Winter Manure Application

Logan Soil and Water Conservation District would like to remind livestock producers of the risk associated with winter application of manure.  Spreading manure in the winter is not prohibited in Logan County, it is recommended that the practice be avoided if at all possible.  If manure is applied and it enters the "waters of the state" via surface runoff/snow melt, it is considered a violation of the Ohio Pollution Abatement rules and could be subject to a fine from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

According to the Ohio Revised Code 1501.30, "waters of the state" includes all streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems and other bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial, regardless of the depth in which the underground water is located.

The risk of runoff to surface water increases when applying to frozen or snow-covered ground.  The greatest risk of nutrient runoff occurs within 72 hours of a rainfall or snowmelt.  Avoid spreading manure when there is a greater than 50% chance of l/2 inch of rain within 24 hours or if the ground is frozen and snow-covered.  The ground is considered frozen when the manure cannot be incorporated. 

If manure must be applied in the winter, some best management practices should be taken into consideration when manure is applied.

  • Select fields covered with a living crop (cover crop) or at least 90% crop residue.
  • Select fields away from surface water or tile inlets.
  • Do not apply to any land subject to flooding or where water collects.
  • Sloped fields close to surface water or tile drains are not suitable.
  • Avoid spreading manure on more than 20 contiguous acres.
  • Do not apply more than 5000 gallons/acre of liquid manure or 10 wet tons/acre for solid manure that has greater than 50% moisture.

Follow winter application setback recommendations.

  • 300 feet from wells.
  • 200 feet from all grassed waterways, road ditches, surface drains, streams, and field surface furrows.
  • 300 feet from neighboring residences.

Water quality issues  increasingly come under the scrutiny of the public eye.  Spreading dark manure on white snow may draw unwanted attention to your farm.  This may increase the number of complaints lodged against your operation and the industry as a whole.

Logan Soil and Water Conservation District is available to assist livestock producers with manure management concerns.  You may contact the Soil and Water office at 937-404-3143.