Spring is on its way and the smell of manure may have already started permeating the air in your area. Now is the deal time for spreading manure on fields. A study ran by the University of MN shows that fields injected with liquid dairy manures in April had 5% higher yields than fields injected in the fall. Applying manure before planting assures that more of the nutrients remain in the soil. There is also less opportunity for run off and losses with a short time before planting.
Be sure to follow the rules and regulations of your local area. Follow these best practices for preparation and application.
- Inspect your equipment before applying to make sure it functions properly.
- Have your manure tested for nutrient levels to know how much needs to be spread on the field.
- Calculate the rate of application of liquid manure based on field size and soil quality. A general rule for liquid manure is to apply no more than a ½” or 13,500 gallons per acre.
- Know drainage areas and tile lines in your field. Avoid spreading in these areas to prevent run off. Keep an eye on sloping areas and make sure there is enough of a buffer area for drainage.
- Have an emergency plan. If there were a leak or spill, know how you plan to contain it and have the means to do so.
- Make sure that the field is no longer frozen so the manure is able to permeate the soil.
- Check the weather before spreading. Try to spread during a dry spurt, to avoid rainfall which might create runoff, losing some of the nutrient value of the manure.
- Stick to your calculations. Apply just enough manure to add value to your soil without oversaturating.
- Keep records of when you spread, what fields, and how much manure to refer back to next season.
Hernandez, Jose. “Manure Application Considerations for This Spring.” University of MN Extension
Hoorman, James. “Tips for Spring Application of Manure.” OSU.edu
Nennich, Tamilee and Sutton, Alan. “Management Tips for Spring Manure Applications.” Purdue University
Wilson, Melissa. “Applying Manure This Spring? Start Planning Now.” Morning Ag Clips