State issues manure run-off advisoryWhether we're in a January thaw, or the very early start of spring, the state of Wisconsin has issued a warning that there's a high risk of manure running off farm fields.
By: Chuck Quirmbach, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Whether we're in a January thaw, or the very early start of spring, the state of Wisconsin has issued a warning that there's a high risk of manure running off farm fields.
The state Ag Department and DNR say the vast majority of Wisconsin is at high risk of snow melt runoff in the next three to ten days. Runoff warnings are more common in March or April but Ag Department official Sara Walling says here we go in mid-January, "Well, temperatures and rain will make snow melt rapidly."
Walling says DATCAP is particularly worried about runoff of manure that farmers spread on their fields from their livestock operations. Walling says her agency is asking farmers to either not spread the animal waste, or if they don't have much of a manure storage area, use a state manure management website. Walling says there's some good advice on the site, "We're intending to alert when run off risk is highest."
The DNR concedes that thousands of dairy farms won't be inspected to see if they’re adjusting their manure spreading. But nutrient management specialist Andrew Craig says farmers can save money by not spreading the waste during peak run-off, "The manure is valuable. You could lose nutrients to grow crops."
Craig also says he thinks many farmers want to protect local water quality.