A new National Animal Health Monitoring System report takes an in-depth look at nutrient management practices on U.S. dairies. The report was compiled from data collected during the Dairy 2002 study.

It found:

  • While bulk tank somatic cell counts (BTSCCs) are commonly used to ascertain the overall udder health of a dairy herd, there does not appear to be a correlation between manure handling methods and overall udder health — as measured by BTSCCs.
  • More than five out of 10 large dairy operations analyzed manure for nutrient content, compared to approximately four out of 10 medium operations and less than two out of 10 small operations.
  • More than 52 percent of large operations reported that the minimum distance they applied manure from a body of water was 1,000 feet or more. For medium operations, 28.9 percent reported a minimum distance of less than 100 feet, 29.4 percent reported a minimum distance of 100 to 499 feet and 35.3 percent reported a minimum distance of 1,000 feet or more.
  • During the study, which was prior to the U.S. Environmental Protection Service’s revision of Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations, 28.4 percent of medium operations and 42.2 percent of small operations had never head of a CAFO.
  • Approximately half of all large and medium operations had written management plans, compared to 23.3 percent of small operations.

To request a copy of the full report, go to: www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ceah/cahm