Indiana Tightens Up

March 28, 2012 12:20 AM

Manure regulations for medium-size farms effective July 1

Indiana livestock producers with 300 or more dairy cattle or 600 or more swine will face tightened manure regulations on July 1.

Effective on that date, herds larger than these trigger levels will be required to have 180 days of

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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 Extension specialist.

In addition, Indiana will 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 main feature of the new standard is that if soils contain more than this limit, livestock producers will not be able to spread manure on those fields, Nennich says. This will likely require producers to haul manure farther when fields exceed the level.

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 such things as cattle in streams, feedlots, manure overflow from a pen into a ditch, silage leachate escapes from bunker silos and contaminated runoff from field tile.

Smaller livestock operations that apply manure during winter should apply at 50% of the normal agronomic rate, on fields with less than 2% slope and more than 40% crop residue.

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.

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