10 Commandments of Manure Application

Timothy Terry, Farm Strategic Planning Specialist
Harvest New York

March 11, 2015
10 Commandments of Manure Application

With the advent of spring weather, and most of us suffering varying degrees of cabin fever, the rush will soon be on to empty those manure storages. With that in mind, we offer you the 10 Commandments of Manure Application reminders.

1. Thou shall not spread manure within 20' of a ditch, intermittent stream, or surface inlet unless injected or immediately incorporated. Thou shall record the date and time of such application.

2. Thou shall not spread manure within 100' of a pond, lake, wetland, or perennial stream unless an adequate vegetated buffer strip has been established then thou may not spread closer than 35'.

3. Thou shall not apply manure in fall or winter to open ground on high leaching index fields without first planting winter hardy cover crops where manure will be applied.

4. Thou shall not spread manure on saturated, frozen, or snow covered soils unless such spreading is absolutely necessary. When absolutely necessary, thou shall not spread within 48 hours of a predicted rainfall, snowmelt, or other runoff conditions.

5. Thou shall not spread manure within 100' of any well -- yours or your neighbor's well. Thou shall know where wells border thy fields and the potential for groundwater contamination from thy farm's activity! Thou shall request information on the location of thy neighbor's (or rental landowner's) wells.

6. Thou shall not locate temporary manure piles within 300' of a well, surface water, or surface inlet. Thou shall locate them where clean water will be excluded and access is practical even during poor weather conditions.

7. Thou shall not spread manure in the fall or winter on fields that have a potential to flood.

8. Thou shall not exceed the soil's infiltration or water holding capacity in any total single application of liquid manure. Thou shall adjust this amount to avoid runoff or loss to subsurface tile drains.

9. Thou shall not allow fall and winter manure applications to exceed 50% of the next crop's nitrogen needs.

10. Thou shall not commence manure spreading without an annual detailed review from thy crop consultant. Thou may reduce, but thou shall not exceed, the recommended applications rates.

Print off the PDF below and place a copy in each truck and/or tractor that will be used to spread manure; ANY manure -- liquid, solid, semi-solid!

10 Commandments of Manure Application (pdf; 94KB)

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