Masters Theses


Gary Bullen

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Agricultural Economics

Major Professor

Burton C. English

Committee Members

William Park, Greg Pompelli


Recently, greater environmental awareness has resulted in placing greater value on the proper management of animal waste. Dairy farmers have become concerned about the possibilities of future regulations that may affect their farm income. Nitrates associated with agricultural practices is a major water quality concern. Dairy farms in particular have been cited as contributors to the water quality degradation because of animal waste and high use of nitrogen fertilizer. Best Management Practices (BMP) have been developed to address the unique issues associated with nonpoint source pollution. BMP's to control animal waste are usually associated with some type of waste storage. It is generally accepted the storage structures will allow better timing of manure disposal, thus reducing nitrogen loss.

This study examined the effects farm income effects on including a waste storage system. Most dairy farms in East Tennessee do not have a waste storage system. A recent survey found less than 70 percent of dairies used a daily haul system. The specific objectives of the study were to develop a linear programming model to evaluate the farm level effects of adding a waste storage system. The third objective was to evaluate the ability of each system to met a nitrogen loss restriction.

A linear programming model and a simulation model were integrated in this analysis. A simulation model was used to develop a nitrogen loss coefficient. Daily haul system was compared to five typical systems; dry stack, earthen pit, earthen pit with irrigation, lagoon and lagoon with irrigation. The income effects of adding the five systems were compared to the daily haul. It was assumed that waste system would differ in their ability to met nitrogen loss reductions because of timing and crop utilization of nitrogen. Partial budgeting was used to develop coefficients for two farm sizes. Information needed the partial budgeting came from survey and extension specialist.

Earthen pit with irrigation increased income as compared to the daily haul system for the 60 cow dairy. Earthen pit with irrigation, lagoon and lagoon with irrigation increased income for the 100 cow dairy. This increase in income as compared to daily haul can be attributed to better timing and utilization of nitrogen fertilizer and labor savings with the irrigation systems. A marginal cost curve of reducing the amount of allowable nitrogen loss was developed for each system. The 100 cow dairy could best meet the nitrogen loss constraint with the daily haul system. While the earthen pit with irrigation was better able to meet the nitrogen loss constraint.

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