Confinement Site Manure Applicator Exams

Kris Kohl, agriculutral engineering specialist

Situation

Producers with livestock operations who have more than 500 animal units must be certified to land apply the manure from their confinement buildings. They can attend a 2-hour training session each year or take an exam every third year to be certified. Each year the training provides insights to problems that cause environmental harm.

Response

This year ISU Extension developed a program to for producers to quickly respond to manure spills that might occur during transportation and land application of manure. The program was developed form a field day and environmental committee that reviewed past state spills and determined what could have be done to reduce their impact if producers were prepared. At the field-day producers used common farm materials to catch a simulated manure spill using potable water. The field day event was filmed and developed into the 2004-manure certification program for the state with 929 participants. Segments of the field day were shown to show how a few well chosen items that could be carried under the seat of a tractor could greatly reduce the environmental impact of a spill.
The main problem described by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have been tile lines and surface intakes that quickly convey the manure from the spill to a water body. The spill kit has several methods for preventing manure for impacting tile lines.

Impact

Two hundred thirty-six of the producers (57%) reported that they would develop a spill kit in northwest Iowa because of the training they received this year with an additional 117 reporting that they had already developed a spill kit prior to our training. Eighty-eight percent of this year's producers have or will develop a kit to handle a potential spill. Seven percent reported that the use of a spill kit was not needed on their operations because their manure is handled in a completely dry form like poultry litter. Only four percent (18 participants out of 413) reported that they were not going to develop a spill kit.
In 2001, there were 25 confinement spills that resulted in penalties from the DNR. The trend of consolidation and larger equipment has continued, but the number of spills has been reduced to only five in 2002 and 2003, reversing the trend line. The impact of this program will be seen over the next few years when accidents were prevented or producers were able to act quickly to prevent environmental damage from a manure spill.

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu