In descending order, by date published.
Nutrients are constantly cycling through farms. Nutrients come onto a farm in the form of feed, commercial fertilizers, manure, or compost, and they leave the farm with harvested crops, sold livestock, and off-site disposal of manure and other waste. Sometimes nutrients are even lost to the air, soil, or water. Nutrient management allows farmers to use nutrients wisely for optimal economic benefit with minimal impact on the environment.
Once a drought occurs, it can be difficult to effectively manage your resources and overcome the conditions that drought creates. At the heart of effective drought management is preparedness. A systems-management approach is an ideal tool for drought preparedness, as its goal is to improve each component of the farming operation (soils, forages, facilities, stock, etc.) and improve the connections between the components (i.e. the system). The goal of this publication is to aid beef producers in implementing best management practices (BMPs) that take a systems approach to maximizing farm water use efficiency, while operating under the assumption that water is becoming an increasingly uncertain resource that is vital to the future of the farm.
Strategically locating the watering facility will also provide production benefits such as increased forage utilization and improved access to water, and may possibly reduce the cost per pasture of providing water. This publication will provide guidelines for the location, design, and construction of all-weather surfaces for cattle watering facilities.
Liquid manure storage structures, such as a lagoon, holding pond, or pit, serve an essential purpose on an active livestock operation. However, when this structure is no longer actively managed it can become a major liability to the producer because of its potential to have a discharge. The discharge from a liquid manure storage structure can contain pollutants such as nutrients, heavy metals, hormones, pathogens, and agriculture chemicals, all of which can pose serious threats to human health and aquatic ecosystems. Because of the pollution potential, livestock producers ceasing their operation are required to close their liquid manure storage structure(s) as part of their Kentucky No Discharge Operational Permit. To help offset the costs of closing the structure, producers may want to apply for cost share funds through the Division of Conservation. Before beginning to close a liquid manure structure, the Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) must be provided with a closure plan. This publication outlines the preferred practices and steps for closing a liquid manure structure to meet the guidelines of the KDOW.
As health and food safety concerns grow, dairy producers are facing more stringent regulations. In 2010, the European Union (EU) set the somatic cell count (SCC) upper limit, an indicator of milk quality, for exported milk at 400,000 cells per milliliter. However, the current U.S. SCC limit is 750,000 cells per milliliter. As of January 2012, any U.S. milk used in export markets must meet the EU standards. It is projected that US milk processors will gradually adopt the EU upper limit, making it difficult for dairy producers to sell milk containing more than 400,000 somatic cells per milliliter. Dairy producers will have to find innovative and cost-effective ways to reduce the somatic cell count of their milk. This publication will discuss how agriculture best management practices can be used to lower SCC.
Producers must understand that dry cows and bred heifers are the next milking herd, so focusing on their management can maintain or actually increase future profitability. This publication focuses on environmental management strategies that improve dry cow and bred heifer performance.