Manure Manager

Features Regional Regulations
Check fact sheet for help with rising manure storage

March 31, 2011  by South Dakota State University

manurelagoonMarch 31, 2011 – With snow
still on the ground and more precipitation expected, some livestock producers
might have concerns about the capacity of their manure storage systems.
March 31, 2011 – With snow
still on the ground and more precipitation expected, some livestock producers
might have concerns about the capacity of their manure storage systems.

That’s according to South
Dakota Cooperative Extension
Environmental Quality Engineer Specialist Erin
Cortus, who said the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR)
has put together a fact sheet on manure management system
practices for wet weather conditions.


“The fact sheet can help
producers prevent discharges or flooding of their manure management systems,
and it was designed for those producers operating under a South Dakota DENR
General Water Pollution Control Permit,” Cortus said. “The fact sheet also
includes some important practices for all producers to follow. We want to
remind all producers that careful planning now will reduce the risk of manure
discharges later.”

The fact sheet Cortus
mentioned – Wet Weather Manure Management System Management Practices, March
2011 – is available by clicking here. Cortus said that all producers should
monitor and record the levels of their manure storage systems on at least a
weekly basis.

“This is not only a
requirement of the General Permit, but it can also help any producer prepare
and plan for land application,” she said. “To keep clean water out of manure
containment systems, producers should also ensure clean water diversions are in
good working order and free of ice.”

Taking this step can
prevent ice jams that can cause clean water to come into contact with manure
and enter a manure management system, Cortus said. 

“Similarly, we’d encourage
producers to watch for ice buildup in manure transfer areas like piping between
pens and in manure settling channels or sediment basins, so that the manure
will flow to areas where it is contained,” Cortus said. “To allow for normal
winter operation in open lots, the General Permit allows snow containing some
manure to be removed from a feeding operation and to be land-applied on land
with slopes less than four percent.” 

The law requires buffer
zones of at least 100 feet be maintained to any drainage, and the department
recommends producers follow the Natural Resources Conservation Service Nutrient
Management Standard 590.

“That requirement allows
no more than 10 percent of the annual solid manure production to be applied in
the winter,” Cortus said. “By removing snow from around feed bunks, watering
areas, lot areas, and sediment basins, the amount of water the manure
containment system will have to handle will be reduced during spring melt.”

Producers whose manure
storage systems become full before land-application conditions are ideal can
apply excess to wet or frozen land. However, there are application guidelines
that lessen the potential environmental impact of this practice.

“This action is preferable
to an overflowing manure containment system, but it is important to start
watching your fields now so you can determine the best fields available if you
have to land-apply manure,” said Cortus. “If applying on frozen or wet soil is
the only option, look for the driest fields available that are flat or that
have less than four percent slope. Consider vegetated or no-till land, and
remember to maintain at least a 100-foot buffer zone from any drainage.”


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