Photo by OSU Extension.

Speaking of manure . . .

By Mary Wicks

Some people talk about manure . . .  a lot. It’s a deep subject, with topics of conversation ranging from capturing its value to protecting water quality. You may have heard Glen Arnold, Ohio State University Extension manure management specialist, talking about it. He has discussed his research that demonstrates applying liquid manure to growing crops provides similar or better yields compared to side dressing with fertilizer, while increasing the number of days manure can be applied as well as protecting water quality by better capturing the manure nutrients.   

The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community (LPELC), a national network of manure professionals, is a great place to talk and learn about manure and is open to anyone interested. In addition to a monthly webinar series, the LPELC holds the biennial Waste-to-Worth (W2W) conference with tours and lots of people speaking about manure. Ohio State University is hosting the 2022 W2W conference on the shores of Lake Erie.

Ohioans will be talking about their work, from composting pen pack cattle manure to a case study of Grand Lake St. Marys watershed. And, attendees will have the opportunity to tour Ohio livestock facilities for a close up look at best practices for managing manure and on-farm research to evaluate the effectiveness of manure application and other practices.

Beyond Ohio 

A highlight of W2W is learning what is happening in other states and having a multitude of topics and speakers to choose from. This year’s program features sessions focused on manure management, air quality, environmental planning and impacts, mortality, water quality and communication. Plus, there are hands-on workshops for identifying manure application sites and setbacks and using a decision support tool.

Here’s just a sample 

Manure management topics will cover a broad range of manure storage and handling practices and new ideas, such as manuresheds. Several speakers will discuss this new way of looking at an area, from local to regional scale, to better balance manure nutrient production and land application, including how the concept is being used in Pennsylvania. Others will talk manure treatments, nutrient reduction and recovery, effects on soil health, and more. 

For those interested in air quality, topics will address everything from ammonia and particulate emissions to greenhouse gasses. Several speakers will discuss how different manure handling practices, such as solid-liquid separation and agitation, affect emissions of odors and other gases. A demonstration trailer will be used to show best practices for ventilation in animal facilities.

And, as good communication is about more than just the right words and pronunciation, speakers will provide new perspectives on this topic. A keynote speaker at Thursday’s general session will be talking about conflict resolution among multiple stakeholders. Later that day, a panel will discuss how to grow interest in and understanding of the importance of manure, with the goal of preparing students for careers in academia and industry. And, a Friday workshop will delve into how to communicate science to diverse audiences.

Join us: W2W is open to anyone interested in learning about manure management. Visit the conference website ( for more information and registration details. 

Mary H. Wicks is a Program Coordinator in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering of The Ohio State University.  E-mail: Phone: (330)202-3533.  This column is provided by the OSU Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension, Ohio Agricultural Research & Development Center, and the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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