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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wet weather challenging manure storage capacity

Heavy rains over the last two months, and predictions for significant precipitation again this weekend, have two State agencies working with livestock groups, farming organizations and counties to find options for farmers dealing with manure storage issues. Officials with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) say several farmers have called to report full or nearly full, and in rare cases, overflowing manure storage basins where their capacity is being tested by heavy rains. The reported overflows were addressed quickly with minimal environmental impacts. 

Now the MPCA and MDA are asking all farmers to make similar calls about how their manure storage is holding up during the wet conditions.

"We appreciate farmers contacting the MPCA, State Duty Officer and County Feedlot Officers about this problem," says MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine. "This is how we want regulated businesses to respond — by working with us as partners to address real-life ongoing issues. This kind of proactive step on their part opens the door to us working together to help producers solve manure storage capacity problems. We certainly understand farmers, along with many other Minnesotans, are facing unusual challenges from the heavy rains we've had this year."

According to the MPCA and MDA, the immediate challenge is the capacity of manure storage basins and they ask farmers to communicate proactively with the State Duty Officer to report if their basin is full or near full.  County Feedlot Officers also want to hear from producers who may have storage room to spare, as it may be needed in emergency situations. The CFO's will provide advice on best management practices for farmers to minimize impacts. 

Farmers are asked to the State Duty Officer — 1-800-422-0798

Tips on bad weather manure management are available in the Managing manure, land application during adverse weather conditions fact sheet.

In addition to immediate manure storage issues, both agencies are in communication with agriculture trade groups to lay out contingency plans for fall application of the manure to fields, which will also likely be impacted by the wet weather trend. MPCA and MDA encourage farmers to stay connected as more details become available on fall contingency options for manure application.

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