Weather a challenge for fall-winter manure spreading

For some livestock producers this year’s late fall harvest crunches the time available for spreading manure from brimming storage basins. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency urges Livestock producers to contact the State Duty Officer (1-800-422-0798) to report if their basin is full or nearly so.

The MPCA and County Feedlot Officers (CFOs) also want to hear from producers who mayhave storage room to spare for emergency use. The MPCA and CFOs can provide advice on best management practices for farmers to minimize impacts. Tips on bad weather manure management are available in the Managing manure, land application during adverse weather conditions fact sheet.

Farmers who apply manure during winter should review their manure management plan now to determine which fields are the most suitable to receive winter applications. If frozen soil prevents incorporating manure, a 300-foot setback from sensitive features is required. Fields for winter application should be level, distant from sensitive features, and have crop residue. Avoid spreading when furrows contain ice or snow.

Livestock operations of all sizes should avoid spreading manure during March and February when snowmelt or rain runoff can occur when the ground is still frozen. Wisconsin Discovery Farm’s field scale research has determined that manure applied during March and February has highest chance of runoff.