By Sonia Howlett, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
While the winter manure spreading ban formally ends on April 1 of each year, please remember that there are additional requirements laid out in the Required Agricultural Practices (RAP) that are intended to prevent runoff.
It should be common knowledge by now that the RAPs prohibit application of manure to saturated, snow-covered, or frozen ground, on top of bedrock, or before major rain events at any time of year. These requirements should make common sense - you are restricted from spreading manure where that manure is unlikely to infiltrate into the ground and would pose a significant potential of surface runoff to waters of the State.
Trends in Vermont’s weather show increasing precipitation through the spring season, rising temperatures, and more extreme precipitation events. These conditions provide the potential for increased flooding and require farmers and custom manure applicators to remain vigilant through the spring season.
Individual field conditions will vary significantly across the State. So, when you start planning to spread manure this spring, take a moment to check the ground conditions and ensure that you are in compliance with the rules and are protecting Vermont’s waterways.
If you still have capacity in your manure pit, wait for the optimal weather and field conditions for spreading.
Remember – after spreading any nutrient (liquid or solid manure, compost, or fertilizer) be sure to keep accurate records of the manure or nutrients applied.
If you have questions relating to manure spreading restrictions, please call the Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-2431 to learn more.