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Online Maps Posted to Aid Farmers with Manure Runoff Issues
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 06/15/2011

New online tools are being made available for Wisconsin farmers who need to know when conditions are right to spread manure on their land. The web-based Wisconsin Manure Management Advisory System is comprised of two mapping tools that help farmers manage both the long- and short-term risk of manure runoff.

One tool, nutrient application restriction maps, will help farmers manage long-term runoff risk. The maps show appropriate areas and seasons for applying manure and fertilizers, based on over 30 years of weather history. This helps avoid long-term phosphorus build-up in soils, reduces the chances of nitrogen leaching into groundwater, and cuts the risk of winter spreading on fields where it should be avoided.

And the runoff risk advisory forecast helps farmers during the few times each year when runoff risk is high and they need just-in-time planning to avoid it. These maps are updated twice daily to show what parts of the state are at high risk for runoff in the next three days, based on rainfall, snowmelt, soil moisture, temperatures and weather forecasts. In the winter, they will show whether soils are frozen or snow-covered, or snow is melting.

The mapping website is a joint project of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Weather Service River Forecasting Center; U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service; University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and Soil Science Department; Discovery Farms; UW-Platteville and its Pioneer Farm; and U.S. Geological Survey.

Both tools are available at http://www.manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov.

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