Many pork producers are preparing for fall manure application on crop fields. While there are many things to consider, an up-to-date nutrient management plan is among the first items to review, according to the Iowa Manure Management Action Group. “Prior to land application, review your manure, nutrient, or comprehensive nutrient management plan and make any necessary updates such as adding new fields,” the group recommends.
Know and observe land application separation distances, IMMAG stresses. State regulations or local ordinances may specify setback distances from specific areas and all applicators must be aware of local regulations. “All animal feeding operations, regardless of size, are subject to separation distances from designated areas such as water sources,” points out IMMAG.
An emergency action plan is very important to have and review around manure handling or application time. Keep it up-to-date and make sure all employees involved with application duties have a copy and that a copy is available where it is easily accessible. Be especially aware of risks associated with agitating and pumping manure.
Taking manure samples prior to land application will give you nutrient analysis results for planning application rates this fall, advises IMMAG. Nutrient assessment is important in determining application rates and will help producers maximize the value of the manure. “Because of the variables from feed management and manure storage systems, sample analysis is a critical step in getting a reliable estimate of nutrient levels so you know what you are applying,” says John Lory, Extension nutrient specialist, University of Missouri. “Ask for total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and moisture content.” See manure sampling information.
The IMMAG group recommends calibration of application equipment. “Calibrating manure application equipment takes a little time, but in the long run it will help you meet the correct application rate and make better use of your manure nutrients.”
Timing of application and consideration of neighbors are additional steps to review before application begins, says IMMAG. Read the IMMAG "Preparing for Fall Manure Application"Top 10 List.