Winter nutrient application is a risky business and can result in runoff and manure nutrient loss. The Iowa Manure Management Action Group (IMMAG) says even if a livestock operation is not subject to regulations pertaining to winter application, producers should consider implementing all best management practices if manure must be applied in the winter.

Acknowledging that the best practice of all is to avoid manure applications during the winter, IMMAG says if manure must be applied, the best application management practices to follow include the following:

1.                 Apply manure on the flattest slopes possible.

2.                 Apply manure as far from water sources as possible.

3.                 Be sure to follow all separation distance requirements for land application. In Iowa specific Department of Natural Resources (DNR) land application separation distances apply to all livestock operations, regardless of size.

4.                 Avoid application on areas that drain to surface tile inlets.

5.                 Do not apply manure in a grassed waterway.

6.                 Wait to apply manure until after the snow melts.

7.                 Avoid application prior to predicted rainfall, snowfall or warming conditions that could cause snow to melt or run off.

Find more tips at the IMMAG Web site at