If you winter-spread manure, beware of this week’s weather. The predicted warming trend for many snow-covered areas presents some tricky management challenges.

With the warming trend that is predicted for the first week in March, it is likely we will lose significant snow and with the snow loss comes a very high risk of losing the manure with the snow, says Angela Rieck-Hinz, Iowa State University extension agronomy program specialist and coordinator of the Iowa Manure Management Action Group.
Nutrient loss from runoff can be significant thereby rendering those manure nutrients useless for crop production and consequently causing stream and surface water pollution. If you are going to use manure as a nutrient source for crop production then you should consider protecting that nutrient investment at all costs by limiting the risk of nutrient runoff, she notes. 

If you must apply manure in late winter, follow these recommendations:

  • Consider applying on flat slopes.
  • Apply as far away from surface waters as possible. 
  • Follow all required separation distances. 
  • Avoid application on areas that drain to surface tile inlets.  
  • Do not apply manure in a grassed waterway.  
  • Wait until the snow melts. 
  • Avoid application prior to predicted rainfall, snow of warming conditions that could cause snow to melt or runoff.  

More information.

Source: Iowa State University