IMMAG Updates

December 2017

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.

Follow iowamanure on Twitter Follow the Iowa Manure Management Action Group on Twitter at @iowamanure.


Celebrating 20 years of The Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG)

By Angie Rieck-Hinz, Extension Field Agronomist and former IMMAG Coordinator

The Iowa Manure Management Action Group was established in the spring of 1997 through the leadership of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). IMMAG was organized as state-level technical committee with representation from the NRCS, Iowa Environmental Council, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Poultry Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Conservation Districts of Iowa, Farm Credit Services of Iowa, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), Division of Soil Conservation of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Beef Center, Iowa Pork Industry Center, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The mission of this state-level technical committee was to provide a vehicle for a coordinated and comprehensive approach to improve manure management in Iowa. Let me take you back 20 years. At that time, the state of Iowa was just beginning to develop requirements for nutrient management plans. While other regulatory requirements already existed, it was difficult for livestock producers to find information on requirements and we were really at the crux of the beginning of livestock expansion in the state. The next decade plus would see several regulatory packages developed by the legislature and implemented by the IDNR. We would also see the beginning of the development of a technical service industry in Iowa comprised of self-starters looking to provide services to livestock producers to develop manure management plans, help site facilities, and land-apply manure as commercial manure applicators, in addition to other services.

To address the rapid developments at that time, IMMAG was formed to identify, create, and share manure management information and educational programs. This information was to be housed on a central clearinghouse, or web page, and to be made accessible to all. In the early years, IMMAG was funded by NRCS and then IDNR through a statewide manure management initiative.

Over the course of the first two years, the IMMAG web page primary focus was on outreach and education programs. When the Odor and Nutrient Management Newsletter was no longer published, the newsletter efforts also rolled into the IMMAG domain and the newsletter was distributed electronically, as it is today. The next 8 years saw the development of fact sheets, planning guides, and record-keeping notebooks to address manure management issues. IMMAG also hosted many manure application field days, RUSLE2 and Iowa P Index training workshops, and small feedlot tours designed to help smaller open feedlot owners adopt practices for water quality protection. IMMAG provided coordination of three yearly "Manure Schools" that primarily focused on training service providers and agency professionals. The group also coordinated multiple livestock facility tours for agency professionals to help the regulatory community better understand modern livestock production and manure handling practices.

click to enlarge photoIMMAG proved to be an effective partnership of all the groups involved and the increased level of communication and educational materials produced was instrumental in keeping livestock producers in compliance with regulatory requirements, ensuring manure was valued as a nutrient resource and not a waste, and helped to protect to water quality.

Today the IMMAG web page and the IMMAG newsletter continue with support from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Very few programs have such a rich history of partnership and extended existence and service to Iowans.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Liisa Jarvinen, the web page designer who has been there since day one, and also Rachel Kennedy, Melissa McEnany, and Dr. Dan Andersen for continuing on the work that was started 20 years ago. I hope to see this continue for another 20 years. Congratulations! Keep up the great work!

Winter Manure Application - Rule Reminders

What is the best way to avoid manure nutrient loss and negatively impacting water quality? Do not apply manure during winter months. When manure is surface applied to snow-covered or frozen ground, there is an increased risk of 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 from December 21st - April 1st or on frozen ground February 1st - April 1st except in an emergency.  Lack of storage or improperly designed or managed storage does not qualify as 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.

click photo to enlargeWhile 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 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, explore basics of soil compaction and how it pertains to manure application equipment and identify ways to get the most value from manure. The confinement site program includes an update on manure application uniformity and tips when responding to a spill. Dry manure program provides methods to improve team communication and review of stockpiling regulations.

The statewide showing of the Commercial Manure Applicators program is scheduled for January 4th, 2018, 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 2018 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.

CERCLA reporting required for some livestock and poultry farmers: Update

Livestock and poultry farmers above a certain size may have to report emissions of ammonia or hydrogen sulfide. In December of 2008, EPA published a final rule that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements in CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) and EPCRA. Since that time, this ruling was challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals and on April 11, 2017, the court struck down the final rule, eliminating the reporting exemptions for farms. EPA has sought additional time from the court to delay the effective date, so that EPA could develop guidance materials to help farmers understand their reporting obligations. On November 22, 2017, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals granted EPA’s motion to further stay the mandate until January 22, 2018. Farms with continuous releases do not have to submit their initial continuous release notification until the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issues its order or mandate. This is expected to occur around January 22, 2018. More complete details will be provided in the next IMMAG newsletter and on the IMMAG website after January 1.

The Manure Scoop

In this month’s Manure Scoop, we take a look at the literature on how manure application can help build soil organic matter. Take a look at this month’s blog post to get the details.

The Night Before Christmas Out on the Farm

click photo to enlargeTwas the night before Christmas on the farm,
Not a critter was bawling, no cause for alarm
Cattle were resting, at ease in their stalls,
While hay forks and brooms were propped near the walls.
A calf born to the Brown Swiss cow,
Bedded with straw from up in the mow.
When out in the barnyard there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my milking stool to see what’s the matter.

I looked out the window and what should I see,
But a merry old man and a sleigh filled with glee,
He parked on the barn roof,
The tin rumbled like thunder under their hoof,
Down through the hay chute ole Saint Nick came,
His lantern was bright a shimmering flame,
He pulled out his sack quick as could be,
Paused to eat cheese of cheddar and brie,

From his sack the gifs were supplied.
Seed corn and beans and nitrogen oxide,
Full mangers and feed sacks, and pats their backs,
Cows were all happy and filled to the max,
He turned and he left, ascending chop-chop,
Back to his sleigh on the rooftop.
I stood there a moment then turned out the light,
Happy Christmas you cows, and to all a good night.


January 4, 2018, 9:00 am -- Commercial Manure Applicator Certification, 71 locations statewide
January 2018 -- Crop Advantage Series, 14 locations statewide
January 24-25, 2018 -- Iowa Pork Congress, Des Moines
January 25-26, 2018 -- Driftless Beef Conference, Dubuque


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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