The DNR’s Ken Hessenius says the rainfall has also helped fill up manure storage areas and finding a way to draw them down hasn’t been easy. “We’ve been getting a few phone calls already stating facilities are getting full, the crops aren’t out, and the ground is saturated, and they are either anticipating problems or maybe already having some problems — so yeah, we’re hearing all kinds of things out there,” Hessenius says.
He says there’s one easy solution: “One of my favorites is get down and pray for nice warm, dry weather,” Hessenius says, “and actually we’re getting some of that — so that’s gonna help.” He says there are some other things that can be done to keep full lagoons from overflowing.
“You can look at some manure transfer. Maybe transfer between pits on facilities if you have some storage. Maybe look for some alternative fields if the one you are planning to put manure on hasn’t had the crops removed. Those are just a few off the top of my head,” Hessenius says.
He advises producers to take a look at their options and do something before it becomes a crisis. “The last thing we want to do is see these pits running over and causing problems with a nearby stream or something like that,” he explains. That can end up doing environmental damage and be costly for producers. Hessenius says there will be issues even if the weather allows crops to be cleared out of fields that are targeted for manure.
“We’re going to have some compaction out there and compacted soil and wet soil is just a bad combination for being able to uptake manure — which is 99 percent water,” Hessenius says. “Even normal manure application rates may be a problem — especially if you have some of those higher rates from dairy or sow. There may be a necessity to put on a little less, so we don’t get runoff.”
Hessenius says the DNR can help you figure out a solution for your individual operation. “The problem with sending out a blanket statement is it just doesn’t work for everyone. Every facility is unique, every facility may have different options. Probably the best thing to do is just give your local field office a quick call,” Hessenius says. Hessenius says the dry days will hopefully stretch out awhile and help ease some of the problems.