Spring cleaning? Don’t forget the manure piles!

To be in compliance with Right to Farm laws, manure stacked all winter needs to be hauled to the fields in the spring.

Some of the more common complaints from neighbors to the Right-to-Farm office at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (formerly MDA, now MDARD) center on stacked manure piles. Frequently, these complaints are in regard to small farms. All sizes of farms fall under these Right-to-Farm guidelines.

To be assured Right-to-Farm nuisance protection, manure that has been stacked outside all winter needs to be hauled to fields in the spring and land applied at the proper agronomic rates. Stockpiles are to be land applied at least annually, but spring will be the best time to benefit from the nutrients.

Also for Right-to-Farm compliance, the area where the stacked manure is removed should be reseeded and the next manure pile started in a new location.

Location of the manure stack is the most important management consideration. Avoiding potential runoff from the manure stack is critical. You do not want the stack to be in an area that ponds water, but you also don’t want it somewhere that runoff will reach neighbors property or surface waters or road ditches. If piled throughout the summer months, then also consider the potential for odors and flies if the stock pile is close to homes, schools or other public use areas.

For Right to farm compliance, stock piles of manure should be located more than 50 feet from property lines and more than 150 feet away from neighboring homes. 

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