By David Hendee
OMAHA, Neb (Reuters) - What's your idea of a fun outdoor activity on a day with temperatures about 95 degrees (Fahrenheit, 35 degrees Celsius)?
How about a manure show?
Norfolk, Nebraska, the hometown of the late U.S. television personality Johnny Carson, hosted on Wednesday the 2011 North American Manure Expo.
The trade show was billed as the only training event in the world that spreads animal waste to demonstrate the latest advances in manure management technologies.
Managing manure is a big issue on farms. A 300-cow dairy operation produces an average of 8,725 gallons (33,000 liters) of waste per day, or more than 3.1 million gallons (11.7 million liters) a year, according to Clemson University researchers.
Manure spread on cropland provides important nutrients to soil and plants.
The expo was rich in material. Attendees could test their knowledge at a "Manure Scene Investigation." Or they could watch history be made when feedlot manure is applied below the surface of the soil for the first time using a device developed by U.S. Agriculture Department researchers in Arkansas for poultry litter.
Antique manure spreaders slung waste in demonstrations of how far the industry has progressed.
"There's something for everyone, including anyone that is concerned for the environment and wants to know how livestock producers are handling manure to avoid water contamination," said Leslie Johnson, project coordinator for the Animal Manure Management work group at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
More than 50 exhibitors from across the United States and Canada displayed and demonstrated all types and sizes of manure handling equipment including manure and fertilizer spreaders, manure incorporation equipment, GPS equipment for manure application and manure storage options.
(Writing and reporting by David Hendee; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Jerry Norton)