Recent rains remind us this is a good time for beef and dairy farmers with open lots and cow yards to evaluate if runoff from their cattle yards is affecting water quality. As part of the Water Quality Initiative for Small Iowa Beef and Dairy Feedlot Operations, a cooperative education and outreach program, the Iowa DNR has made water quality testing kits available through twenty Iowa State University Extension and Outreach County Offices. These kits help producers evaluate the impact of potential feedlot runoff from their livestock operation.
These kits are quick and simple to use, are free, and the program is confidential. The only person that knows the results of the ammonia test is the livestock producer. The test kits come with an instructional video and a fact sheet on water quality impacts.
The best time to inspect and test is during or shortly after a rainfall, when water is running off the cattle yard. The water quality testing kit is available from the County Extension offices in Allamakee, Buena Vista, Carroll, Cherokee, Clay, Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Delaware, Dubuque, Floyd, Johnson, Lyon, Mitchell, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, East Pottawattamie and Story counties. Please contact the county nearest you to determine the availability of the kit for your use.
Additional resource materials for dairy and beef operations are available through the Small Feedlot and Dairy Operations Web page at Iowa State University. These materials, used in conjunction with the self-assessment worksheets and producer guides, can help a livestock producer determine if their manure control structures are operating correctly and can guide producers to cost-effective ways to change control structures or management practices to protect water quality.
Environmental Management, Feedlot Operations, Uncategorized