March is not a good month to spread manure

The snowy conditions and warmer temperatures along with a little rain now-and-then makes March a very risky month for farm field runoff. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is asking farmers to check the online risk advisory forecast before spreading manure this month.

The advisory is part of the Wisconsin Manure Management Advisory System that provides maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily application planning, and also maps for long-term application planning. It was developed by DATCP, the National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Service, and University of Wisconsin.

The runoff risk forecast is updated three times a day by the National Weather Service and takes into account soil moisture, weather and factors such as land cover and slope. Farmers can click on the runoff advisory map to display the specific risk assessment, precipitation reading and other information for their area, Walling says.

Farmers who don’t have enough storage to avoid spreading are encouraged to contact their crop consultants or county land conservation agents to help identify alternatives to spreading. Alternatives can include stacking the manure away from fields near lakes or rivers, and away from drinking water wells and areas with sinkholes or exposed bedrock.

If a farmer must landspread, conservation agents and crop consultants can help identify fields where the risk is lower that manure will run off when spread on those fields.

The risk advisory forecast is available here:

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