Ag briefs: Manure limitations set to take effect July 1

Wisconsin State Farmer
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Manure limitations set to take effect July 1

New restrictions on manure spreading in eastern Wisconsin are set to take effect July 1.

The state Department of Natural Resources started working on the rules in 2016 in response to drinking water contamination in Kewaunee County. The agency initially drafted rules that would have applied statewide, triggering intense pushback from the dairy industry.

The final version of the rules limits how much manure farms in 15 eastern Wisconsin counties can spread. Limits vary according to the depth of each farm's topsoil. Farmers will be prohibited from spreading manure in areas with less than 2 feet of soil.

The rules also carve out zones around wells where manure can't be spread.


Anthrax confirmed in cattle herd

Officials say anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota livestock for the first time year this year.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven has confirmed that eight cows died out of a herd of 87 unvaccinated cattle in Clark County.

The Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University confirmed the disease from samples submitted over the weekend.

Anthrax can cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a short time. Infected livestock often are found dead with no illness detected.
The South Dakota Animal Industry Board says anthrax spores survive indefinitely in contaminated soil. The board says strict enforcement of quarantines and proper burning and burying of carcasses suspected to have died from anthrax is important to prevent further soil contamination from bacterial spores.


Sauk County elk tests positive for CWD

Wisconsin agriculture officials have quarantined a Sauk County breeding farm after a captive elk tested positive for chronic wasting disease.

The state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced the quarantine of the Dennis B. Denman farm Monday. The agency said in a news release the elk was a 5-year-old cow that died giving birth and the National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the animal was infected.

The agency is investigating how the animal contracted the disease.

The release didn't say when the elk died or when the lab confirmed the infection. The quarantine means no animals can leave or move into the farm.


Blueberry farm agrees to $200K deal with migrant workers

Lawyers for 330 migrant workers and a western Michigan blueberry farm have agreed to settle a lawsuit over pay.

A federal judge is holding a hearing Wednesday. Each worker is likely to get at least $300. Payments could be higher if people can't be found and money is leftover.

Blue Star Farms in Allegan County was accused of failing to keep accurate records and failing to fully pay workers during the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons. The farm denied the allegations but agreed to settle the lawsuit.

The money would be paid over a few years because the farm can't immediately afford to foot the bill. The total settlement is valued at $200,000. Lawyers for the workers would get up to $66,000.


Sewage spill causes fish kill in Oklahoma creek

A notoriously polluted stream in northeast Oklahoma got a dose of effluent that turned part of the stream black and killed fish along the stretch.

The Tulsa World reports that the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the Grand River Dam Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture have responded to the Friday spill that blackened Tar Creek and killed fish along a 2-mile (3-kilometer) stretch near Miami, Oklahoma. The Agriculture Department is investigating the incident because the spill involved a farm.

J-M Farms announced Monday a broken coupling allowed a collection water transfer pipe to leak into a tributary. The farm has committed to restoring the creek to pre-spill condition.

Tar Creek is considered one of the country's most polluted waterways and is the namesake of the Tar Creek Superfund Site, established in 1983.


Grizzly euthanized after killing cattle

Wildlife officials captured and euthanized a male grizzly bear believed to have killed cattle on private property in south-central Montana.

Montana wildlife biologist Shawn Stewart says the bear caught east of Red Lodge on Friday was 5 to 7 years old. He says the bear's paws were about the same size as tracks found in areas were four yearling calves were killed.

A number of grizzly bears have been seen in the area east of Red Lodge during the past few years. Stewart said biologists will continue to monitor the area for bear additional bear activity and depredation.