WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The arrival of cold weather, snow and
ice means Indiana’s livestock producers need to remember that applying manure to
farm fields during the winter is regulated by the state.
Frozen ground during the winter months can make manure
application a more risky endeavor, said Tamilee Nennich, Purdue Extension
nutrient management specialist.
“There’s potentially an increased risk for nutrient runoff
in winter,” she said. “Ideally, manure nutrients should be incorporated into the
soil to ensure they make contact with the soil, which may not happen if manure
is applied on frozen or snow-covered ground.”
Because of the runoff risk, the state of Indiana regulates
when producers with permits for concentrated animal feeding operations and
confined feeding operations can apply nutrients. Manure from CAFOs or CFOs
cannot be applied to frozen or snow-covered ground.
The only exception is for emergency situations, such as
extreme weather events. Producers facing an emergency must contact the Indiana
Department of Environmental Management to seek a temporary exemption before
“I want to remind producers that exceptions are only for
emergency situations - not for standard operating purposes,” Nennich
Another important rule for livestock producers to be aware
of is the Indiana Fertilizer Material Use rule, which went into effect in
“This rule is very important because it applies to any
producers applying manure during winter — not just large operations,” Nennich
According to the rule, anyone applying manure when the
ground is frozen or snow-covered needs to ensure they are applying it:
* At half or less of the agronomic rate of the planned crop;
* To ground with less than 2 percent slope;
* To ground that has at least 40 percent of a cover crop or crop residue;
* At least 200 feet away from any surface water.
More information about the rule can be found at
Nennich encouraged producers who need to apply manure in the
winter to apply it using best management practices and when there’s good
Producers also need to keep records of manure application,
including when it’s applied, the field and acreage where it’s applied, the
source of the manure and how much manure is applied so they can calculate the
nitrogen and phosphorus application rates applied to the field.
For permitted operations, records are required. And while
they aren’t mandatory for smaller farms, Nennich said they still are
“Keeping detailed records is really important for operations
of any size,” she said. “Nutrient management records are the only way producers
can prove that they have made every possible effort to protect the
Each year, Purdue Extension publishes the free Nutrient
Management Record Keeping Calendar. The 2014 edition will be available in
January at various Purdue Extension events or by contacting Nennich at
Questions regarding nutrient management and manure
application rules can be directed to the Office of Indiana State Chemist based
at Purdue University at (765) 494-1492.