Manure Manager

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Online maps help WI farmers cut runoff risk


June 15, 2011
By Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection

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manureinjectionJune 15, 2011, Madison, WI
– New online tools can help Wisconsin farmers know when conditions are right to
spread manure on their land, so it stays on the fields to fertilize the soil
instead of risking pollution of streams and groundwater.
June 15, 2011, Madison, WI
– New online tools can help Wisconsin farmers know when conditions are right to
spread manure on their land, so it stays on the fields to fertilize the soil
instead of risking pollution of streams and groundwater.

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.

manureinjection  
   

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.

The second tool, called
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.

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

“We’ve been developing
these systems over several years as part of our efforts to better manage animal
waste and fertilizer applications,” said Jim VandenBrook, water quality section
chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer
Protection
.

“We’ve drawn on the
expertise of a lot of state and federal partners to come up with a practical
system. Crop consultants and nutrient management planners have already been
using the nutrient application restriction maps, as have farmers. With the
addition of the new runoff risk advisory forecast, farmers don’t have to guess
how risky it is to spread manure.”


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