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Livestock and the Environment. From Written by Johanna Davis Revised by Nicki Schaefer. GA Ag Ed Curriculum Office To accompany the Georgia Agriculture Education Curriculum Lesson 01.432-8.9 July 2002. Agricultural Concerns. Federal & State Environmental Laws

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Livestock and the Environment

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Livestock and the Environment


Written by Johanna Davis

Revised by Nicki Schaefer

GA Ag Ed Curriculum Office

To accompany the Georgia Agriculture Education Curriculum

Lesson 01.432-8.9

July 2002

Agricultural Concerns

  • Federal & State Environmental Laws

  • Endangered Species Act

B. Environmental Problems of Livestock Production

  • Changes in Livestock Production

  • Trend toward larger livestock operations

  • Use of large livestock confinement systems such as feedlots

  • .

  • Changing Environment of Agriculture

  • Migration of city dwellers to agricultural areas

  • Why?

    • Escape problems of city life

B. Environmental Problems of Livestock Production(cont.)

•Attracted to recreational developments

  • Attitudes

    • Find odors offensive

    • Unaware of byproducts of livestock production

3. Livestock Waste Disposal Concerns

  • Communities share the cost of waste disposal in cities

B. Environmental Problems of Livestock Production(cont.)

  • Cost of facility: several million dollars

  • Cost to individual: $100 to $200

•Individuals responsible for cost of livestock enterprises

  • 200,000 hens, 1,200 head of cattle in a feedlot, or

  • 10,500 hogs may produce as much waste as

  • 20,000 people.

C. Agricultural Disposal Systems

  • Must be part of the total management plan

  • Must be affordable

  • Must meet the expectations of the non-farming neighbors

  • Must meet environmental regulations

D. Federal Regulations

  • Federal Water Quality Act of 1965

  • Refuse Act of 1899

  • Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965

  • Federal Clean Air Act

E. State Regulations

  • Most states have some type of environmental protection agency

  • Must enforce state & Federal regulations

  • Nuisance Laws

    • May include odors, dust, chemicals, water pollution, animal noises, carcass disposal, etc.

F. Water Pollutants

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • The EPA monitors:

    • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)

    • Fecal Coliforms

    • Fecal Streptococci

    • Suspended Solids

    • Phosphorus

    • Ammonia

G. Handling Livestock Waste

  • Objective is to control:





-Surface & groundwater pollution

-Other nuisances

G. Handling Livestock Wastes, (cont.)

  • Amount of manure produced (determined by):

    • Species

    • Age of Animal

    • Ration Fed

  • Fertilizer usage (determined by):

  • Length of time in storage

  • Method of treatment

  • Nutrient content

G. Handling Livestock Wastes, (cont.)

• Amount and type of bedding used

• Amount of dilution by water entering the system

H. Manure Handling Systems

  • Factors to consider

    • EPA Regulations

    • Species of Animal Being Raised

    • Type of Housing and Management

    • Size and Type of Operation

    • Climate

    • Characteristics of Operation

H. Manure Handling Systems, (cont.)

  • Classification of Facilities

    • Confined

      • Open Lot

      • Lot and Shelter

      • Enclosed Shelter

    • Unconfined

      • Pasture

      • Range

H. Manure Handling Systems, (cont.)

  • Types of Systems

    • Liquid

      • Pits

      • Lagoon

      • Storage Basins

    • Solid

I. Determining the Amount of Livestock Waste to Apply on the Land

  • Agronomic Nitrogen Rate: available Nitrogen per unit of yield necessary to produce a given crop

    - Varies with species

    - Varies with ration fed

    - Varies with method of collection and storage

  • Phosphorus Requirements

J. Disposing of Manure

• Spread on land

  • All solid systems

  • All liquid systems except lagoons

    • Valuable as fertilizers

J. Disposing of Manure, (cont.)

• Environmental Considerations

  • Must be incorporated or injected into the soil

  • Do not apply to frozen or snow-covered land

  • Do not apply to saturated land immediately before or after a rainstorm

J. Disposing of Manure, (cont.)

  • Do not apply to grass waterways

  • Do not apply within 200 feet of surface water or within 150 feet of a well

  • Reduce the amount applied if there is a high water table present or if soil is highly permeable

K. Preventing Feedlot Runoff

  • Diversion: preventing surface water from entering feedlot

  • Drainage: channeling runoff from feedlot

K. Preventing Feedlot Runoff, (cont.)

  • Debris basins: basins which catch runoff from pens

  • Holding ponds: temporary storage for runoff

  • Disposal: collecting waste and using it for irrigation or allowing it to evaporate

L. Gases and Odors from Livestock Waste

  • Caused by anaerobic bacteria breaking down the organic components

    • Occurs when no oxygen is present

  • Gases become dangerous to people and livestock in poorly ventilated areas or confined areas

  • Odors may cause neighbors to take legal action against the farmer

L. Gases and Odors from Livestock Wastes, (cont.)

  • Control Methods

    • Reduce toxicity by mixing air with manure

    • Mix manure in soil as soon as possible after hauling/spreading

  • • Chemical and bacterial cultures test for:

    • – Masking agents

      • •Cover up odors

    • –Counteractants

      • •Attempt to neutralize odors

L. Gases and Odors from Livestock Wastes, (cont.)

– Deodorants

• Chemicals that kill the bacteria that cause odor

– Digestive deodorants

• Create a digestive process to eliminate odor

M. Disposal of Dead Animals

  • Responsibility of owner

  • Many states require disposal within 24 to 48 hrs.

  • Method of disposal must prevent health hazards

    • Treat any dead animal as though diseased

    • Eliminate environmental threats

M. Disposal of Dead Animals, (cont.)

  • Transport in a covered, metal, leak-proof vehicle

  • Approved Methods

    • Licensed disposal plant

    • Burying

    • Disposal pits

    • Burning

    • Composting

N. Livestock Laws

  • Animal Trespass

    • Owner Liability

      • Damage to property

    • Estray

      • Domestic Animal of Unknown ownership running at large

    • Land owner may retain possession until compensated (varies by states)

N. Livestock Laws, (cont.)

  • Animals On Highways

    • May cause traffic accidents

    • Owner Liability

      • Usually negligence must be proven

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