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Smell that? Wet weather creates challenges for manure application on Iowa farm fields, Mason City DNR officer says


This news story was published on October 18, 2019.
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Mmmmm, lucious: A typical sight in Iowa in fall.

MASON CITY – Driving through rural Iowa this time of year to get to any semblance of civilization can be like being slapped in the face with a wet, pungent diaper; wet weather and heavy rains has made manure storage structure “nearly full” causing application problems.

The Iowa DNR interviewed Trent Lambert, supervisor of DNR’s Mason City field office about what ag producers can do about their overflowing poop basins.

“Unless the weather comes through, many producers simply aren’t going to be in a position to wait for perfect conditions this fall,” officer Lambert says.

Locally saturated soils may leave few crop fields available. But DNR has specific options for confinement site producers and commercial applicators to consider—as they work to protect water quality and keep storage from overflowing.

“Producers faced a similar situation last year when some were forced to land apply manure on frozen and/or snow-covered ground,” Lambert said. “I think we would all agree this is the least desirable option, based upon the potential for negative water quality impacts and nitrogen loss.”

“My first recommendation is to deal with storage issues sooner rather than later,” he added. “Ideally producers would wait until soil temperatures drop to 50 degrees to minimize nitrogen loss. But if manure storage is tight, producers may want to weigh the risks and advantages of applying at the first available opportunity instead of waiting.”

Some options to consider include transferring manure to another storage location or land applying on non-traditional crop acres, like hay ground. Other options might include partially emptying basins, hand-picking application fields, reducing rates until fields dry out or adjusting manure management plans for surface application.

Note: Several choices require changes in the manure management plan, or have requirements such as meeting separation distances. For more detailed recommendations developed last year, see Some Tips for Confinement Manure Application.

Producers with totally roofed facilities (confinements) must retain all manure between periods of application. So first, and most important, call the DNR field office to discuss site-specific alternatives.

Judging from the eye-water aroma in rural Iowa, there is no chance that producers are simply applying as much manure as their machinery will spew out on a daily basis.

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10 Responses to Smell that? Wet weather creates challenges for manure application on Iowa farm fields, Mason City DNR officer says

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    That smell is the beginning of another whine from the farmers, “I can’t help it, and I need more govt. money to bale me out. Poor pitiful me, another welfare Iowa farmer”.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    If those farmers can’t control their manure storage any better than that, fine their worthless hides. They always want something: help if there is no water, help is there’s too much water. Help is their crops don’t produce enough, help is there is too much on the market and they can’t make enough money to buy their new big tractor and new house they just built. Puppies quit whining when they grow up, too bad farmers can’t be the same. Of course, that’s as if farmers ever do grow up.

    • Avatar

      Hate Iowa HS Sports Reply Report comment

      October 18, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      You are most likely a city person so you have no idea about farmers. Iowa is a farming state you need to grow up.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 18, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        I know my tax money is wasted on subsidizing those losers who always have their hand out for as much money that the state and federal govt. is ready to “bail them out” with. Farmers used to stand on their own two feet. Now they are no better then the blacks on welfare in New York or Chicago.

  3. Avatar

    Allen Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    I thought that smell was coming from Washington!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 18, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      The White House.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 18, 2019 at 6:08 pm

        No, Pelosi/Schumer

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 18, 2019 at 6:10 pm

          Nope, its the White House.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            October 18, 2019 at 10:09 pm

            It was before President Trump got in there

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            October 18, 2019 at 10:25 pm

            It smells like the primate house at the Memphis zoo.