MPCA and MDA emphasize proper manure management during a wet fall application season

Published 4:39 am Saturday, October 26, 2019

After crops are harvested, Minnesota livestock producers will be applying billions of gallons or pounds of stored manure to cropland. Wet weather is complicating the harvest, but it also plays a role in proper manure management.

To get the most value from manure as fertilizer and to avoid manure runoff that could pollute nearby lakes and streams, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is reminding farmers to observe application setbacks from bodies of water and use proper manure-application rates. Detailed guidance is available at:

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Avoid applying manure just prior to predicted rainfall, and reduce your application rates if field and weather conditions are not ideal. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast tool can help determine the best time to apply manure to a field. If the Runoff Risk forecast is moderate or severe, applicators should reevaluate the locations or dates for applying manure.

Farmers who apply manure during winter should apply to fields that are level, distant from sensitive features, and crop residue. If frozen soil prevents manure from being incorporated, a 300-foot setback from sensitive water and land features is required.

Avoid spreading when furrows contain ice or snow. Large feedlots with NPDES permits are prohibited from applying liquid manure to frozen or snow-covered ground after Nov. 30, except for emergency applications. Notify the State Duty Officer (800-422-0798) and the MPCA within 24 hours of an emergency application.

The recent above-average rainfall may also affect manure storage. Livestock producers using basins should keep an eye on levels and prevent overflows. Contact your county feedlot officer or MPCA feedlot staff if levels have or will exceed one foot from the top of the basin.