Contact: Cathy Rofshus, 507-206-2608
Snow-covered and frozen soils make land application of manure a challenge. Producers run the risk of runoff, leading to loss of soil nutrients and potential contamination of water resources. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency advises the following:
- Watch weather and field conditions closely for a safe window to apply manure.
- State and local requirements vary, depending on feedlot size, federal or state permit status, and local laws.
- Refer to your state or local permit for specific details on land application restrictions.
- When in doubt about restrictions, contact your MPCA or county feedlot official with questions. Visit MPCA’s Feedlot Staff Contacts webpage.
The agency recommends these steps to prevent manure runoff:
- 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.
- Fields for winter application should be level, distant from sensitive features, and have crop residue.
- Consider lowering application rates.
- Monitor field edges to verify that manure runoff is not occurring. If runoff is occurring, report it to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 800-422-0798.
- If frozen soil prevents incorporating manure, a 300-foot setback from sensitive features such as streams is required.
- Avoid spreading when furrows contain ice or snow.
- Avoid surface applications:
- When there is 2 inches of snow or more and the weather forecast predicts temperatures to exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit within the next 24 hours.
- When the ground is frozen and/or snow covered and the weather forecast predicts a 50 percent chance of a 0.25 inch or more of rain in the next 24 hours.
- During February and March when most runoff events occur.
For more information, visit the Land application of manure webpage.