Manure Manager

Plan now for manure application after harvest

September 29, 2008  by Iowa Department of Natural Resources


Plan now for manure application after harvest
Before harvest reaches its peak is a good time for manure applicators
to plan for land application after harvest.

Before harvest reaches its peak is a good time for manure applicators to plan for land application after harvest. 
manure03“First things first. Commercial and private applicators should check to make sure their certification is current,” said Jeff Prier who coordinates the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s applicator certification program. 
If not, applicators can contact the nearest Iowa State University Extension office to make an appointment to complete their training. Or, they can contact any of the six Iowa DNR field offices that offer testing for certification.
“Equally important, applicators should take this lull before harvest is completed to review their emergency action plans,” said Angela Rieck-Hinz, ISU Extension agronomist and educator. “It’s a good time to check over the plans, make sure all the emergency contacts are still correct and to remind employees on the proper responses to an accident or spill.”
It’s a good time to check and calibrate equipment to make sure it is in good working order. Proper maintenance can help prevent spills, leaks and complaints.
Prier and Rieck-Hinz recommended manure applicators review maps and manure or nutrient management plans prior to land application. Applicators should also look at the required separation distances from environmentally sensitive areas prior to going into the field. Prier said commercial applicators should also keep a copy of the producer’s application instructions in their files. 
It’s also important to consider weather conditions and field conditions. Prier said avoiding a manure release into a stream or a fish kill may be as simple as delaying application until the ground dries out a little or making sure there is no heavy rain in the forecast.
Finally, if there is a spill or manure release, applicators must call the Iowa DNR 24-hour spill line within six hours of the spill or its discovery. The number is (515) 281-8694. 
An Iowa DNR specialist will respond to the spill. In many cases, they can provide advice on how to keep manure contained and prevent or reduce water quality problems.



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