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DATCP: Snow Melt, Rainfall Demand Caution in Spreading Manure
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/14/2019

With snow melting and rain falling on frozen soil, Wisconsin's Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast is completely pink as of Wednesday, meaning the risk of manure runoff is severe statewide. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture urges farmers to keep this in mind as they consider emptying manure storage that may be full. Spreading manure while the risk of runoff is severe could cause manure runoff into streams, threatening water quality.

At the click of a mouse, farmers can check the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, available online at, for the latest information on spreading risks. The runoff forecast provides maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily application planning, taking into account soil saturation and temperature, weather forecast, snow and crop cover, and slope. It is updated three times daily by the National Weather Service.

"It's always a bad idea to spread manure during high-risk runoff times, and we strongly advise against it," said Richard Castelnuovo, chief of resource management with DATCP. "Farmers should contact their crop consultants, county land conservation offices, or the Department of Natural Resources for help identifying alternatives to high-risk spreading, such as stacking manure away from lakes or rivers, drinking water wells, or areas with sinkholes or exposed bedrock."

Castelnuovo says if farmers must spread manure, crop consultants and county conservationists can help identify fields where the risk is lower.

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