How To Manage Stored Manure And Protect Your Water

Runoff from improperly stored or managed manure can lead to contamination of groundwater and surface water. Land application of manure at proper agronomic rates or composting of manure conserves nutrients contained in the manure and minimizes leaching and runoff of contaminants. Manure storage in an appropriate structure increases a producer’s flexibility regarding the timing of land applications. Storage is also valuable during extended periods of bad weather and when crops are actively growing, making application impractical.

Proper management of stored manure depends on proper design and construction of the storage facility, a good knowledge of the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil and subsurface geologic materials within the storage area, and proper land application of manure once it leaves the storage facility.

Long-Term Storage Options (More Than 90 Days)

Livestock manure can be stored for more than 90 days either in solid, semi-solid (slurry) or liquid states.

  • Solid facilities use walls and slabs for piling heavily bedded or frozen manure.
  • Slurry facilities use pumps to move manure into storage areas where some solids may be separated from liquids.
  • Liquid facilities hold manure in tanks, pits, earthen lagoons, evaporation ponds or bermed areas.

Problems With Leakage

Liquid and semi-solid storage systems, in particular, must be carefully installed and maintained to ensure that they do not leak. Lagoons need to be big enough and lined with earthen or other materials to provide a very low liner hydraulic conductivity of no less than 1 x 10-7cm/sec make this a footnote. Freezing, thawing, wetting and drying cycles, and even earthworm or other animal burrows may cause leaking through a liner. The effective life for properly designed lined earthen pits is approximately 10 years.

Look for the following as a sign of leakage. If a pit has been receiving designated liquid manure amounts and you are adding additional milk house liquids, but the pit has not required pumping, it is probably leaking.

Monitoring wells installed around the pit upslope and downslope can confirm the seepage. Talk with your county Extension agent or contact the Division of Water Quality for more information.

Short-Term Storage (30-90 Days)

Short-term storage of manure is not a recommended practice, because it poses a risk of contaminating surface water and ground water. However, short-term storage is sometimes necessary to hold livestock manure during periods of bad weather when daily spreading may not be feasible, when crops are growing and land is not available for applying manure or when there is a shortage of crop acres to handle daily hauling and spreading of manure without the threat of runoff.

Short-term storage does not replace a properly planned long-term storage facility and livestock growers should develop a plan to reduce the need for any short-term storage system for their operation.

To minimize leakage or runoff from these sites:

  • Store manure in pole sheds or other roofed areas to keep rain and snow off.
  • Provide adequate bedding in piles to absorb liquids in the manure.
  • Clean these areas as frequently as possible.

The best ways to handle any drainage from a short-term storage facility is to channel it into a lined watertight holding pond, storage tank or into a constructed filter strip. In situations where these options are not possible, it may be necessary to build a covered (and curbed) storage area to prevent additional water from being added to temporarily piled manure.

Some solid or semi-solid manure storage systems (such as picket dams) are designed to allow minor drainage of liquids. In these cases the structure design must include containment and/or treatment of liquids that drain out.

Manure Storage Location

When locating a manure storage facility, several factors are important, including the depth to the water table, the type of soils and bedrock, and potential for contaminating water resources. Your county Extension agent or local Natural Resource Conservation Service office can help you with this information.

Locate your manure storage in a site that remains above the water table throughout the entire year. Avoid areas with fractured bedrock or areas with extremely permeable soils (such as sandy soils).

To prevent runoff to surface or groundwater, locate your storage on as low a slope as possible, and downslope from surface water or well areas. If there is a possibility of water contamination, consider alternatives for your manure storage facility.

Read the full article by the Utah State University Extension.

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More
Aerial view of the West Fertilizer explosion site
FertilizerFertilizer Companies Blame City For West, TX, Explosion
August 6, 2014
El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013, blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion. Read More
FertilizerThe Fertilizer Institute: New President, Renewed Energy
February 3, 2014
Chris Jahn relishes the opportunity to lead the organization through the challenging times ahead. Read More
FertilizerA New Cycle For Fertilizer Demand
January 2, 2014
Changes in the corn market could have a major impact on the crop nutrients sector in 2014, say experts. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires South Dakota Retailer
April 2, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Co.’s Agribusiness Division, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed Read More
CropLife 100The McGregor Co. Closes Smith-Kem Acquisition
April 2, 2015
The McGregor Co. — ranked No. 16 on the CropLife 100 list of largest U.S. ag retailers — has completed Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Latest News
FertilizerSimplot’s Gal-XeONE Technology Moves West
April 27, 2015
The J.R. Simplot Co. remains committed to creating customer value through technology. In 2013, Simplot purchased the Gal-XeONE controlled release Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Need To Defend Production Agriculture
April 27, 2015
Last week, I spent the better part of my time on the road visiting with ag retailers and market suppliers Read More
FertilizerStarter Fertilizers Show Value In Stressful Spring Cond…
April 27, 2015
From wet, cold conditions in the eastern Corn Belt to excessively dry, cool soils in the Plains states, spring field Read More
StewardshipTFI Announces Renewed Financial Commitment To Fertilize…
April 24, 2015
Today, The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) President Chris Jahn announced that TFI and over 100 partners will more than double existing Read More
Industry NewsMACA Names New Ambassador Coordinator
April 23, 2015
The Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) has named Michelle Kilper as its new Ambassador Coordinator. Michelle is a graduate of Read More
ManagementAg Retailer’s Role In Local Policy Making; Raising The …
April 23, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review their recent travels, precision ag efforts in Washington, DC, and the role of Read More
TMX-2050 In-Cab Display Launch Run Screen
Precision AgIn-Cab Computing 2015: Connectivity, Compatibility Take…
April 23, 2015
In terms of in-cab computing solutions for the agriculture market, companies like Case IH, Topcon, Trimble, John Deere and Raven Read More
USDA
StewardshipUSDA Outlines Building Blocks For Climate Smart Agricul…
April 23, 2015
Today, the USDA has announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support farmers, ranchers, and forest land owners in their Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Welcomes New Territory Sales Manager
April 23, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Kaitlyn Acaster to the Canadian sales team. Acaster will fill the Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Opens New Research Greenhouse
April 23, 2015
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for the agriculture, turf Read More
Crop InputsDuPont Acquires Taxon Biosciences
April 23, 2015
DuPont has agreed to acquire Taxon Biosciences, Inc., a leading microbiome discovery company. This acquisition will build on DuPont’s in-house capabilities Read More
Farmer on tablet
ManagementStudy: Consumers Don’t Care If U.S. Farmers Feed …
April 23, 2015
“We’re feeding the world” is a mantra often used by those involved in farming and food to build support for Read More
Industry NewsCorporate Responsibility Magazine Names Monsanto One Of…
April 22, 2015
Corporate Responsibility Magazine (CR Magazine) named Monsanto Co. to its 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for 2015. This is the Read More
FertilizerSpring Nitrogen Management: Form And Timing
April 22, 2015
Most corn producers have planned their spring nitrogen program for 2015, and many have already started to implement their program. Read More
FMC 3Rive 3D
Industry NewsFMC Corp. Completes Acquisition Of Cheminova
April 22, 2015
FMC Corp. has completed the closing of its acquisition of Cheminova A/S, a multinational crop protection company based in Denmark Read More
SoftwareSyngenta Expands AgriEdge Excelsior Nationwide For 2015
April 22, 2015
Growers across the country can now take the guesswork out of improving their farm’s production, land value, farm stewardship and Read More
Cornfield near Sioux City Iowa
HerbicidesU.S. Regulators May Start Testing Food For Glyphosate R…
April 21, 2015
U.S. regulators may start testing food products for residues of the world’s most widely used herbicide, EPA told Reuters’ Carey Read More
FungicidesBRANDT Adds Zonix Biofungicide To Portfolio
April 21, 2015
BRANDT has added Zonix biofungicide to its rapidly expanding line of organic and sustainable products. Zonix is a contact fungicide that Read More