DNR Advises Farmers on Fall Manure Spreading

The rainy planting and growing seasons have stretched into the harvest season, making farmers eager to get crops off the fields and spread manure. Impatience can lead to spreading in high-risk conditions, state conservation officials advise.

Storage facilities may be getting full, because many farmers haven’t spread manure since spring, and all the rain this summer and fall raised the level of open manure pits. Spreading manure when rain is on the way and soil is already saturated could carry it to streams, threatening water quality and depriving crops of nutrients.

One way farmers can judge when to spread manure is to check the Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, available online at The runoff forecast provides maps showing short-term runoff risk for daily application planning, taking into account factors including soil moisture, weather forecast, crop cover, snow cover and slope. It is updated three times daily by the National Weather Service.

Farmers should contact their crop consultants, county land conservation offices or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help identifying alternatives to high-risk spreading.

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