Need to Spread on a High Risk Day?

If your lagoon is full due to poor storage management and you need to apply manure during a high risk time, follow the guidance below. If you do not have any low risk fields to go to, find a neighboring field that is appropriate or haul to an additional storage lagoon.

    1. Check the Manure Spreading Advisory - The MSA shows the current runoff risk associated with manure application and can help you identify the most appropriate day to apply. If the risk is high, but you still need to apply today rather than have a lagoon breach, follow the following steps.
    2. Identify your low risk fields to apply to - Apply only to low risk fields during high risk times. Your low risk fields are identified on your risk management map in your Nutrient Management Plan. Haven't had a field risk assessment? Not sure what your low risk fields are? Contact your dairy planner to have a field risk assessment done today to identify those fields that are appropriate for application during high risk times. Typically, low risk fields are those that do not have a waterbody nearby, are a well-drained soil type, and have a vigorous forage crop growing.
    3. Determine agronomic rate - This lets you know if and how much manure is necessary to apply to a field. Even if you are applying due to poor storage management, you need to do an agronomic rate assessment to understand how much nutrient you are applying and what effect that will have on your crop. You can then adjust later applications to account for this additional nutrient application. In the early season, this is less of a concern and can be accounted for in later applications. After August, this is a concern and can lead to leaching issues if too much nutrient is applied.
    4. Fill out the Application Risk Management Worksheet for each specific field you would like to apply to. This must be conducted for the field that you apply to if the MSA is high. The ARM worksheet will identify those factors that have high risk for runoff and provide guidance on how to mitigate that risk. This worksheet must to be sent into your planner before you apply to assure that you have gone through all of the necessary steps for high risk applications. If the worksheet says the risk is high, but you still decide to apply, you may be at risk for a discharge event. It is better to find an alternative storage location instead of applying to a high risk field and having a runoff event.
    5. Apply manure following the current Manure Application Setback Guidance - It is imperative that you follow the current manure application setback distance for all areas that have potential to discharge into a water body (i.e., swale, ditch, adjacent stream, etc.). his guidance is in place to help you prevent having a runoff/discharge event.
    6. Prevention - If you are full at the wrong time of year, you need to do a clean water assessment for you farm. Fix all broken gutters, roof panels, and slab collection areas in the fall before the rain comes. This can make the difference between a discharge and proper application timing.


Please note, it is your responsibility to use your best judgment and adhere to all application guidelines outlined in your nutrient management plan. Always err on the side of caution to prevent unwanted discharges. Manure application practices that cause a discharge can lead to fines and/or necessitate a CAFO permit for your facility. The contents of this webpage and its creators assume no responsibility for inappropriate manure application. Proper application is ultimately your responsibility.