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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In May the newsletter focused on resources available for regulatory compliance and stewardship for open feedlots. The goal was to use the June/July newsletter to identify resources for compliance and stewardship for confinement feeding operations, all to help you prepare for inspections by DNR. However, due to excessive rainfall in many parts of Iowa this newsletter will focus on manure management strategies to employ during excessively wet weather.
This information will discuss practices prior to rainfall events and post-rainfall management strategies. We fully recognize that due to the extended period of wet weather, the strategies employed prior to a rainfall event may be a moot point for some areas of the state.
Prior to impending heavy rains, or repeated rainfall:
- Keep open lots scraped to reduce the amount of manure that might wash off the lot.
- Make sure settling basins have been cleaned and are ready to function at full capacity.
- Make sure all clean-water diversions are functioning correctly to route clean water around lots and pens.
- Make sure gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and direct water away from feedlot floors and pens.
- Locate stockpiles high on the landscape and follow all regulations for stockpiling open feedlot manure as explained in the fact sheet from DNR.
- Check and recheck outdoor liquid manure storage structures to maintain freeboard storage requirements and if needed, haul a few loads to maintain storage capacity with impending rains.
- For earthen basins at full capacity- find alternative storage in advance of heavy rains. Be sure to protect the integrity of the earthen berm and respect freeboard requirements. Keep grass and weeds mowed and remove trees.
- Check all pumps and pipes to make sure they are functioning correctly.
- Do not apply manure or stockpile manure in grassed waterways.
- Have your emergency action plan in place not only for manure concerns, but for other structural failures such as an electrical outage
After heavy rains or excessive rainfall:
- Walk below lots and pens to determine if and where water and manure might be flowing. If this water reaches a stream, it is considered a discharge so make notes and plan to make corrective actions when conditions are suitable.
- Check manure levels in deep-pits. Although not as impacted as outdoor storage, keep an eye on manure levels in case there has been leakage or direct run-in of water into the pit.
- Identify potential locations to transfer manure in the event your storage is full or land-application is not possible.
- If land-application is necessary, consider using hay or pasture, work with neighbors if necessary to find appropriate locations, chose flat slopes, fields with a low P-index rating, and stay far away from streams and water courses.
- Continue to keep records to show you are properly operating and maintaining your manure system.
One area of concern for runoff that we don’t often think about is feed storage areas. Keep mixing and loading areas clean by pushing feed spills back into commodity storage. Only uncover the immediate need for feeding when feeding covered feedstuffs. Check for silage leachate and direct any runoff away from streams and road ditches.
Because soils are already saturated and application will be difficult if not impossible, be sure to work with DNR to find alternative measures if you think your outdoor storage structure will overtop. Land-application, even on saturated soils will be preferable to overtopping earthen basins or lagoons as overtopping can sometimes cause a blowout of the entire storage structure. Also be sure to have additional locations identified that may better allow manure application in wet weather and include those emergency locations in your manure plan prior to actual land application.
DNR Field Offices
Mason City: 641-424-4073
Des Moines: 515-725-0268
The IMMAG Events page is a compilation of manure management related events. Please check the events page often for new listings.
Plan to attend the 2014 Manure Expo Valuing Manure and the Environment, near Springfield, MO on July 8 and 9. This is a great event to see manure equipment in action, listen to current research on manure issues and network with industry representatives.
Finally, I just want to share a quick personal note about me and my position at ISU. On June 1st I became the Extension Field Agronomist for 9 counties in NC Iowa. I will no longer be coordinating the Manure Applicator Certification program, but I will still manage the IMMAG newsletter and the IMMAG web page and work on general manure and agronomic issues. My email address remains the same, but my campus phone will cease to exist in the next week or so. I have shared my new phone number below. Next month I will share a list of ISU experts that you can contact as needed, but feel free to contact me and I will get you to the right folks for assistance.
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