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Winter Manure Spreading Ban Ends on April 1 – But Should You Begin Spreading Manure?


Jim Leland
Director, Ag Resource Management Division
Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets 802-828-2431


Winter Manure Spreading Ban Ends on April 1 – But Should You Begin Spreading Manure?

While April 1st signals the end of the Winter Manure Spreading Ban imposed by the Accepted Agricultural Practice Regulations (AAPs), the continued presence of snow pack on farm fields will present a challenge to farmers who wish to start spreading manure as soon as the ban is over.  The AAPs require that all agricultural wastes be managed in order to prevent adverse impacts to water quality.  That means that while it is legal to spread manure once the Winter Ban is over, manure must still be applied in a way that does not result in runoff of manure to surface water or across property boundaries.  Once the snow begins to melt, manure can be carried away to the low points in the landscape.

To help you remain in compliance with the AAPs, the Agency of Agriculture strongly recommends the following:

▪  If you still have room in your manure pit, wait until snow is off the fields before you spread manure.

▪  If you must spread manure before snow is off the fields:

-          choose fields that are relatively flat and far away from rivers and streams

-          if you must spread on fields near rivers and streams, do not apply manure within 150 feet of  the top of the bank

-          if you are spreading in fields with ditches, do not apply manure within 150 feet of the ditch

-          do not apply manure within 100 feet of property lines and roads.

-          Utilize reduced rates of application

In addition, those farms operating under an NRCS 590 compliant nutrient management plan are advised that application of manure to frozen ground or snow covered ground or in conditions where offsite losses of nutrients are likely is prohibited unless the above criteria are considered when selecting sites for application. 

If you observe these added safety precautions while land applying manure in the presence of snow, you will help to minimize any runoff of manure that could occur during snow melt.  The Agency urges all those considering applying manure at this time of year to operate with the utmost of care so that water quality is best protected.

For questions about the AAPs and how to manage your manure application operations to prevent impacts to water quality, please call the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets at 802-828-2431.