New online tools can help Wisconsin farmers know when conditions are right to spread manure on their land, so it stays on the fields to fertilize the soil instead of risking pollution of streams and groundwater.
The Web-based Wisconsin Manure Management Advisory System is comprised of two mapping tools that help farmers manage both the long- and shortterm risk of manure runoff.
One tool, nutrient application restriction maps, will help farmers manage long-term runoff risk. The maps show appropriate areas and seasons for applying manure and fertilizers, based on over 30 years of weather history. This helps avoid long-term phosphorus build-up in soils, reduces the chances of nitrogen leaching into groundwater, and cuts the risk of winter spreading on fields where it should be avoided.
The second tool, called the runoff risk advisory forecast, helps farmers during the few times each year when runoff risk is high and they need “just-in-time” planning to avoid it. These maps are updated twice daily to show what parts of the state are at high risk for runoff in the next three days, based on rainfall, snowmelt, soil moisture, temperatures and weather forecasts. In the winter, they will show whether soils are frozen or snow-covered, or snow is melting.
Both tools are available here.