Livestock producers, big and small, benefit from keeping accurate and updated records of their nutrient management practices. Rod Bain reports.
Livestock producers need to keep detailed records of nutrient management practices, so says Purdue University Animal Scientist Tamberlee Manich:
“There are definitely some advantages that producers have when they keep good records.”
One thing, is records are the only way producers are taking the proper steps to manage manure and nutrients.
“When their questions arise on whether or not the correct management steps were taken, if you don’t have records, it’s really just one person’s word against another. So, if there ever are any questions, the only proof that producer really has is that they’ve taken those records and that they’ve recorded what they’ve done. Having the records can help the producers to show that they’re doing the best job possible to make sure that they’re managing their nutrients in the correct manner.”
And Manich says record keeping applies both to large concentrated animal feeding operations required to do so and smaller producers with no such requirement. She adds that there are a wide variety of records to keep, starting with the weather:
“Probably the main thing with the weather is rainfall. So I recommend for producers to keep records of rainfall on their operation on a daily basis. And of course, anybody who has kept rainfall records, even if you live a little bit outside of town, it’s good to actually have your own rain gauge and to keep a record of what falls on your operation because it’s obvious that the rainfall amounts are going to vary.”
In addition, there are those types of records related to the farm itself:
“They should be keeping water line inspections, hopefully they’re doing that every day, so obviously if there is a leak on any of their water lines that could actually use a lot of water and might fill up your manure storage facilities. There’s numerous things on a weekly basis, if you have a storage facility, I recommend writing the depth of the manure in that storage facility. Also, if you have any containment devices or things for run off diversion and then writing down that you did that; making sure that they’re in good shape; and, of course, recording who did that and when it was done.”
And needless to say, keeping manure application records is important:
“Record when that manure is applied. The field that manure is applied on and a location within the field. Sometimes you don’t do the entire field that day. So, what field and where in that field; the amount of acreage you’re applying to; what application method you used to apply that manure. Did you surface apply it? Did you inject it? And of course, how much manure you actually applied and within that it is important to know the amount of nutrients that were applied, including nitrogen and phosphorous, so you can record that and calculate that at a later time.”
Rod Bain, Washington, DC