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Managing Manure Storage Structures During Wet Weather

By Robert Burns, Department of Ag and Biosystem Engineering 

During excessively high rainfall periods Iowa producers with open manure storages should closely monitor manure levels to prevent these structures from over-topping.


If manure levels in storage ponds or tanks approach full capacity producers should make plans to remove manure from these structures. The over-topping of bermed earthen storage ponds and lagoons could result in breaching of earthen berms and loss of the structures. Producers should transfer manure from full storage structures to alternative storage if available during saturated soil conditions since land application of manure to saturated soils could result in run-off into surface waters.


If no alternative storage is available producers should contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to discuss emergency wet-weather land application before allowing a storage tank or pond to overflow. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) suggests that producers should contact their local field office if manure levels reach one foot below the top of a concrete or steel structure, or within two feet of the top of an earthen bermed structure.


Contact Information for IDNR Field Offices is shown below.


Field Office # 1 - Manchester (563) 927-2640

Field Office # 2 - Mason City (641) 424-4073

Field Office # 3 - Spencer (712) 262-4177

Field Office # 4 - Atlantic (712) 243-1934

Field Office # 5 - Des Moines (515) 725-0268

Field Office # 6 - Washington (319) 653-2135


Robert Burns is an associate professor with extension and research responsibilities for animal manure management.


This article was published originally on 6/12/2008 The information contained within the article may or may not be up to date depending on when you are accessing the information.

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