Managing manure storage during wet weather

Dr. Robert Burn
June 20, 2008
By Dr. Robert Burn
June 20, 2008, Iowa City, IA – During excessively high rainfall periods, Iowa producers with open manure storages should closely monitor manure levels to prevent these structures from over-topping.

manurelagoonIf manure levels in storage ponds or tanks approach full capacity, producers should make plans to remove manure from these structures. The over-topping of bermed earthen storage ponds and lagoons could result in breaching of earthen berms and loss of the structures. Producers should transfer manure from full storage structures to alternative storage if available during saturated soil conditions since land application of manure to saturated soils could result in run-off into surface waters.

If no alternative storage is available, producers should contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to discuss emergency wet-weather land application before allowing a storage tank or pond to overflow. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) suggests that producers should contact their local field office 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 structure.

Contact information for IDNR Field Offices:

  • Field Office # 1 - Manchester, Iowa (563) 927-2640
  • Field Office # 2 - Mason City, Iowa (641) 424-4073
  • Field Office # 3 - Spencer, Iowa (712) 262-4177
  • Field Office # 4 - Atlantic, Iowa (712) 243-1934
  • Field Office # 5 - Des Moines, Iowa (515) 725-0268
  • Field Office # 6 - Washington, Iowa (319) 653-2135

Additional information on managing manure storage structures can be accessed at www.extension.iastate.edu/ag/hottopicswetfields.html.

Dr. Robert Burn is a manure management specialist with Iowa State University Extension.

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