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Manure Management Plan

by Achim Dobermann

A manure management plan (MMP) is a document that outlines the strategies and practices that a farm or agricultural operation will use to handle and manage the manure produced by the animals on the farm. The goal of a manure management plan is to minimize the negative impacts of manure on the environment and human health, while also maximizing the economic and agronomic benefits of the manure as a fertilizer and soil amendment.

There are a few key components that should be included in a manure management plan. These include:

  1. A description of the animals on the farm and their manure production rates. This information is necessary to estimate the total amount of manure that will be produced on the farm, and to plan for the storage and handling of the manure.
  2. A description of the manure storage and handling systems that will be used on the farm. This includes information about the types and sizes of storage facilities, as well as the procedures for handling and transporting the manure.
  3. A description of the nutrient management practices that will be used on the farm. This includes information about how the manure will be applied to the land and in what amounts, as well as the timing and methods of application.
  4. An assessment of the potential risks and impacts of the manure management practices on the environment and human health. This includes information about how the manure management practices will affect water quality, air quality, and human health, as well as how these risks will be managed and minimized.
  5. A description of the monitoring and record-keeping procedures that will be used to track the performance of the manure management plan. This includes information about the data that will be collected, the methods for collecting the data, and the frequency of data collection.
  6. A site-specific plan for the land application of the manure. This includes information about the land areas where manure will be applied, the timing of application, the equipment to be used, the application rates and the incorporation methods. This is important to ensure that the manure is being applied to the right areas, and in the right amounts, to provide the greatest agronomic benefits while minimizing the risks of environmental degradation.
  7. Finally, a contingency plan for unexpected events such as spills, leaks, or equipment failures that may occur during the handling or application of the manure. This plan should outline the procedures that will be followed to minimize the negative impacts of such events and to quickly restore normal operations.
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An example of a manure management plan for a dairy farm might include the following:

  1. Regular cleaning and maintenance of barns and pens to minimize the buildup of manure.
  2. Use of scrapers or other equipment to remove manure from barn alleys and pens on a daily basis.
  3. Collection of liquid manure in holding tanks or pits, with plans for proper disposal or use as fertilizer.
  4. Regular monitoring and testing of manure to ensure that it is not contaminated with harmful substances.
  5. Use of appropriate techniques, such as land application or composting, to reduce odors and minimize the potential for environmental impacts.
  6. Development of a nutrient management plan to ensure that manure is used as fertilizer in an appropriate and sustainable manner.
  7. Procedures for responding to manure spills or other emergencies, including appropriate notification of authorities and cleanup methods.

In summary, A Manure Management Plan is an important document that outlines the strategies and practices that a farm will use to handle and manage the manure produced by the animals on the farm. It is important to include a site-specific plan for land application as well as a contingency plan for unexpected events that may occur during the handling or application of the manure. The goal is to minimize the negative impacts of manure on the environment and human health, while also maximizing the economic and agronomic benefits of the manure as a fertilizer and soil amendment.

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