Farmers Urged to Limit Manure Spreading, Warned of Risky Runoff Conditions

February 21, 2007
Pat Sutter, Dane County Conservationist, 608/224-3730 Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive, 608/267-
Land & Water Resources

This week’s warmer temperatures coupled with snow-covered frozen ground are prime conditions for damaging manure runoffs, prompting Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk to remind area farmers of the new county ordinance developed after the fish-killing spills two years ago. “Many will remember the winter liquid manure spills a couple of winters ago. They caused fish kills and dumped phosphorus into Lake Mendota and the Sugar River,” Falk said. “I, along with the Dane County Board, immediately jumped into gear to do our best to prevent future spills. The result was the ordinance. “This is a brand new law – the first spring it is in effect. We had fantastic cooperation from our farmers as we went through the process of studying the issue that led to the creation of the ordinance,” Falk said. “Now it is time to remind our farmers about the risky conditions and the new regulations designed to help them keep their farms successful and the environment protected.” Dane County Ordinance (s) 14.18 requires producers to have in place a plan, approved by the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department, for spreading liquid/pumpable manure on frozen or snow-covered ground. The melting snow cannot filter the manure into the frozen ground, meaning manure spread atop snow can drain into nearby streams and lakes. Manure can kill fish or contribute to excessive weeds later in the year. Winter-spreading plans identify cropland fields considered lowest risk for runoff and able to protect environmentally sensitive areas. Land slope, maximum application rates, existing conservation practices and an emergency action plan are included in plans. A University of Wisconsin-Extension fact sheet on manure spreading is attached. For more information, contact Pat Sutter, Dane County Conservationist, 608-224-3730. # # #