Be extra cautious when applying liquid manure to dry farm fields this fall. While it may seem that dry fields can absorb larger amounts of liquid manure, there are other soil conditions that must be taken into consideration, say Amanda Meddles and Glen Arnold with The Ohio State University.

Dry soils often crack, and deep cracks can create a pathway directly to subsurface drainage. Worm holes also can have the same effect as night crawlers, and even crayfish, tend to burrow directly down to field tile.

Taking measures to prevent manure from reaching tile outlets is crucial to avoid contamination of water bodies.

One way to do this is to use tillage equipment that works the ground 3 to 5 inches deep prior to application, or injection equipment that disturbs the soil below the line of manure injection. Also, be sure to monitor tile outlets for manure flow during and immediately after application, as well as throughout the next 24 hours.