Farmers have many responsibilities to ensure that their cows, their crops, the land and then environment are all well-taken care of because it’s the belief that, as farmers, we need to leave this land in better conditions than when we received it from the previous generation. Taking care of the land includes managing the soil, the crops we harvest each fall and one of the biggest components of being the best stewards we can is managing the manure that our cows produce.
It’s not always a fun and exciting conversation but yes, our cows produce manure but did you know that manure is 80-90% water? It’s true. What you see farmers spreading in the fields is mainly water, which is either from the result of rumination in cows, but it can also include spillage at the water tub area and rain water (or even snow melt which we’ve had a lot of lately)! It can also include some bedding material such as sawdust, straw or sand – all organic materials which are great things for the health of the soil we farm.
As farmers, we follow strict plans and guidelines for most everything we do on our farm including how we raise our cows, what crops we’re going to plant and even how much manure we can spread on each field and when we can apply it. These guidelines are developed, not just us as farmers, but through a collaboration of many experts in the industry.
We care about the land and we continue to be the best stewards we can be because we live on this land and we know you’re raising your family here too so it’s our responsibility to ensure it’s healthy enough to pass onto the next generation. Check out our video about how farmers implement stewardship practices on their farms every day.
Louise Calderwood works for the Northeast Agribusiness and Feed Alliance. For more information about NEAFA, visit their website.