Abstract #T155

# T155
On-farm field days as a tool to demonstrate and educate about dairy waste management practices.
Mario E. de Haro-Marti*1, Mireille Chahine2, Lide Chen2, Howard W. Neibling3, 1University of Idaho, Gooding, ID, 2University of Idaho, Twin Falls, ID, 3University of Idaho, Kimberly, ID.

Teaching best management practices (BMP) or introducing new agricultural waste management practices to dairy producers and crop farmers is a challenge. A series of on-farm field days were designed to deliver information and demonstrate several waste management techniques. During these field days, extension personnel presented each technique and offered written information on how to apply them. Presentations by the livestock producers and farmers who are already applying the techniques and hosted each field day at their farms were a powerful tool to spark interest and conversations with attendees. Five field days were delivered in 2012 and 2013. The objectives were to demonstrate techniques aimed to reduce ammonia, greenhouse gases, and odor emissions, increase nitrogen retention from manure, reduce run-off risks, manage mortalities, and generate usable by-products from livestock and other agricultural wastes. Topics addressed on each field day were (a) dairy manure collection and composting; (b) dairy slurry manure land application using a drag hose and injection system; (c) two field days on grape vine prunings and dairy manure composting; (d) mortality and offal on-farm composting at a sheep and goat dairy farm. A total of 142 individuals attended the field days. In all cases, farm owners and their managers presented and were available to answer attendees’ questions, sharing their experience, and opinions regarding the demonstrated practices. Many attendees expressed their interest and willingness to adopt some of the demonstrated practices. On-farm field days are an excellent tool to increase understanding and adoption of BMP and new technologies. Hearing experiences first hand from producers applying the techniques and being able to see them in action are excellent outreach tools. On-farm field days also fit the fast pace, busy schedule of modern producers who can later visit with extension, industry, and other institutions personnel if they need more details, information, and help on how to adopt the techniques they are interested in.

Key Words: extension, field day