Manure Application Risk Management (ARM)

Part of properly managing your nutrients is knowing how to apply them in such a way that minimizes the risk of resource pollution, while also maximizes availability to plants. Application Risk Management (ARM) was developed to help you through the process of properly assessing, managing, and reducing the risks associated with applying manure to your fields. The system is meant to be used in conjunction with your individual Nutrient Management Plan, which lays out the risks associated with your farm fields and how to individually manage them. The ARM analysis should be used year round, but is particularly important during periods of high risk (Oct-March).

Before You Apply Manure, Follow These Steps

  1. Determine if manure application is agronomic. Depending on your crop and time of year, manure application may not be appropriate. Apply at the right time to match crop needs with nutrient availability.
  2. Check the Manure Spreading Advisory (MSA) to determine the best day to apply. The MSA will let you know what the real-time risk is for having a runoff event. This is your first line of defense is preventing a discharge.
  3. Fill out an Application Risk Management Worksheet for each field or group of fields you would like to apply to. This will help you determine the individual risk level for each field the day you want to apply.
  4. Follow the current Manure Application Setback Distance for all high risk areas (i.e., adjacent waterways, swales, wetlands, etc.) to reduce the potential of a discharge event. 

Application Risk Management (ARM) Plan

Smart and safe manure application begins with a farm wide plan. Whether you have one field or twenty, you should have and ARM assessment conducted as part of your DNMP process. An ARM plan provides you with:

  • A field risk inventory map that identifies your high and low risk fields for both runoff and leaching potential. This helps you select the best fields to apply to year-round. Knowing this information can help you better plan crop rotations, manure application schedules and timing, manage your storage more efficiently, and reduce your impact of surface and ground water quality in your community. 
  • The ability to apply on an agronomic basis rather then by set dates. This gives you flexibility to adjust to annual weather and field conditions and optimize crop production.
  • The real-time management tools to make low risk decisions and support those management selections.
Contact your local dairy planner today to get started.