Spreading manure on frozen fields takes know-how

This week I attended the Manure Application Challenges and Issues Train the Trainer session at Salt Fork Lodge in Guernsey County, sponsored by the Ohio Livestock Coalition, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The purpose of this training is to prepare NRCS, local Soil and Water Conservation District and Extension personnel to present programs to producers that will bring them up to date on the new regulations now in effect in Ohio regarding manure applications on land.
Learned to teach. We will be presenting the information either as stand-alone meetings or in conjunction with LEAP training meetings for livestock producers.
The new regulations, based on EPA guidelines and referred to as “633 Regulations” are being enforced by local NRCS and SWCD personnel, plus inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Permitting and Regulations Section, headed by Kevin Elder.
In effect. New 633 regulations are now in effect and could mean changes in the way you handle, store and spread manure, especially in winter months.
The regulations also address the handling and disposal of waste water from several other sources: silage leachate, runoff from contaminated farm service roads, runoff from commodity storage and feed loading/mixing areas and runoff from feedlots and other livestock confinement areas.
Fact sheets. The most important thing you can do is to obtain 633 fact sheets prepared and distributed by the department of agriculture, either through ODA, local SWCD Offices or your local county extension office.
Read these fact sheets and become familiar with the new guidelines so you can incorporate them into your manure nutrient management plan and your comprehensive nutrient management plan.
The fact sheets contain concise charts describing various factors which influence when and how you can apply manure to land.
A number of factors influence when you can apply and how much you can apply.
Soil nutrient levels. For soils below 40 parts per million phosphorus (P), (80 pounds per acre), maximum manure application rates are based on the nitrogen needs of the crop.
For soils ranging from 40-100 PPM phosphorus, maximum application rates are nitrogen (1 year) or phosphorus (1 year or more) crop removal, and soils with less than 30 percent crop residue cover require incorporation of the manure within one week.
For soils with 100-150 PPM phosphorus, application rates are again based on N and P removal rates, but 50 percent crop residue cover is required if the manure is not incorporated within 1 week.
For soils with above 150 PPM phosphorus, no additional manure may be applied unless the phosphorus test index indicated otherwise.
Obviously, in order to calculate these crop removal rates and manure application rates, you must first know the appropriate soil test values and manure analysis values for N and P for your operation.
Test your soils and manure and keep accurate records of manure and fertilizer applications.
Slope. There are restrictions on applying manure to frozen land or snow-covered land.
Restrictions are more strict if land slope exceeds 6 percent, stricter yet, regardless of soil test or method of application, if slope exceeds 15 percent.
On land greater than 6 percent slope you can’t winter spread on more than 25 percent of the land, and only if surface residue criteria are met.
Proximity to water. Setbacks range from 33 feet to 300 feet away from drainage ways, wells, public surface water intakes, drainage wells, springs, and waters of the state such as road ditches, streams, lakes and rivers.
You need to read the restrictions and apply the correct ones for incorporated applications, surface applications, and winter applications, depending upon slope, vegetative cover and whether the land is tile drained.
No manure can be applied to soils prone to flooding unless it is applied outside of the expected flooding season and incorporated within 24 hours.
Residue cover. Besides the above restrictions, if manure is to be applied on frozen (too much frost to permit injection or tillage) or snow-covered land, the land must have 80 percent residue cover, and setbacks of 100 feet from drainage ways, 300 feet from public and private water wells, springs and intakes, and 500 feet from residences must be maintained.
You must notify ODA in advance of such applications.
Soil moisture. Manure must not be applied to tiled fields with running tile outlets, unless the water source is flowing springs.
Fields without tile drains must not have manure applied if the soil is at or above field capacity.
Monitoring of tile drain flow and surface runoff are required during and after manure applications.
Applying heavy manure applications to fields when wet weather is forecast could cause you to receive a visit and maybe a citation from an ODA inspector, SWCD program administrator, or a game warden.
NPDES. If a farm, no matter what its size, is discharging wastewater or has a history of problems related to discharging or runoff manure, it may be required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, permit.
This is a federal permit but the Ohio Department of Agriculture Livestock Environmental Permitting Program has the authority to inspect and enforce this permit.
Preferential flows. Gravity causes water and liquid manure to flow by the path of least resistance through the soil profile. Deep soil cracks, deep root channels from crops such as alfalfa and worm channels often lead directly to tile lines.
Manure injected into the soil under pressure sometimes reaches tile lines even faster.
Ontario, Canada, livestock producers now must comply with new regulations requiring tillage before liquid manure can be applied over tile lines.
Tillage disturbs soil cracks, root channels and worm burrows, thus interrupting these direct flows to tile drains.
Be alert, monitor tile drain outlets and watch for field runoff situations during manure applications. Be aware that tile plug devices fail about 50 percent of the time.
Calibrate. Calibrate manure application equipment and keep records of application rates. If you need help with calibration, contact your local SWCD or extension personnel.
Many producers apply manure at excessive rates without knowing it.
Crop removal requires applications of 3,000

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