CropWatch, March 3, 2010 CropWatch Caution Urged with Winter Fertilizer and Manure Applications

CropWatch, March 3, 2010 CropWatch Caution Urged with Winter Fertilizer and Manure Applications

March 3, 2010

In some areas of the state much manure is being applied to crop fields to allow for more storage space. Growers also may be concerned that a wet spring will not leave enough time for later application. Fertilizer is also being applied to snow-covered, frozen ground, probably to spread out the workload or to take advantage of lower input costs.

With an above normal potential for a major thaw and runoff event this spring, there is a high risk of nutrient loss in runoff from these applications. This runoff represents a substantial economic loss to the grower and would contaminate surface waters with manure and fertilizer.

Such contamination leads to complaints, litigation, and eventually more demanding regulations.

If manure application at this time cannot be avoided, limit application to flat areas or small slopes far from surface waters and away from conduits to surface waters such as waterways and other areas where runoff concentrates.

If manure application is necessary, apply only the minimal amount necessary to allow for the storage you need.

Charles Wortmann
Extension Nutrient Management Specialist