Location: Southeast Watershed ResearchTitle: Sustainable manure management: Exploring the 'Manureshed' concept in Georgia
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Sustainable nutrient management is a complex and daunting issue in the agriculture sector. This is especially true in regions where there is concentration of poultry and/or livestock production as in Georgia, where excess manure nutrient can accumulate to levels that can compromise sustainable use of natural resources. A group of multi-disciplinary researchers at USDA-ARS, working under the umbrella of the Long-Term Agroecosystem Research (LTAR) Network, recently birthed and are promoting the concept of manureshed as a holistic tool for sustainable manure management. A manureshed encompasses the lands surrounding concentrated animal production or feeding operations onto which manure nutrients can be redistributed to meet environmental, production, and economic goals. The concept seeks to address systematic imbalances in nutrient distributions at scales beyond the farmgate and potentially across county and state boundaries. Using this concept, researchers identified and highlighted a “mega-poultry-manureshed” extending from the Mid-Atlantic, across the southeast, and into northwest Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. It is important to stress that once delineated, manureshed management requires comprehensive consideration of manure treatment technologies, alternative uses such as bioenergy production, spatial distribution of soil nutrient levels, market development for treated manure products, transport of manure nutrients from source to sink areas, and manure brokering programs, as well as the human dimensions aspect, that promote optimal and sustainable manure nutrients redistribution. The five southeastern states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Mississippi, with Georgia heading the pack, consistently produce over 50% of the annual US broiler production of approximately 8.9 billion broiler heads. In 2017, Georgia’s contribution was 26.8% of that of the five states and 15.3% of that of US. There is a great opportunity in Georgia to implement the manureshed concept related to the state’s very important and successful poultry industry that produces huge amounts of poultry manures with concentration in the north and southeast counties. We recommend that stakeholder in this industry take a closer look at the manureshed concept to map out strategies that maximize profitable and sustainable use of poultry manure within and around the state.