Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Animal Waste Management In New Mexico

As of October 2001, there were 273,000 dairy cows in New Mexico. It is estimated that by the year 2010 there will be a total of 365,000 lactating cows in the state. New cows.jpgMexico ranks first in the nation for herd size with an average of 1,582 cows per herd. Dairy operations generate approximately 2-3 pounds of manure and wastewater per pound of milk produced. Furthermore, lactating cows produce feces at an average rate of 8.2% of their body weight per day. Wet manure contains approximately 12 to 13% solid material. It is estimated that a mature 1300-pound cow will excrete 2.5 tons of dry manure solids each year.

Given the size of the industry in New Mexico, it is clear that proper animal waste management is of concern to producers, the public and regulators as well.

Resources and Programs

New Mexico State University (NMSU) provides research, education and extension resources to assist state and federal agencies, business and industry, communities and individual citizens in addressing water quality concerns. These programs are designed to provide information for specific audiences, such as farmers, homeowners and youth.

New Mexico State University has established programs designed to provide assistance with waste management. Below are some key links to information and resources available to assist you.

Extension Outreach

NMSU is home to New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service, which develops and delivers programs designed to provide educational outreach into all counties of the state. Outreach education enables the research developed at colleges and universities and from other sources throughout the world to be interpreted and delivered to the end user, which is often a home or business owner or agricultural producer. Some of the major Extension education programs addressing waste management are:

New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service maintains an active website containing information concerning the dairy industry in New Mexico. In addition, the Arizona and New Mexico Dairy Newsletter is published cooperatively by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service and the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Extension specialists and agents in select counties are routinely involved in manure management programs. Several related workshops providing manure Best Management Practices (BMP’s) and regulatory compliance have been held around the state. A manure management handbook is available from New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service entitled “Manure Management and Regulatory Compliance for New Mexico Crop and Livestock Producers”. For information on obtaining the handbook, contact Robert Flynn (, 505-748-1228) or Craig Runyan (, 505-646-1131) with NMSU. In addition, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service in cooperation with Colorado State University and Utah State University Extension have produced “Manure Best Management Practices: A Practical Guide for Dairies in Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico.”

New Mexico has implemented a certification program for Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning (CNMP). Partners in this program include the New Mexico Environment Department, Surface Water Quality Bureau, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and NMSU Cooperative Extension Service. Initial certification training occurred in the spring of 2001. Additional training and a Continuing Education program are being developed for CNMP. As part of New Mexico’s program for CNMP, NMSU in cooperation with NM-NRCS has developed a fertilizer management tool on-line. The jobsheet is for producers to use with soil testing interpretation and fertilizer management decision making.

The New Mexico Dairy Technical Workgroup, which has a broad range of members from educational institutions, regulatory agencies and industry, provides a forum for delivering technical and administrative information. The Workgroup meets several times a year. Additional training opportunities are held regularly as required. For more information contact: Michael Looper, Extension Dairy Specialist (, 505-646-3019), Robert Flynn, Extension Agronomist (, 505-748-1228), or Craig Runyan, Extension Water Quality Specialist (, 505-646-1131).


Here are some selected research projects on New Mexico water issues:

Whole Animal Composting at Large Dairies in Southern New Mexico, Dr. Michael Looper, Assistant Professor, Animal Science Department, College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

Saline and Sodic Soils Management; Dr. Robert Flynn, Assistant Professor, Artesia Agricultural Science Center and Dr. April Ulery, Assistant Professor, Horticulture Department; College of Agriculture and Home Economics.

College and University Education

Youth and continuing adult education are critical to develop new talent and human resources to address the water quality issues of the future. Educational curricula in waste management are available within several departments at New Mexico State University. Courses in key departments include:

Home | About Us | Minutes | Reporting | Glossary
National Site | Accessibility Policy | Logos USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Southern Regional Water Program