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8 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning for Fall Manure Applications

With a potentially tight window for getting on fall manure in the coming months, the best policy is to be prepared. Now’s the right time to start thinking about fall applications. Here are eight key things to keep in mind as you plan. 
  1. Start prepping equipment to make sure everything’s looking good for fall application.
  2. Plan ahead for which crops will receive manure applications. Remember MPCA regulations for maximum application rates. 
  3. Wait until soil temperatures are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. At these cooler temperatures nitrogen is more likely to stay in the organic or ammonium forms. In warmer soil temperatures, nitrogen converts to nitrate, a form that can be lost more quickly.
  4. If you want to apply 1-2 weeks earlier, studies have shown some indications that applying with a nitrification inhibitor may potentially help, but don’t expect that to last if you apply in September.
  5. If you’re going to apply in late summer or early fall following sweet corn and canning crops, get a cover crop on the field to preserve some of the nitrogen.
  6. Keep weather conditions in mind. If you’re surface applying, don’t put it on one or two days before a large rain event. 
  7. Incorporate whenever possible, especially within 24 hours. 
  8. Safety is key when handling manure since gases can build up and cause human health or combustion issues. Have an emergency action plan in place and avoid working alone near manure storages, especially if the manure has recently been moved or is being actively agitated. 
Have questions about fall manure application? Leave them in the comments.

By: Melissa Wilson, Extension Soil Scientist

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Support for this project was provided in part by the Agricultural Fertilizer Research & Education Council (AFREC).

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