FOLEY, Minn. — I have discovered a lot of confusion about manure stockpiling among farmers and non-farmers. Feedlot Officers receive several complaints about manure stockpiles with proper management practiced on many of them. However, some manure stockpiles are not managed properly causing potential environmental issues. Many of these situations result from misunderstanding of MPCA manure stockpile restrictions by both non-farmers and farmers.
Summer months is a popular time for stockpile use since most fields have crops growing on them. The other time of frequent manure stockpiling time is in the winter. There are two basic types of manure stockpiles, permanent and short-term.
Permanent manure stockpiles are generally on an approved constructed pad, usually made with cement. These pads are frequently near the livestock facility but can be located away from the livestock facilities. When properly, permitted, constructed, and maintained, there are few controversies with permanent manure stockpiles.
Short-term manure stockpiles are legal to operate, with some restrictions. Most livestock farms, except those located on very coarse soils or very hilly terrains, should find locations suitable for a short-term manure stockpiles. These restrictions are to minimize the chance of manure nutrients entering into our surface or ground water. Following is a list of the various restrictions on short-term manure stockpiles.
* Prohibited sites: rock quarries, gravel pits, sand pits, any other mining excavation sites
* Soil type cannot be coarser than Sandy Loam
* Water table is a minimum of 2’ from base of stockpile to seasonal high water table
* Slope of the land can never greater that 6%,
* Land slope between 2-6% allowed only when clean-water diversions and erosion control practices are installed
* 1000’ minimum distance from lakes, ponds, and school and public water supplies
* 300’ minimum distance from streams, rivers, open tile inlets, drainage ditches, most road ditches, wetlands, sinkholes, and rock outcroppings
* 100’ minimum distance from private wells and drainage tile less than 3 feet from soil surface
* A site can only be a short-term manure stockpile location for one year. The site must have a vegetative cover for at least one growing season before reuse for short-term manure storage
* Volume of manure stockpile must not be larger the manure needs of the associated field(s)
* Short-term manure stockpile may not serve more than 320 acres.
Some basic recordkeeping is required for short-term manure stockpiles.
* Location of each stockpile
* Date the manure stockpile was piled
* Volume or tons of manure placed in the stockpile
* Nitrogen and phosphorus content of the manure
* Date when the stockpile was land applied
Obviously, the consistency of the manure must be that it will stack in a pile, not spread out like a pancake. A technical way of describing this is manure that has at least 15% solids that stacks to a 3:1 ratio sidewall. Therefore, manure stockpiles are for manures such as pen-pack, stall barn, and poultry liter and not an option for manure in a typical liquid manure pit. Short-term manure stockpiles are permissible and a viable option for any size livestock farm provided the operator follows these restrictions. This article highlights the minimum Minnesota restrictions. A local government entity could have stricter restrictions but not less strict.
— Randy Pepin, University of Minnesota Extension
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