A dry fall has helped producers complete a large part of manure and fertilizer application, but low stream flow can mean extra risk for any spills or runoff that occurs.
“Unfortunately, when it rains after a long run of dry weather, even the smallest spill or runoff can cause problems in a nearby stream,” said Ken Hessenius, supervisor of the Spencer DNR field office. “Because conditions are right for a fish kill or other water quality problem, it pays off for producers to be more careful when it’s dry, and especially right before a rain.”
Livestock and crop producers can minimize the risk by following these tips:
• Watch pumps and hoses, monitoring closely for leaks and pressure losses.
• Keep a spill kit handy with emergency equipment, phone numbers and tools.
• Think about how to move dirt quickly in case you need to create a small dam.
• Make sure all manure is injected or incorporated into the field, or follow required separation distances from vulnerable areas like streams, wells and lakes.
Open feedlots are the most likely to have problems with runoff. Make sure lots are scraped and cleaned. It’s a good time for stockpiles to be land applied too.
Hessenius added that most problems with application can be avoided with a little care.
The DNR and ISU Extension have fact sheets and information that can help, too. Check the Iowa Manure Management Action Group’s or DNR websites at www.agronext.iastate.edu/immag/pubslandapplhauling.html or look under Environment, Land Stewardship, Animal Feeding Operations on www.iowadnr.gov for resources and fact sheets.
For more information contact Ken Hessenius at 712-262-4177 or Kenneth.Hessenius@dnr.iowa.gov.