News Releases

March 30, 2018

Reminder to Farmers Regarding Spring Manure Spreading Restrictions

April 1st marks the end of Vermont's winter manure spreading ban for non-frequently flooded fields in Vermont, but with another cold and wet spring bringing adverse field conditions to most of Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is issuing a spring stewardship reminder to ensure that farmers are aware that water quality rules will restrict manure spreading activities until the weather and individual field conditions improve. The Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs), newly revised in December of 2016, prohibits the application of manure on frozen or snow-covered ground, or to any fields where field conditions are conducive to runoff into Vermont's waters.

Showers and snowfall are forecasted in some parts of the state through the coming weekend and farmers are urged to take caution when spreading through the spring months. Timing of crop nutrient application is important not only to avoid runoff from farm fields, but also to achieve efficient nutrient uptake and maximize crop yield.

The RAPs outline that manure cannot be applied to fields that are frozen or snow-covered, nor to fields that are saturated, likely to runoff, or are conducive to any other off-site movement regardless of nutrient management plan recommendations. In addition, the manure spreading ban continues through April 14 on all fields that are determined to be frequently flooded. If you are unsure whether your fields are frequently flooded, please go to agriculture.vermont.gov/floodplain or call the Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-2431 for assistance with identifying fields.

"More than 70 custom applicators are now certified in Vermont after demonstrating knowledge of water quality regulations and management practices to avoid environmental risks when spreading manure. In addition, farmers have begun acquiring water quality educational credits. The agricultural community is engaged in water quality improvement, and farmers are making management changes to preserve and improve water quality across Vermont," said Laura DiPietro, Director of the Water Quality Division at VAAFM.

Farmers concerned about storage capacity in their manure pits are encouraged to call the Agency to discuss options available for managing, transferring, or developing emergency manure spreading exemption plans. The Agency is committed to working with farmers to find solutions. VAAFM has the following additional reminders for farmers this Spring:

* If you still have capacity in your manure pit, wait for the optimal weather and field conditions for spreading.

* If you do not have capacity in your pit, reach out to VAAFM to seek alternative solutions or an exemption.

* Do not spread manure on saturated ground that will runoff to surface water, or before major rain events.

* After spreading any nutrient (liquid or solid manure, compost, or fertilizer) be sure to keep accurate records of the manure or nutrients applied.

When evaluating fields over the coming weeks to assess appropriate manure spreading conditions, the most important question that farmers and manure applicators need to ask is: 'When applied to this field, will manure runoff to surface water or a ditch?' Individual field conditions will vary significantly across the State, and farmers need to assess their fields carefully and take action to ensure that they are in compliance with the rules and are protecting our waterways.

Vermont's winter manure spreading ban, which prohibits spreading between December 15 and April 1, began in 1995.

For more information about the RAPs, the winter manure spreading ban, or for recommendations regarding early season spreading practices, please visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/RAP

To request an exemption to the prohibition from spreading on frozen or snow-covered ground, please call VAAFM Water Quality Staff, either: Laura DiPietro, 802-595-1990 or Dave Huber, 802-461-7160.

Media Contact: Ryan Patch, Sr. Ag Development Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, 802-272-0323, Ryan.Patch@Vermont.gov

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: March 30, 2018 15:23:38