IMMAG Updates

December 2018

Welcome to the monthly update for the Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) Web site. This update is provided as a service to inform you about changes made to the IMMAG Web Page or items of interest dealing with manure management and air quality from animal feeding operations. If you wish to subscribe to this mailing please click here. You may also view this update with direct links on the CURRENT NEWS site on IMMAG.

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Winter Manure Application – Best Application Tips

When manure is surface applied to snow-covered or frozen ground, there is an increased risk for manure runoff and consequently nutrient runoff into Iowa’s waters. Due to this increased risk, winter manure application is not recommended.

State law prevents confinement facilities with 500 or more animal units from applying liquid manure on ground with an inch of snow or one-half inch of ice from December 21st - April 1st or on frozen ground February 1st - April 1st except in an emergency. If emergency application is necessary, producers must call the local DNR field office to report emergency applications before they apply. Additionally, if you have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, winter application may be limited. Those with a Comprehensive Nutrient Management from NRCS need to carefully review their plan, as that does not allow winter application except in designated emergencies.

While the snow and frozen ground rules do not apply to open feedlots or poultry operations, manure application during winter months presents tough management decisions. If winter application is unavoidable, be sure to follow our Top Ten List of winter manure application considerations to ensure minimal nutrient loss and water quality impacts.

Top Ten Winter Manure Application Considerations:

  1. Take into account soil and weather conditions, avoid applying immediately prior to a precipitation or snowmelt event.
  2. Follow all separation distances (available here); even if separation distances are followed a water quality violation may still occur, so if possible increase the setback.
  3. Apply on the flattest slopes as far away from water sources as possible.
  4. Avoid application on areas that drain to surface tile intakes.
  5. Do not apply manure in a grassed waterway.
  6. Apply to areas where soil erosion is controlled.
  7. Store or stockpile manure in a way that does not cause runoff.
  8. Apply to areas of less snow-cover.
  9. Update your Manure Management Plan to reflect surface application rates.
  10. Receive approval for surface application if subject to Master Matrix requirements for injection or incorporation.

Manure Applicator Certification Preview

The Manure Applicator Certification program is gearing up for another year of statewide programs. During the commercial manure program will cover biosecurity practices for manure haulers and the effect of application timing on manure value. In the confinement site program, we will take a look at the impacts of manure management and cover crops on drainage water quality and yields. Dry manure program will include segments about nitrogen management and a discussion about the Iowa DNR violations and fines.

The statewide showing of the Commercial Manure Applicators program is scheduled for January 3rd, 2019, at 9 am. Click here for a list of County Extension Offices hosting this event. Commercial applicators are required to attend 3 hours of training annually or take and pass the certification exam annually. Certification requirements must be completed prior to handling, hauling, or land-applying manure.

Dates have been announced for the 2019 Confinement Site Manure Applicator Workshops. A complete list of workshops can be found here. Confinement applicators are required to complete 2 hours of training.

Applicators that primarily haul dry/solid manure should consider attending one of the six statewide workshops in February. This program meets the training requirements for both commercial and confinement site applicators. A list of counties hosting this workshop can be found here.

Interested in learning more about manure but don’t need to be certified? Come on in for the training anyway! This year’s program is loaded with valuable information, so if you are hoping to learn more about how your farm can get their most value from their manure stop in to get the latest tips.

The Manure Scoop

In this month’s Manure Scoop we discuss how switching from injection/incorporation may impact the manure application rate you choose. Take a read to hear how it may impact nitrogen delivery from your manure and how soil hydrology can play a much bigger role.


Commercial Manure Applicator Training
January 3, 2019, 76 locations

Crop Advantage Series
January 2019, multiple dates and locations

Iowa Pork Congress
January 23-24, 2019, Des Moines, Iowa

Soil Health Conference
February 4-5, 2019, Ames, Iowa

Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management Short Course
February 19, 2019, Ames, Iowa


Dan Andersen
(515) 294-4210
Twitter: @DrManure

Rachel Kennedy
(515) 294-6685

Melissa McEnany
(515) 294-9075

Iowa Manure Management Action Group
Twitter: @iowamanure

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