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Manure management plans for livestock producers

Mindy J. Spiehs

Published in Dairy Star January 29, 2005

manure management equipment

Are you confused about the manure management plans in Minnesota? There has been a lot of discussion about these plans and many people are wondering who needs to complete one and what needs to be included. The purpose of this article is to educate producers about the requirements for completing a manure management plan that will meet Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) regulations.

Manure management plans describe how the manure generated at a feedlot facility is going to be used during the upcoming cropping year(s) in a way that meets all regulations, protects waters of the state, and maximizes the benefits of applying manure to cropland. It is recommended that all livestock operations complete a manure management plan. However, manure management plans are only required by MPCA in the following situations (MPCA Fact sheet Wq-f8.07):

In other words, by January 1, 2006 all livestock operations with 300 or more animal units must complete a manure management plan or have manure spread by a certified commercial applicator to be in compliance with MPCA.

cow yard

If manure is applied by a commercial applicator, the feedlot owner is not required to complete a manure management plan. However, if a feedlot contains 100 or more animal units, the feedlot owner is required to maintain manure application records, regardless of whether a commercial applicator applies the manure. Commercial applicators must keep a copy of manure application records and provide the owner of the feedlot or manure storage area with these records no later than 60 days following land application. When ownership of manure is transferred for application to fields that are not owned or leased by the owner of the animal feedlot, a manure management plan is partially completed by the feedlot owner and partially completed by the manager of the field(s) where the manure is applied (MPCA Fact sheet Wq-f8.11).

Producers do not need to submit their plans to MPCA for review unless specifically requested by the MPCA or a County Feedlot Officer, or when applying for a permit. However, feedlot owners may be asked to show an updated manure management plan and associated records when the feedlot is inspected. The manure management plan must be kept up-to-date. The producer should review the plan each year to assess changes in crop rotation, manure nutrient levels, changes in manure application methods, and other factors that contribute to the nutrient availability of the manure and the crop nutrient needs.

In general, the following information must be included in a manure management plan (MPCA Fact sheet Wq-f8.07):

Producers are not required to use any specific format when writing a manure management plan. They may use forms or software developed by MPCA, National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), University of Minnesota Extension, or other private organizations. However, the following resources are available for use in developing a manure management plan:

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