The Washington state Department of Agriculture is reminding livestock producers, dairy operators and anyone with a few large animal to plan now for proper manure storage and usage during the fall and winter months. Chery Sullivan with the WSDA says it’s important to understand the soil composition near any lagoons or fields where you plan to apply manure. She said it’s also important to be familiar with nearby flood plains.
Sullivan added buffers are critical, but you can’t apply one buffer concept to all fields.
“In general, we recommend that in wintertime, if manure is being applied, or well in the fall, if manure is being applied to bare ground that a 100’ buffer or setback is used. It’s rule of thumb, it is not in law yet.”
Sullivan noted that exceptions would include those that operate under a CAFO permit, which specifically lay out buffers, location and other specific details. Sullivan said the biggest message from the WSDA; manage livestock and crops by managing manure nutrients appropriately.
“Make sure you have room for storage in the winter. Find out where the best possible areas are for application if you still need empty your manure storage whether it’s a lagoon or a solid manure storage. Work with your conservation district to find out if there might be other fields if your fields are not appropriate.”
Sullivan added conservation districts or technical service providers can also have additional information on where extra manure storage may be available. She noted the end goal for everyone is to keep water clean and everyone safe.
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