Survey of dairy housing and manure management practices in California

D. Meyer, P. L. Price, Heidi A Rossow, Noelia Silva Del Rio, B. M. Karle, P. H. Robinson, E. J. DePeters, J. G. Fadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In 2007, a descriptive survey was mailed to all dairies in Glenn (G) and Tulare (T) Counties to identify current and future opportunities of manure management practices on California dairies. The purpose was to provide baseline information for development of outreach curriculum and a decision support tool to quantify potential benefits of various N management options on dairy farms. Such baseline information is valuable to staff regulating dairy facilities (e.g., San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District and Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board), dairy trade association representatives, and technology vendors. Response rates for each county were similar at 29.7% (n = 19; G) and 26.7% (n = 88; T). Mean milking herd size averaged 570 (range 50 to 3,000) cows in G and 1,800 (range 196 to 9,286) cows in T. Survey data are reported by location due to differences between counties in herd size, housing facilities, and climate. Freestalls are common housing facilities (63.2%, G; 38.6%, T) and separated solids and corral scrapings are commonly used as bedding in freestalls (81.8% G and 79.4% T). The most common methods of manure collection were flushing and scraping (18.8%, G; 44.7%, T), only flushing (43.8%, G; 34.1%, T), or only scraping daily or less frequently than daily (37.5%, G; 20.0%, T). Most dairy farms in G (63.2%) and T (70.5%) used some method of separating solids from liquids. However, mechanical separation systems alone were used by 5.3% G and 11.4% T of dairy farms. Storage or treatment ponds were found on 95.9% of dairies. Respondents identified existing manure management practices and did not indicate any new technologies were in use or being considered for manure management. Survey results were used to describe the 2 predominant manure management pathways of manure collection, storage, treatment, and utilization. Survey results will be used to develop and disseminate targeted information on manure treatment technologies, and on-farm evaluation of implemented technologies related to anaerobic digesters, solid liquid separation, and pond additives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4744-4750
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dairy manure management practices
  • Mitigation measures
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics


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