Manure Manager

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Michigan releases new nutrient management tool


June 23, 2017, Lansing, MI – The MSU EnviroImpact Tool is a new online tool that provides maps showing short-term runoff risks for daily manure application planning purposes—taking into account factors such as precipitation, temperature, soil moisture and landscape characteristics.

Farmers handling and applying livestock manure in Michigan can use this tool during any time of year to determine how risky it will be to spread manure on their fields.

“The MSU EnviroImpact Tool, jointly funded by MSU and MDARD, provides the latest technology in weather forecasting at the fingertips of Michigan farmers,” said MSU Extension Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute Director Dr. Ronald Bates. “This online, mobile-friendly tool helps farmers assess their risk of possible runoff as they develop their manure spreading schedules. Farmers have the ability to adjust their management plans if a rainfall event on particular fields is imminent—enabling them to make better management decisions and improve their ability to protect Michigan’s water quality.”

The MSU EnviroImpact Tool is part of a multi-state regional effort to improve “Runoff Risk Decision Support” tools. 

Runoff Risk Decision Support tools are a unique example of collaboration between federal and state agencies, universities, and the agricultural industry to develop real-time tools and provide guidance to help address the issue of nutrient application timing.

While the purpose of this tool is to help reduce the risk of applied manure leaving agricultural fields, it is very important that farmers also follow Manure Management Plans and assess the risk for each field prior to manure applications.

Livestock producers and manure applicators can contact their local Conservation Districts or MSU Extension for help in developing a Manure Management Plan. Another resource for making manure application decisions is MDARD’s Right to Farm Generally Accepted Agricultural Management Practices for Manure Management and Utilization.

“This initiative helps provide farmers with the latest tools necessary for farming profitably while reducing risks to Michigan’s environment,” said Joe Kelpinski, Manager of MDARD’s MAEAP program. “The MSU EnviroImpact Tool, coupled with tools like the ‘Manure Application Risk Index’ and the ‘Winter Manure Spreading Risk Based Decision Making Tool,’ will give producers a suite of tools to apply manure to their fields and satisfy crop production needs more efficiently, effectively, and safely.”

In the coming months, partners will continue to reach out to farmers, manure applicators, and others to increase awareness of this new beneficial tool. Those interested in viewing or using the MSU EnviroImpact Tool can visit www.enviroimpact.iwr.msu.edu.

For questions or comments, please contact Shelby Burlew at MSU Extension at bollwah1@anr.msu.edu; Jason Piwarski at the MSU Institute of Water Research at piwarsk1@msu.edu; or Kip Cronk at Michigan Sea Grant at cronkkip@msu.edu.