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NAHMS releases dairy nutrient management report

Most surveyed dairy operations applied manure on owned or rented land.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has released "Nutrient Management Practices on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2014," the fourth report from its Dairy 2014 study.

Dairy 2014 is the agency's fifth study of the U.S. dairy industry. The study was conducted in 17 of the nation’s major dairy states. Data presented in the study represent 80.5% of U.S. dairy operations and 81.3% of U.S. dairy cows, according to NAHMS.

NAHMS provided the following highlights from the report:

* Of the 50.8% of operations with a written nutrient management plan, 80.0% developed the plan in conjunction with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service or with a local conservation district. Almost half of all operations (43.7%) contacted an agronomist/crop consultant regarding nutrient management.

* Overall, 58.0% of operations allowed weaned heifers on pasture, and 74.1% allowed pregnant heifers on pasture.

* Overall, 90% of operations applied manure to land either owned or rented.

* For operations that housed weaned heifers, 34.3% used primarily bedded packs to handle manure in weaned heifer housing areas.

* On average, all operations could store manure for 161.2 days before having to remove it.

* The majority of operations (87.2%) applied manure/slurry using a broadcast/solid spreader. Overall, 21.3% of operations always or almost always incorporated manure into the soil within 24 hours of application. On average, manure was applied 3,688 ft. (0.7 miles) from any surface water.

"Nutrient Management Practices on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2014" is available on the NAHMS website at www.aphis.usda.gov/nahms.

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