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Manure Applicators Urged to Plan Their Spreading Activity
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/16/2018

Wisconsin agriculture officials are asking farmers and custom operators to check the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast online before spreading manure. Sara Walling, the water quality section leader with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, says manure application should be avoided during high-risk runoff times. But if farmers must spread manure during such times, they should steer clear of high risk fields and have a spill response plan in place.

"We strongly encourage farmers to avoid spreading manure during high-risk runoff times, but if they must, they should steer clear of high risk fields and have a spill response plan in place," Walling said. "It's important to get manure pits emptied, but it's equally important to spread manure when and where it will remain to fertilize the crop, and protect lakes, streams and groundwater."

The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is part of the Wisconsin Manure Management Advisory System. The program is available online at: manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov.

The runoff forecast provides maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily application planning, taking into account factors including soil moisture, weather forecast, crop cover, snow cover, and slope. It is updated three times daily by the National Weather Service.

Meanwhile, farmers should contact their crop consultants or county land conservation offices for help identifying alternatives to spreading, such as stacking manure away from lakes or rivers, drinking water wells, or area with sinkholes or exposed bedrock. If farmers must spread manure, crop consultants and county conservationists can help identify fields where the risk is lower.

While discouraging spreading during high-risk times, Walling also advises farmers to have an emergency plan in any case.

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