Sights, Sounds and Smells (just kidding) at the North American Manure Expo

Husker Home Place

All puns aside, we learned about what is hot in "Professionalism in Manure Management" at the one-of-a-kind manure expo held in Norfolk, Nebraska.

Published on: July 20, 2011

All puns aside, we learned about what is hot in “Professionalism in Manure Management” at the one-of-a-kind manure expo held in Norfolk, Nebraska.  

 BUSINESS END: A Manure Expo visitor checks out the business end of this new spreader.

Today was as hot as it can get in
Nebraska. And the displays, exhibits and demonstrations at the North American Manure Expo, held on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska gave us a taste of what is hot in manure management.

You can make jokes about an entire farm exposition dedicated to, well, technically speaking, all earthier comments aside, waste excretions that are deposited from the business end of livestock and poultry. But modern manure management is no joking matter. It is big business.

My, how things have changed since I was a teenager, scooping out manure from farrowing crates into a little manure spreader we pulled around with our Super M Farmall tractor. It seemed that the old spreader would always break down when it was full, and we would have to pitch the manure off the spreader as well.

CHECKING IT OUT: Farmers and ranchers from around the country watched field demonstrations of liquid manure applicators on the campus of Northeast Community College in Norfolk on Wednesday, July 20.

This is not my grandfather’s or father’s manure distribution system. These days, manure management requires a great deal of knowledge and business sense, and most farm folks who handle manure today think of it as a great resource that can enhance fertility and resource efficiency around their farms and ranches.

Organizers were hoping for around 1500 guests at today’s event. By all early observations, crowds were solid and farm folks had traveled from near and far to attend. At least 200 attended the morning field demonstrations of liquid manure application by some of the newest innovations in manure machinery, including a demo of a dragline applicator.

Nearly 60 exhibitors included the latest and greatest in solid manure spreaders, liquid tanks and applicators, GPS guidance systems, irrigation specialists and much more. Sessions covered topics like the effect of manure applicator traffic on roads, first aid, the value of manure and manure management planning.

MANURE SCENE INVESTIGATION: University of Nebraska Extension soil specialist, Charles Shapiro, discusses methods of investigating crop loss and damage when manure application is less than optimal.

There was so much to see and learn, that it was difficult to get around to see everything in a single day. One of the most important things I learned today is that farmers truly view manure in a different light than in the past.

It is true that mismanagement of manure supplies can be an environmental nightmare, but for farmers who view manure as a resource, it can add fertility of crop land and be marketed to neighbors to increase fertility on their land as well.

And, there are numerous professionals, including consultants, Extension personnel and machinery and equipment advisors who are willing to help in manure management and application.

As one bumper sticker proudly states, “Manure Happens.” It is what we do with it after it happens that counts. Don McCabe and I will be writing about several of the topics and demos covered at the expo in future print issues of Nebraska Farmer. I’ll give you more insight on the manure expo in tomorrow’s sequel edition to “Husker Home Place.” For more information on the topics covered at today’s event, visit North American Manure Expo 2011.