In Wisconsin, farmers are experiencing an interruption in farm to milk plant processing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an oversupply of some dairy products, such that certain plants are asking farmers to reduce production and limit the amount of milk they normally ship. Due to the speed at which the dairy market interruption has come, this is sadly resulting in some portion of daily milk production needing to be re-assimilated at the farm level for immediate or future land application.
The University of Wisconsin CALS, UWEX, and NPM put together a recorded webinar with supporting materials to guide the handling and application of raw milk at the farmstead and onto farmland. Go to this link to listen and gather BMP guidance:
Raw milk contains plant-available nutrients and should be credited at a book value of 46 N – 26 P2O5 – 17 K2O – 2 S per 1,000 gallons applied.
Raw milk has a high BOD (biological oxygen demand) and if inadvertently spilled into surface water, the microbes that begin feeding on and breaking down milk will also consume oxygen out of the water, harming fish and aquatic life.
For the sake of nutrients and BOD, if the land application becomes necessary, great care should be taken to minimize milk runoff to surface water, leaching to groundwater, or macropore flows into tile drainage. Use all the nutrient management and soil and water conservation BMPs you normally would, as if handling and spreading manure.
Decomposing milk will have an odor, evident if stored at the manure pit, as well as on spread fields. Be “neighbor friendly” when considering the land application of milk or milky-manure.
Milk contains fat that will accumulate on surfaces and plug small holes. Use caution to not introduce milk into manure separators, septic fields, and other places where a fatty film is not desired.
Click on the link and listen. The link also provides access to printed reference materials: https://ipcm.wisc.edu/blog/2020/04/considerations-of-landspreading-milk/
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