The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says wet weather is causing some major manure storage problems in the eastern part of the state. Mike Wade of the D-N-R’s Manchester field office says there’s a widespread problem in northeast Iowa as many earthen basins used to store the manure have been filled to near overflowing with summer rain. He says normally there’s not this much rain and farmers can hold out to start applying the liquid manure to fields when the crops are out. He says they’re starting to see several structures that’re higher than they need to be to keep the structure’s integrity intact. Municipal sewage plants have had to release partially treated sewage into rivers to get rid of the extra water — but Wade says the only way to get rid of the manure is to pump it out and spread it on a field. He says right now because of the difficulty of finding a place to put the manure, they’re advising farmers who’re at the most risk to sacrifice a quarter to half acre of farmland to apply some of the manure. Wade says that’s likely a cheaper option than to have a basin wall collapse and face major fines for environmental damage to streams and rivers from the wayward manure. He says it’s better insurance to get some of the manure out of the basin and free up some more storage now in case there’s more rain. He says it’ll still be a month or so before the crops are out and farmers can apply the manure to the fields. Wade says the cooler weather brought on by the rains has also led to less evaporation of the water in the manure basins. Wade says it’s important that producers try to take some action now to prevent a spill. He says you need to see if you have enough storage and enough land to put it on. He says you should also prepare a plan for emergency spreading if you need to. Wade says you can call your area D-N-R or county extension office for some help in setting up a plan to deal with the excess manure.
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