Catchment Sensitive Farming: Practical Tips

Practical Tip: Manure management plans

In general a manure management plan should include the preparation of a field-by-field risk map (risk of causing water pollution) and an assessment of the need for any extra slurry or dirty water storage. You can draw up your own plan or obtain professional advice from a consultant.

A list of local consultants who can provide professional advice on manure management planning is available from:

National Farm Waste Management Register
Races Farm
Aston Tirrold
OX11 9DJ

Tel: 01398 361 326

If you create your own plan it should be clearly set out and include the following steps:

  • By considering slope, soil type and the position of watercourses and water supplies, you should identify fields or parts of fields where livestock manures should never be spread. These non-spreading areas should be marked on a farm map (in red).
  • Identify where livestock manures should not be spread under certain conditions or where application rates should be restricted. These very high risk areas (orange) and high-risk areas (yellow) should be marked on the farm map. The remaining areas should be marked as lower risk (green). Identify on the map any areas in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones affected by the closed (non-spreading) periods.
  • Calculate the minimum area of land needed for spreading livestock manures by using a maximum field application rate of 250 kg total nitrogen per hectare per year. You can use standard tables or an analysis of your manures for this. But you must check that you comply with legal requirements in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones and with other management agreements where lower spreading rates may apply (e.g. organic and agri-environment schemes).
  • Assess if you have sufficient land available to spread your livestock manures within the relevant restrictions. If you do not, you should consider reducing stocking levels or make arrangements to transfer manure elsewhere, e.g. for use as a fertiliser on another farm. Surplus manure from a certified organic farm can only be sent to another organic production unit. There may be other opportunities, for example sending poultry litter to a power station but this would be subject to waste management licensing.
  • If you wish to spread sewage sludge, green waste compost or other organic wastes you should identify how much land is available after you have spread manures produced on your farm. You should not accept such materials on to your land if it will make it difficult to spread manures safely or to meet any restrictions.
  • Assess whether extra storage is needed for slurry or dirty water. Use the risk map (coloured map), and your experience of spreading over the winter period, to help you decide how much, if any, you can safely apply at this time. If you farm in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, you must comply with the minimum storage requirements, and you must comply with standards of construction.
  • Update the risk map if you take on extra land.
  • Update the manure management plan if livestock numbers increase, the dirty yard area gets bigger, or other changes affect the volume of slurry or dirty water produced.




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