Livestock Manure Management in Minnesota

Rapid snow melt and potential for flooding pose challenges for manure management among the more than 25,000 livestock farms in Minnesota. Many farmers who spread solid manure during winter must ensure that it doesn’t run off with rapid snowmelt flowing to ditches, streams and other waters. Manure-contaminated runoff not only threatens water quality, it reduces the value of manure as a crop nutrient. If possible, farmers should refrain from spreading manure during periods of rapid melt. Minnesota rules require a 300-foot setback from surface waters and open tile intakes for all manure spread onto frozen or snow-covered soil.

Livestock farms that experience manure runoff into waters of the state must report to the Minnesota Duty Officer by calling 800-422-0798, and take immediate action to reduce environmental impact, such as creating temporary berms to stop discharge, temporarily plugging culverts and drain tile intakes to prevent manure inflow, and soaking up liquid with absorbent material, such as hay, straw, cornstalks or wood shavings.

For more information, see the MPCA fact sheet, “Managing manure and land application during adverse weather conditions” at www.pca.state.mn.us/publications/wq-f8-46.pdf, contact your county or MPCA feedlot staff, (See www.pca.state.mn.us/zihy6a1), or call the MPCA at 800-657-3864.

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