One of the serious challenges on horse farms is the disposal and management of manure. Many smaller horse farms indicate that disposing of horse manure is one of the chief challenges in equine management. The work proposed here will develop new cost-effective manure storage and management methodologies for equine producers. Since many do not have appropriate storage facilities or sufficient land for spreading, our first objective will be to develop appropriate low-cost storages for producers, and increase opportunities for off-farm disposal. Research will focus on adoption of composting technologies, the use of different bedding types and production for off-farm uses. Another emphasis will be on the energy potential of horse manure. While horse manure may not be suitable for anaerobic digestion, we hope to develop a product (pellet, briquette, etc.) that can be combusted to produce heat and for greenhouses, farm shops, etc.Pasture management and the adoption of Best Management Practices is another objective. Best Management Practices (BMP) refers to management practices effective in preventing or reducing pollution from nonpoint sources. Most, if not all, horse farms are non-point source polluters. Because many equine pastures are poorly managed, we will emphasize BMPs that can be readily adopted. Use of appropriate pasture mixes for seeding and renovation techniques are essential. The use of feeders to decrease mud in and around feeding areas, appropriate footing materials for dry lots, rotational grazing systems instead of continuous grazing, and proper stocking densities are all important for developing a more environmentally sustainable equine management model.Feeding management and stable management are two other research areas or objectives for this project. Elevated levels of nutrients in the diet will result in increased nutrient excretion and possible increases in runoff potential in manure. Research is planned with differing nutrient nitrogen and phosphorus) levels in the diet. Some of this will focus on the use of different forages, BUN production, and nitrogen excretion. We will also compare ammonia levels in stables on different managements.A final objective, (in collaboration with social scientists) is an analysis of barriers to BMP adoption on horse farms. The objective is to promote producer recognition of the relationship between BMP implementation and improved environmental quality on farms. Finally, we hope to produce some kind of a brochure that contains low-cost BMP alternatives that producers can implement to improve environmental quality.Weanticipate a variety of impacts, but main ones would be to improve rotational and pasture management systems, to develop more storage and disposal options for farmers, and to determine roadblocks to BMP adoption on equine farms.
|Effective start/end date||1/10/15 → 9/30/19|