Example Management Practices for Animal Confinement Areas

Example Management Practices for Animal Confinement Areas

Table 5.1

Example management practices for animal confinement areas

(derived from Table 1 in Telega and Cook, 2003; )

Environmental goal / Management practices
Animal nutrition management /
  • Design feed diets to not exceed nutrient requirements of the animals, thus reducing the amount of excreted nutrients (e.g., low-phosphorus feeds)
  • Food supplements can be used to reduce production of specific waste constituents (e.g., zinc in poultry diets can reduce ammonia emissions (Kim and Patterson, 2003))
  • For more info, see LPES Lessons #10 to 13 on animal dietary strategies (

Clean water diversion - exclude clean water from contaminated areas /
  • Runoff water from roofs, driveways, and other clean areas should not be allowed to mix with water contaminated with manure or feed.
  • Surface runoff from areas upgradient of the animals should be channeled around the facility
  • Keep clean water clean; collect and treat contaminated water
  • See LPES Lesson #22 on Open Lot Runoff Management Options

Eliminate, contain, collect, and treat runoff /
  • Use covered facilities for storing waste, feed, or fertilizer
  • Re-evaluate the use of the barnyard. Eliminating the barnyard, making it smaller, or relocating it to a better site will make addressing runoff concerns less problematic and expensive. Replace barnyards with covered concrete pads.
  • Barnyard and other facility runoff should be contained, collected, and released to vegetative filter areas or spread on cropland
  • See LPES Lesson #22 on Open Lot Runoff Management Options

Control runoff from bunk silos /
  • Consider installing a low-flow, high concentration collection system with a high-flow, low-concentration filter area one-third the size of the bunk area to control silage juices
  • Managing the silage for the proper moisture content and to prevent spoilage also reduces the potential of pollution

Identify alternative uses for manure /
  • Haul manure to areas outside of the source water area where it is needed and won’t help cause excessive nutrient levels in source waters
  • Consider value-added salable products that can be generated from animal manure, including composted and odor-free fertilizers, soil amendments or feed additives
  • Energy can be obtained from manure through either combustion, biological conversion (anaerobic digestion), or chemical conversion (to methanol)
  • See

Table 5.1 (Continued)

Environmental goal / Management practices
Waste treatment /
  • Lagoons, anaerobic digesters, composting, physicochemical process systems, and constructed wetlands are just a few of the available waste treatment options
  • Apply good operating and maintenance procedures to treatment systems such as for milk house waste or egg wash water
  • Pump all settling and storage tanks regularly
  • Keep leach fields and vegetative filter areas clean, healthy, and functioning

Fence animals out of watercourses /
  • Do NOT allow animals to wander along creeks and streams!
  • Install fencing and provide alternate drinking water supply for the animals
  • Use cattle crossings where needed
  • Maintain grass buffer areas around lakes and ponds, and along creeks that run close to the farm

Keep piles of manure and spoiled silage away from watercourses /
  • Allow at least 300-foot flow path to the nearest down-slope watercourse
  • Manage the flow course to provide diffuse overland flow through well-vegetated fields
  • Keep upslope water from contacting the piles

Restrict access of animals to well heads /
  • Wells are in direct contact with ground water and can easily cause contamination when animals mill around them, particularly old, shallow, or abandoned wells

Properly dispose of dead animals /
  • Consult authorities and comply with state and local laws about mortality disposal
  • Arrange for rendering service pickup within 48 hours
  • Proper composting of dead animals is the next best option
  • If buried on farm, keep at least 200 foot away from a watercourse
  • Bury under a 3-foot minimum of well-packed earth
  • See LPES Lesson #51 on Mortality Management

Odor and nuisance control /
  • Unpleasant odors are the number one reason neighbors complain about AFOs. AFOs should do everything operationally possible to keep manure odors and other nuisances to a minimum
  • Maintain open communication with neighbors so complaints come directly to you instead of local authorities
  • See LPES Lessons #40 to #44 on Outdoor Air Quality

Note: All Livestock and Poultry Environmental Stewardship (LPES) Curriculum lessons are available at

Source: "Source Water Protection for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: A Guide for Drinking Water Utilities"; Gullick et al., ©AwwaRF 2006