lot of water run through it when there's a big rain storm as well. Now, the other thing to factor in here, you see on the eastern side of the field, there is a irrigation well right on the neighbor's fence line. And so we have a setback around that in Nebraska. We don't have a setback around an intermittent stream as long as there's not water running through it. So we don't really have that setback. (coughs) But we do have neighbors to the east. So when we pile it's maybe not if that's still a great place, but we wanna watch for the winds to not be out of the East when we're piling there. So that the neighbors that are close by are not gonna have a lot of odors. All right. So now pretend that field, my field from Nebraska is placed in one of these two shown here where there's corn on the map here. I want to know which field you would prefer to apply on. You can pretend that you're hauling from that dairy operation if you're more of into liquid holler, if you're more of a solid holler, if you want to pretend you're hauling from the turkey operation, that would be perfectly fine. I'll give you just a little bit of time for that. About a minute and a half. I see somebody put a star right, practically on the turkey. Or maybe that's leftover from, well, that's leftover. Hang on let me clear all the drawings. Go ahead. Is everybody getting the tool figured out? I know there's a few people that are. If you're having troubles holler in the chat box. I really do want your participation. Seeing a bunch of arrows down in the Southwest corner. Got a star on the Eastern side. - So Leslie. - Yeah. - Those are all my arrows down on the bottom left of the screen there. - All right. - And that wasn't incidental. There was only supposed to be one. But how do I indicate what type of manure I want? - It doesn't really, it doesn't matter. - Doesn't matter? - Yeah. - Okay, very good. - Nope. If you wanna put your factors that you used into the chat box, why you made that choice? That would be helpful too. I should've told you that before. But keep in mind which field that you put it on. I think the annotation is gonna come over the next one. I'm not gonna clear it on this next slide. So remember the field that you chose. Now I want you to think about how you're gonna get there. What route would you take from that farm to that field? And then again, put in the chat box what factors you use to make that decision? So draw that map, how you would go or how you would tell your employees to go. I'm not gonna give you quite as much time to do this. I assume that you've already made that thought. So you can keep putting the factors that you use to make that decision into the chat box. But I'm gonna go ahead and keep moving here. I know that we're kind of pressed for time because we were running a little bit late so I'm gonna try and push a little harder. So I mentioned earlier that we should be talking about. Oh, I should clear that. All right. Remember what you did on that map. We'll come back to it in a few minutes. But I mentioned earlier that we should be talking about the weather forecast and I didn't know exactly what you were talking about on the wind. Here's some factors that you should be thinking about. I'm gonna encourage you to go to this resource on the bottom of the screen here. And I think Shelby is going to put it in the chat box as well. One of my colleagues wrote a really great article that explains this a lot more in depth but I'm gonna try and give you an idea of how odor travels based on the weather. So I don't know how many of you have spread or not spread. How many of you have burned brush and watched the smoke and how it works? Odor is an awful lot like smoke and how that smoke rises in the atmosphere is going to depend a lot on other weather factors. (coughs) When the temperatures are steady maybe they're dropping smoke is gonna be more likely to hang around the ground and the weather, sorry. When the temperature is rising though, that smoke is gonna rise higher into the atmosphere and therefore is gonna be less of a nuisance to the people on the ground. And this is even more exaggerated when it's cloudy. And most people don't think about clouds as being an issue. When you're talking about manure application or you don't really think about it too much when you're burning brush, but it does. It sort of serves as a lid on the atmosphere and it traps that smoke down near the ground and becomes more of a nuisance then. When the wind is blowing harder. Even when the temperatures are lower maybe the clouds are there but that smoke is gonna be more diluted and therefore less of a nuisance. But the other factor in there is that it does travel further. So some neighbors that are further away may notice a little bit of some of smoke too. So if you're burning your brush pile you want to minimize complaints. You're gonna watch for clear days and nights with higher wind speed and temperatures that are going up instead of down. which often happens at night and that will allow for maximum dilution and rise into the atmosphere. Or the even better option is just to look for the wind to be in the complete opposite direction of the those most prone neighbors, and then clear. And if you have clear skies and rising temperatures you're really not gonna have much issues at all as far as odor type complaints. So now that you know all about smoke remember that odor does behave very similarly to smoke. And so those same factors are things that are gonna affect odor. So when temperatures are steady or they're going down odor is gonna hang around the ground more. So when the temperature is rising, odors are gonna higher into the atmosphere are not gonna be less of a nuisance to those people on the ground. And cloudy days are gonna trigger more complaints because odor is trapped near the ground. Remember that cloud cover serves as a lid on the atmosphere. And it's especially noticeable at night for a couple of factors. Temperatures typically do drop at night. And so that reduces that ability for the odors to rise into the atmosphere. The other big factor is that neighbors are more likely to be home in the evenings, so they might be outside. Maybe they've been working all day inside now that we're all stuck at home and working from home. But maybe they're likely to go outside in the evenings. And so when the temperature is going down those odors stick more, you just notice them more. So when the wind is blowing harder even if those temperatures are lower, it's gonna be less of a nuisance because the odor is being diluted by the rest of the air in the atmosphere. And of course there is that factor that sometimes that odor is gonna move further and faster. So neighbors will notice some diluted odor but probably less likely to be a nuisance because it is so diluted from the atmosphere. So when you're spreading you're trying to minimize complaints always. Watch for those clear days, the nights with the higher wind speed following application and temperatures that are going up instead of down so that you have the most dilution in rise into the atmosphere and get it up and over those neighbors. So you just don't have to have problems with them. And like the smoke, if you look for wind that's gonna be in the opposite direction of the neighbors along with those clear skies and rising temperatures you're gonna have a lot less issues. So I pulled a forecast for Alma. That's Fort Alma in Michigan. And if you wanna look here this is for tomorrow and Saturday into Sunday. And we're gonna take a look at this forecast. So kind of study it here. I'm gonna, it'll be on the next slide as well. But think about the route that you took and the field that you took. I want you to decide whether or not that forecast changes your plan that you had before. So this is the same map and this is the forecast that I just had up there. So look at that forecast. Does that change your plans? And we're gonna use the voting buttons in the participant slide or participants. So I'll give you just a few seconds. So if you take a look at that and see whether you want to change your field or your route. You can also just type yes or no in the chat box or pipe up with your mute button. Not seeing any votes. Nope, your routes it's gonna stay the same. The big one I wanted to point out as you look at Saturday night into Sunday, if we applied today maybe less of an issue tonight, wind temperatures are dropping a little bit, not too much. But wind is gonna be out of the north heading towards those neighbors to the south. Which we don't see much on those fields. But tomorrow night, the wind totally changes and heads from the south. And it is super cloudy and the wind is really, really low. And so those neighbors directly north of those fields are gonna be definitely affected by our manure application. So I'm not gonna take time to go through this. But things to think about and I will make my slides available to you. So you can look at these. But these are just a few other things that you might consider when you're making this manure application plan. So like I said before, if you can make your plans but as you gather more information maybe you learn that a neighbor just moved out into the country from the city. Maybe the weather has changed all of a sudden. Be prepared to change those plans.