September 5, 2017
By Kevin Otte
Swine production has expanded in northwest Ohio, and with construction of the Clemens Group processing plant in Coldwater, Mich., there is even greater opportunity in Ohio. The state is home to 2.7 million hogs, according to statistics from December.
The areas for expansion fit well into northwest Ohio for both the land base and the minimal number of livestock operations in this part of the state. West-central Ohio is home to the nos. 1 and 2 swine-producing counties in the state, thus expansion efforts in this part of the state is at a crawl due to the abundance of swine producers already established.
How much expansion is expected?
It has been rumored that between 40 and 80 additional double-wide (2,400-head) swine finishing units would be needed to meet capacity at the new Clemens Group processing plant. If it is already known that expansion is likely to occur in northwest Ohio (and northeast Indiana), what then are some guidelines to look for or questions to answer for producers looking to get in on these expansion efforts?
What are the first steps to get started?
First, a producer needs to look at Ohio Department of Agriculture siting criteria even if the facility does not need to be permitted. A facility that requires a permit is one that houses more than 2,500 head of swine weighing more than 55 pounds. By following ODA criteria, the producer can assure themselves that a facility will be in an area that will be of minimal nuisance to neighbors and waters of the state. Using an example of a producer wanting to construct a single double-wide unit, the following are some of the ODA siting criteria that needs to be followed:
• 1,000 feet from residence
• 50 feet from well
• 300 feet from waters of the state
• 15 feet of low-permeable material below the bottom of the pit structure, or watertight with monitoring requirements
• soil borings
• engineered drawings and site layout
How do you plan for nutrient management?
The second item to consider is the volume of manure to be generated and the nutrient content of the manure. On average, a single double-wide unit can generate 780,000 gallons of liquid manure. Since phosphorus has been discussed, researched and scrutinized over the past several years regarding water quality, understanding the phosphorus content of the manure is crucial. For this example, consider 30 pounds phosphate (P2O5) per 1,000 gallons. This will be used for the calculations and discussion to follow. Using the 30 pounds per 1,000 gallons of P2O5, a single double-wide unit would generate 23,400 pounds of phosphate.
Next, a producer will need to look at the land base surrounding a potential facility site location to determine the number of acres that will be accessible for manure application. Soil test results are of upmost importance in regard to this determination. ODA and the Natural Resources conservation Service have similar rules and guidelines, respectively, for manure application in relation to soil test phosphors (STP) levels. The following are those rules and guidelines:
• less than 40 ppm STP (Mehlich III or Bray PI)
• maximum of 250 pounds of P2O5
• 40 to 100 ppm STP (Mehlich III or Bray PI)
• multiyear crop phosphorus removal
• 100 to 150 ppm STP
• single year crop phosphorus removal
• less than 150 ppm STP
• no manure
SWINE POPULATIONS: Northwest Ohio has the land base and a small number of livestock operations, making it a potentially good fit for additional swine operations to locate.
What kind of land base do I need?
The question becomes, how many acres would a producer need for a single double-wide unit? Let’s do the math. By knowing the gallons and pounds of phosphate a barn would generate along with average crop yields for the area and the typical crop rotations utilized, we can determine the acreage requirement for varying soil test phosphors levels. For this example, we will use a corn-soybean- wheat rotation with yields at 180, 60 and 85 bushels per acre, respectively.
For STP below 40 ppm, a producer could apply 8,333 gallons of manure per acre annually (if that rate does not exceed the intended crop’s nitrogen needs) and could do so on 94 acres. To determine to maximum rate that can be applied, divide the total maximum pounds per acre of phosphate that can be applied by the phosphate in the manure (250 ÷ 30). Then you divide the total gallons generated by the application rate (780,000 ÷ 8,333).
For STP of 40 to 100 ppm, a producer could apply 5,600 gallons per acre (if that rate does not exceed the intended crop’s nitrogen needs) and could do so on 139 acres annually. However, since the application rate is based on multiyear crop phosphorus removal, the producer will need access to a minimum of 417 acres (139 × 3-year crop rotation).
For STP of 100 to 150 ppm, a producer could apply only 2,200 gallons per acre. This rate typically will not exceed the nitrogen needs of the intended crop. Based on the three-crop rotation example, about 56 pounds per acre of phosphate needs to be removed on average annually. The producer will need access to a minimum of 355 acres annually. However, this rate could be applied to those same acres every year, since the rate was determined based on crop removal only.
It is important to note that the acres that a producer will need access to do not require ownership of those acres. Although, at a minimum, a manure land-use agreement needs to be in place between the swine producer and grain farmer to outline responsibilities of each party.
The state of the pork industry in Ohio is alive and in expansion mode. With that comes the need for proper siting and manure management, so that the rural communities of northwest Ohio, and beyond, can continue to flourish without concerns for water quality and ultimately their everyday lives.
Otte is a CCA at Otte Ag LLC. Email [email protected].
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