Setting Manure Goals

Have fields or areas that are susceptible to manure runoff? In this post we’ll be talking about a few ways to keep manure and clean water sources separate and how to help you find manure management practices that are a good fit for your farm.

Goal number one: Are you using manure nutrients for enhancing soil?

The price of fertilizer has dramatically increased in the past couple of years. That is why it is practical to use a common fertilizer that is already being produced on your farm…manure. It is best to first develop nutrient strategies with a certified crop adviser so you are able to utilize the soil nutrients that improve on the fertility and productivity of your crops.

Goal number two: Are you protecting the health and safety of the public and livestock when you handle manure?

Limiting animal’s access to ponds, streams, ditches and wetlands, collecting manure frequently and avoiding stockpiling manure in a dry creek bed or ditches can help keep clean water sources clean.

Goal number three: In what ways are you preventing surface and ground water contamination?

By incorporating proper manure management practices on your farm, you can divert clean water away from manure by constructing berms, diversions or filter strips.

What do all these terms mean? Here are a handful of definitions.

Diversion is a channel constructed across a slope with a supporting ridge on the lower side and is put in place to control erosion and runoff.

Berms are designed to capture and let runoff soak in during frequent, but small storms. Constructing it perpendicular to the direction of runoff allows the pollutants to settle before the water is slowly released into pastures.

Filter strips slow runoff from fields by trapping and filtering nutrients, pesticides and sediments before reaching the surface waters.  They are planted between fields and the surface water to protect water quality.

If you have more questions on any of these terms please drop us a comment!

All of these goals and practices are discussion points to talk with your agronomist, crop adviser or land county officer when you are creating or updating your nutrient management plan. It is important to consider all options because one style does not fit all. Climate, landscape and herd sizes vary from farm to farm. Before you make plans and invest the money, see what method works best for you.

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