Monitor Earthen Basins And Manure Application

UPDATED: April 12, 2013

Dry, hot weather combined with manure application or irrigation can have unintended consequences.

Cracks in the soil can provide a near direct line for manure to reach a stream. The same weather conditions can cause problems in earthen basins used to store manure, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“We don’t want to add to livestock farmers’ stress levels, but we’ve had similar conditions a few years ago and had several fish kills and water quality problems,” said Cindy Martens, an environmental specialist in the Iowa DNR’s Spencer field office. “Farmers think it’s dry and the liquid manure will just soak in. They may want to irrigate to provide moisture to the crop, but often they don’t realize how fast it can travel straight to a tile line and then into a stream. We just want people to be aware that it can be a problem, so they can do something about it.”

Martens said the problem is most likely to occur when farmers start to irrigate a crop or spread liquid manure on alfalfa or pasture. “I’ve also seen problems in dry years with a gated pipe going from a basin to a crop field,” she said. “And some of our field staff are seeing big cracks in the walls of earthen basins.”

If manure application is necessary, the DNR has the following tips to help reduce the risk of manure going to a stream:

  • Check for cracks in the soils before applying. If soils are cracked, delay application until soil moisture increases, if possible.
  • Find all underground tile inlets and where tile lines outlet into streams or ponds. Cover or block off any inlets.
  • Have emergency spill kit and information on hand before applying.
  • Check the nutrient or manure management plan for required separation distances from streams, lakes and other sensitive areas.
  • Consider a setback for injected manure, even when it’s not required.
  • Apply at the slowest possible rate.
  • Move hoses and irrigation equipment frequently.
  • Check tile outlets before, during and after application.
  • If it rains or the outlet is discharging, check tile outlets and the stream or pond below the outlet for odor, solids and impacts to fish or other aquatic life such as crayfish.
  • Stop applying manure immediately if manure is discharging.
  • Contain and clean up any spilled manure.

Producers are required to call the DNR 24-hour spill line (Iowa: 515-281-8694) to report spills or discharges as soon as possible or within six hours of the discovery or beginning of the spill.

“The sooner farmers call, the better, because the DNR has trained specialists who can help contain the manure,” said Martens. “The quicker they are notified, the more likely they can help producers minimize damage to fish and water quality downstream.

DNR specialists also advise checking the berms of earthen basins frequently. If there are large cracks or signs of leakage, the producer may need to wet down the berm or fill the cracks.

Producers can also request technical assistance from their local DNR field office.

Leave a Reply

Fertilizer Stories

Young corn plants in soil
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Environmental Science Supplement For High School Teachers
April 13, 2016
The Nutrients for Life Foundation released the latest resource for high school teachers entitled Feeding the World & Protecting the Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerLa Niña Or El Niño: Both Affect Growers’ Nitrogen Investments
April 12, 2016
Submitted by Verdesian Life Sciences As growers prepare for planting, they will be anxiously checking the weather forecast. Midwest growers Read More
Soybean Field
FertilizerCompass Minerals Launches Protassium+ Organic Sulfate Of Potash
April 5, 2016
Organic crop growers now have a pure, consistent and reliable potassium fertilizer option with the release of Protassium+ Organic sulfate Read More
An employee moves dry fertilizer into a blending hopper.
FertilizerReport: Fertilizer Industry Supports More Than A Half Million U.S. Jobs
April 4, 2016
Fertilizers are well known for their contribution to the world’s food supply, but until now, the economic value and jobs Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
ScoutPro iPad
Precision AgWhat’s Trending In Soil Testing And Scouting
April 6, 2016
Keeping up on soil testing and scouting, especially following unusual weather conditions, can play a role in maximizing yields. Soil Read More
Latest News
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More
ManagementCentennial’s Jim Fargo Talks Ag Retail
April 21, 2016
Special guest Jim Fargo discusses challenges facing this CropLife 100 retailer. Read More