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Sample fields this fall if using manure for fertilizer


September 29, 2008
By Iowa Department of Natural Resources

spreadingmanureNEWS HIGHLIGHT

Sample fields this fall if using manure for fertilizer

Whether you are a livestock or crop producer, if your fields will be
receiving manure, especially from a confinement operation, you may need
to sample soils this fall. 

Whether you are a livestock or crop producer, if your fields will be receiving manure, especially from a confinement operation, you may need to sample soils this fall. 
 
spreadingmanureThere are three major groups that need to sample soils when the manure source is a confinement required to have a manure management plan. 
 
First, the producers who initially submitted their manure management plans prior to April 1, 2002, will need to use the phosphorus or P index for the first time in their annual plan updates. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates about 1,500 to 2,000 livestock and poultry producers will need to update plans in the coming year, September 2008 through August 2009. The P index is used in a manure management plan to help determine appropriate levels of phosphorus application based on erosion, nearness of streams and other factors. 
 
The second group of livestock producers have existing manure management plans that have already incorporated the P index. They need to re-sample soils if the soil samples are four years old. 

A third group are the crop producers receiving manure from a livestock producer who is required to have a manure management plan. In this case, the crop producer will need to use the P index and soil loss equation to determine proper land application rates. Check with your livestock producer or the Iowa DNR to see what is required.
 
The P index uses soil phosphorus concentration, erosion rates and other factors to determine the risk of phosphorus from a field entering surface waters.  Therefore, fields with very high soil P concentrations and high erosion rates are more likely to be affected. 
 
Producers who have questions about whether or not they need to sample, should contact their local DNR field office or check the Iowa DNR web site at www.iowadnr.gov under animal feeding operations. 
 
There are six DNR field offices located in the following parts of the state:

  • Northeast Iowa, Manchester, (563) 927-2640.
  • North Central Iowa, Mason City, (641) 424-4073.
  • Northwest Iowa, Spencer, (712) 262-4177.
  • Southwest Iowa, Atlantic, (712) 243-1934.
  • South Central Iowa, Des Moines, (515) 725-0268.
  • Southeast Iowa, Washington, (319) 653-2135.


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