Wet weather challenge for harvest, proper manure management

Recent wet weather in farm country makes fall challenging not only for harvest. It also can hamper land application of livestock manure after the crop comes off. Proper techniques to get the most value as fertilizer and avoid runoff polluting waters are available on the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) website. Farmers can use the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool that predicts the likelihood that applied manure will run off fields in daily, next day, and 72-hour increments. 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.

For large feedlots with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, surface application of liquid manure to frozen or snow-covered ground is prohibited after Nov. 30 except for emergency applications. Review the permit for specific requirements. The permittee must notify the Department of Public Safety Duty Officer (800-422-0798), and the MPCA by phone within 24 hours of an emergency application of liquid manure to frozen or snow -covered ground.