The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — It’s winter in Central Pennsylvania again, and with the cold and snowy conditions, come extra time for local farmers to carry out some of the dirty work that must be done on our local farms. Spreading manure is one of those tasks. While the Union County Conservation District encourages the farming community to land apply manure in the spring and fall, it is inevitable that some may miss those goals and have no other choice but to apply in winter, but these applications do have limits.
Winter is defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as being between the dates of Dec. 15 and Feb. 28, any time the ground is frozen at least four inches deep, or anytime the ground is snow covered. Spreading during these conditions can lead to significant environmental concerns if manure is not prevented from entering the local waterways. The farming community is permitted to make applications provided they follow some guidelines.
There are application limits per acre of 5,000 gallons of any liquid manure, 20 tons for dry, non-poultry manure, and 3 tons of dry poultry litter. Fields to be spread on must have at least 25 percent crop residue at application time, but preference should be given to hay fields, sod, pasture areas, and fields with an established cover crop. Manure may not be spread on fields with a slope greater the 15 percent. Finally there are setback requirements of 100 feet for all water sources, such as streams, lakes, ponds, rivers, wells, and sinkholes.
If you have any questions regarding the winter application of manure, call (570) 524-3860 or stop by the Union County Conservation District Office.