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WI Manure Irrigation Study Group Unveils Research Findings
USAgNet - 04/15/2016

A University of Wisconsin-Extension workgroup charged with the task of assessing manure irrigation practices in the state has shared their finding during a webinar presentation this week. The group also released an 80-page report on Thursday, which includes information collected from scientists, public health specialists, farmers and others over a two year period.

"Our mission was to review the information available and compile it into a document to help citizens and local governments decide their futures," said UW-Madison Associate Professor Ken Genskow, who chaired the workgroup. "The input helped set the agenda for our group discussions."

The panel was commissioned at the request of state agencies that recognized manure irrigation would be a practice that's likely to grow over time. Their goal was to lay out the pros and cons of the newer method of handling animal waste.

As part of their efforts, the workgroup assessed concerns associated with manure irrigation, including droplet drift, odor, water quality, air quality and airborne pathogens. They also explored potential benefits related to the timing of manure applications, road safety and reduced road damage, and other farm management and economic benefits.

The USDA-funded study was the first in-the-field research project to measure pathogens and other microbes being spread through the air in this way and to then calculate a risk. Among many things, the research found that risk of acute gastrointestinal illness from pathogens reduces with increased distance.

A follow-up webinar will be held next month after the public has a chance to study the report's findings. The full document can be found at: http://fyi.uwex.edu/manureirrigation/.


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