Angela Rieck-Hinz, Iowa Manure Management Action Group coordinator, shares a few comments relative to the wet spring and manure management.

  • Those fields that have had liquid manure applied at rates intended for growing corn can be switched to soybean on or after June 1 with no penalty of over-application of manure nitrogen. Document the changes in the crop rotation, application methods and other changes in your annual manure management plan forms.
  • Livestock producers with DNR manure management plans are reminded that if they have already applied the maximum nitrogen rate to the field, they can’t apply additional sources of nitrogen unless the need is confirmed by the use of the last spring nitrate test (LSNT).
  • Open manure storages should be monitored closely to prevent these structures from over-topping. If manure levels in storage ponds or tanks approaches full capacity producers should make plans to remove manure from these structures. Transfer manure from full storage structures to alternative storages if available. If no alternative storage is available contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to discuss emergency wet-weather land application before allowing a storage tank or pond to overflow. If manure levels reach one foot below the top of a concrete or steel structure, or within two feet of the top of an earthen bermed structures contact the local Iowa DNR field office.
  • Emergency manure application tips include: hauling a few loads to lighter, well-drained soils that may support manure application equipment. If using tankers consider filling them to less than full capacity to limit weight. To minimize the risk of nutrient transport, avoid fields with a high risk of runoff or flooding, consider applying to the driest portions of fields, and reduce the manure application rate. Apply to fields with flatter slopes and lower phosphorus index scores and try to apply at least 24 hours before substantial rainfall to help prevent runoff. If this doesn’t follow your manure management plan be sure to update the plan accordingly.
  • Develop and/or review your emergency application plan. Wet weather and muddy conditions increase the chances for something to go wrong and can slow response. Review the emergency response plan with employees. Emphasize who to contact, safety issues, and what to do when emergencies occur. Potential issues to discuss include how to contain the spill, who to contact (both within the company and the appropriate agencies), and how to perform the clean-up and the necessary repairs. If possible a copy of these resources should be placed in the tractor.

For more information see the IMMAG web page.