February 15, 2011
New video demonstrates what to do if a manure spill occurs
MADISON -- As Wisconsin enters the riskiest period for spreading manure on farm fields, farmers who don't have enough storage space to avoid spreading manure should not spread on high risk areas and have a manure spill response plan in place in case an accident happens, state agriculture and environmental officials say.
"The best practice is to avoid spreading when rain or melting snow is forecast." says Jim Vanden Brook, water quality section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Protection. "Farmers who do need to spread can minimize runoff risks by avoiding sites that are prone to runoff."
Farmers can locate high risk sites on their property through online maps available through DATCP's Manure Management Advisory System [www.manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov] (exit DNR). The maps identify where the risk of runoff from manure is highest because of the site's slope, soil type, and proximity to lakes, rivers, sinkholes and other sensitive features. The site also includes a National Weather Service map of predicted risk of runoff due to rain or snowmelt events.
"Farmers who do need to spread, should do so very carefully and make sure they have a plan in place for who you're going to call and the steps you're going to take if runoff occurs or a spill happens," says Roxanne Chronert, spills team leader for the Department of Natural Resources.
A new video demonstrates techniques for containing manure spills or runoff to avoid losing that valuable nutrient and to keep it out of lakes, rivers and drinking water.
"A few simple steps and supplies can help avoid or minimize problems for the farmer and the environment if a spill or runoff occurs," she says. "And by reporting the spill immediately, we can help bring together resources to help contain the manure and prevent resource damage."
Under state law, spills must be reported immediately to the state spill hotline, 1-800-943-0003. The number is toll free and is available 24 hours a day.
Farmers can find example plans on DNR's Respond to Manure Spills web page that they can download, print off, fill out and post.
Manure-related problems can occur at any time of the year, but UW-Discovery Farms research suggests that February and March are the riskiest months for spreading. And current field conditions, snow depths and frost depths make winter 2011 particularly ripe for problems, said Discovery Farms Co-Director Dennis Frame in a Feb. 8 release] (exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxanne Chronert, DNR (920) 662-5488; Jim Vanden Brook, DATCP (608) 224-4501; Steve Sisbach, DNR Environmental Enforcement, (608) 266-7317