More cows, more manure

A need for more diligent supervision

Our friends at the UW Extension provided the following status report on the dairy herd expansion in Kewaunee County. Current county herd: 40,500, an increase of 7.5% from the previous year and the largest county increase in Wisconsin. Manitowoc County had the second largest increase of 5%. By the way, the total human population in Kewaunee County is 20,574 (2010 census).

Kewaunee County ranks 3rd in the state in milk production per cow at 24,300/lb/year. The two counties ahead of Kewaunee County are Manitowoc 24,900 and Brown 24, 600. In the last five years, Kewaunee County has increased the cow population by a whopping 25%. The state as a whole increased 5,000 cows to 1,262,000.

This expansion of cow numbers begs the question, “How much land is needed to safely apply that manure to the land?

In a recent resolution by the Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association, they suggest 3 acres per animal unit be required for safe land disposal of manure. That would amount to 121,500 acres or 190 square miles to accomodate today’s herd size. The land area in Kewaunee County is 342.52 square miles (2010 census). That would mean 55.47% of the county could be covered with manure. In which half of the county would you want to live?

Here is the complete text of the Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association resolution:
Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association Resolution regarding reduction of Agriculture Phosphorus  loading to Green Bay and Lake Michigan

Whereas, the Fox River is the largest contributor of phosphorus (21%) to Lake Michigan of all tributary streams as determined by USGS, and

Whereas, the Fox River is the third largest contributor of sediment to Lake Michigan of all tributary streams as determined by USGS, and

Whereas, the Total Maximum Daily Load and Watershed Management Plan for Total Phosphorus and Total Suspended Solids in the Lower Fox River Basin and Lower Green Bay identifies 45.7 percent of total phosphorus loading and 65.8 percent of Total Suspended Solids coming from Agriculture, and

Whereas, loading of phosphorus and sediment to Green Bay and Lake Michigan negatively impacts water quality, fisheries, wildlife, beaches, recreation, property values, tourism and jobs that are crucial to northeastern Wisconsin.

Now, Therefore Be It Resolved that the Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association forward the following proposed action items to Federal and State Legislators to enact policy to help reduce and move towards prevention of phosphorus loading to Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

Proposed action items:

  • Agriculture producers that receive Federal farm subsidies and CAFO’s that have WPDES permit – should be required to have a completed farm conservation plan that:

1. Documents soils test (once every 4 years) crop fields that are over 50ppm P.

2. Requires grassed waterway and buffer strip installation on fields greater than 50 ppm     Phosphorus as required in current P index 590 requirements.

3. Requires Manure Storage facilities are adequate for one year of storage for the number of livestock in the operation and the manure storage facility be properly fenced.

4. Require ownership or operation up to 3 acres, depending on soil types, of cropland for every animal unit so adequate land is available for land disposal of waste thereby creating a simplified nutrient management plan and promoting sustainable agriculture.

5. Require nutrient management plans be monitored to verify the plan is actually being followed by tracking soil phosphorus levels on individual fields.

6. Allow no feedlot or feed leachate runoff may reach waters of the state.

7. Require crop fields to be maintained at or below T values for soil loss. Cropping practices, precision field applications, constructed wetlands, sediment control basins and other options may be chosen by landowner.

Be It Further Resolved that the following compliance measures be put in place for noncompliance:

Compliance measures:

  1. Failure of any one of the points above removes Federal farm subsidy payments and State Working lands initiative credits for a year or until compliance achieved.
  2. Cost share will not be provided for CAFO’s or landowners receiving Federal Farm Subsidy payments to obtain conservation compliance.
  3. Yearly inspection and certification by conservationist is required.
  4. Schedules of compliance required for noncompliance farms.

Respectfully submitted by Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association to the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association for approval, and to be forwarded to all Wisconsin Federal and State Legislators for consideration.

Approved by Lake Michigan Area Land and Water Conservation Association October 14, 2011.



Filed under Uncategorized

2 responses to “More cows, more manure

  1. Pete

    Wonderful, wonderful…..Thank you Kewauneecares for a solid factual presentation as to what is happening to our county and what “bare bones” measures are needed to counteract the gross excesses and insults to our county environment!


  2. 3 acres for 1 cow? Is it just me or does that sound like quite a bit of land for an animal??


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