Indiana livestock producers with 300 or more dairy or beef cattle or 600 or more swine in confinement will face tightened manure regulations this summer.
Effective July 1, herds larger than these trigger levels will be required to have 180 days of manure storage, up from the current 120-day limit. In addition, no manure can be spread from these operations on snow-covered or frozen ground, according to Tamilee Nennich, a Purdue University Extension specialist.
Indiana will also reduce the phosphorus limit from 400 parts per million (ppm) to 200 ppm. The new limit will be phased in over a seven-year period. The key point in this new standard is that if soils contain more than these limits, livestock producers will not be able to spread manure on these fields, Nennich says. This will likely require producers to haul manure farther when fields exceed these levels.
Smaller livestock operations could also come under these regulations if they have a pollution discharge to waters of the state, says Todd Janzen, an attorney based in Indianapolis, Ind. "Every small livestock operation is only a phone call away from becoming a regulated farm," he says.
Discharges could come from things such as cattle in streams, a feedlot, manure overflow from a pen into a ditch, silage leachate escapes from bunker silos, or contaminated runoff from field tile.
If smaller livestock operations are applying manure during winter, proposed new rules may require them to apply manure at 50% of normal agronomic rates, on fields with less than 2% slope and on fields with more than 40% crop residues. The key to all of this is to maintain complete and accurate field records of manure applications, Janzen says. Without those records, regulators are unlikely to give smaller livestock producers much leeway should a problem occur.