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How Will Radiation Affect Dairy Production?

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that milk products in Spokane, Wash had 0.8 pCi/L of iodine-131, a level 5,000 times lower than the Derived Intervention Level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is believed the radiation is from the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The EPA continues to with state and local governments on monitoring of milk under its RADNET program.

“Iodine 131 has a half-life of eight days, meaning that every eight days it loses half its strength. Since production of iodine 131 stopped when the Fukushima reactors shut down on March 11, it has already been through two half-lives and could easily be halved once or twice more again before the milk is consumed as cheese or yogurt." the New York Times reported.

Can Dairy Practices Reduce Carbon Footprints?

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A study on milk production use of Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin (rbST) showed a reduction in the carbon footprint of dairies. Using rbST to increase milk production in cows means that less cows, resources, and energy are needed produce the same quantity of milk, when compared to a dairy operation not using rbST.

"Environmental sustainability is an important consideration in agricultural production, with emphasis placed upon meeting human food requirements while mitigating environmental impact. The present study demonstrates that use of rbST markedly improves the efficiency of milk production and mitigates environmental parameters, including eutrophication and acidification, greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use," wrote the study’s authors.

Power To The Poultry Manure

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Poultry manure, as a by product of poultry production, is getting attention of public groups in the Shenandoah Valley (VA). The big question is what to do with it. As source of energy, manure represents an opportunity. But the approach to generating usable energy can be controversial.

All manure to energy systems offer at least one source of revenue for poultry growers, the purchase of poultry litter to start the process. The large and small scale options differ, however, in several ways: grower contract requirements, from none to a 10 year commitment; the price paid for the litter, from $5 to $15 a ton or more; the grower’s investment, from none to $100,000 or more; and who owns the power generated, electricity, bio-gas or bio-oil, and any other saleable byproducts, such as fertilizer.

The Shenandoah Valley Poultry Litter to Energy Watershed & Air Advisory Group has been meeting to help capture public opinion, develop solutions, and put forth executable approaches.

DairyCast Update for March 25, 2011, Are Air Emissions A Concern?

It's muddy boots time as spring hits full swing.  If your boots aren't muddy, you must be in Texas where drought is threatening to break a decades long record of dryness. 

We're thinking Washington this week as farm bill discussions continue.  ProFarmer's Jim Wiesemeyer shares his outlook on macro factors affecting agriculture.  Also some exciting news in nanoparticle technology as it relates to air quality in livestock operations.

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CAFOs Vs EPA, What Next?

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In a ruling that will reduce uncertainty about how concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are regulated, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans stated that the US Environmental Protection Agency exceeded its "statutory authority" in requiring concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) apply for Clean Water Act permits.

 

"NPPC is very pleased with the 5th Circuit’s decision," said NPPC President Doug Wolf, a pork producer from Lancaster, Wis. "The court recognized a clear limit on EPA’s authority and required the agency to comply with the clean water law."

  What is yet unclear is how the EPA will respond and if any of the State environmental agencies will adjust their approach to trying to regulate CAFOs through local action.