Managing manure during flood conditions

Heavy rains over the last two months are challenging the capacity of manure storage basins. The MPCA is asking farmers to communicate proactively with the State Duty Officer to report if their basin is full or nearly full.

What to do and who to contact

For Permitted and Non-Permitted Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO):

  • Release of manure from liquid manure storage areas
    • Immediate notification to the State Duty Officer — 800-422-0798.
  • Freeboard encroachment/imminent release
    • State Duty Officer notification within 24 hrs. — 800-422-0798.
  • Emergency Land Application (land owned or operated by the feedlot but not included in Manure Management Plan)
    • State Duty Officer notification within 24 hrs. — 800-422-0798.
    • Apply only the volume that is necessary to prevent manure storage overflows.
    • Apply at agronomic rates.
    • Maintain setbacks to all sensitive features (e.g. lakes, streams, surface tile intakes, etc…).
    • Do not exceed hydraulic loading capacity of the land based on soil conditions.
  • Transfer of manure to others (land not owned or operated by the feedlot)
    • Apply at agronomic rates.
    • Maintain setbacks to all sensitive features (e.g. lakes, streams, surface tile intakes, etc…).
    • Do not exceed hydraulic loading capacity of the land based on soil conditions.
  • For Permitted CAFO’s: all releases, freeboard encroachments, emergency land applications, transfer of manure, must be reported as part of the 2016 Annual CAFO Report.

For Non-CAFO facilities:

  • Overflows, potential releases, freeboard encroachment
    • State Duty Officer Notification — 800-422-0798.
    • Contact Local County Feedlot Officer.

Helpful practices

  • Begin to land-apply immediately on portions of harvested fields that have dried sufficiently, for example, on higher ground.
  • Consider temporary stockpiling of solid manure until field conditions are more favorable.
  • Pump manure storage basins at least partially to avoid any overflow before winter and land apply the remaining manure in spring.
  • Look around the area for other available fields from neighboring crop farmers, or other approved manure storage space.
  • For better access to wet fields, do not fill tankers to capacity.
  • Reduce the impact of manure applied to the surface of wet or frozen soil:
    • Avoid steeper slopes — seek fields, or parts of fields with less than 6 percent slope for solid manure, 2 percent for liquid manure, or have greater than 30 percent residue.        
    • Stay 300 feet away from sensitive features, such as surface water and tile intakes.
    • Perform tillage along contours to create furrows to capture any potential runoff.
  • Avoid flood or floodway zones.
  • Keep application rate low enough to avoid runoff or ponding during application.
  • Check with county regarding local ordinances.
  • Take immediate action to reduce environmental impact such as:
    • Creating temporary berms to stop discharge.
    • Temporarily plugging culverts and tile intakes to prevent manure inflow.
    • Soak up liquid with absorbent material such as hay, straw or wood shavings.
  • Do not modify your basin without approval from the MPCA or County Feedlot Officer.
  • Do not store manure in unpermitted basins.