New Fertilizer Use Rule now in effect

    Adams County Attorney Mark Burry reminded the commissioners this week that the date for compliance with the new Fertilizer Use Rule was February 16.
    This rule will be enforced by the office of the Indiana chemist's office and affects operations who use more than 10 cubic yards of dry fertilizer or 4,000 gallons of liquid fertilizer per year. Its purpose is largely regulation of organic fertilizer usage, such as manure.
    For those who use animal manure as fertilizer, each of the following numbers of livestock will produce the minimum amount of manure required to be in compliance with the new rule:
    •    Two sows
    •    10 finishing hogs
    •    One steer
    •    One dairy cow
    •    Seven ewes
    •    One horse
    •    239 layers
    •    212 broilers
    •    82 turkeys
    •    118 ducks

    Manure must be staged (or piled) 300 feet away from surface water, water wells and drainage inlets; 100 feet from property lines or public roads; and 400 feet from residential buildings. It cannot be staged in a waterway, floodway, or standing water; on an area of greater than six percent slope unless there is a gradient barrier; or on the side of a hill. After 72 hours, cover, or berm, the pile. Manure must be applied to a field within 90 days.
    The setback distances for manure application are as follows:
    • If using liquid injection or single-pass incorporation for liquid or solid — 500 feet from public water supply, 25 feet from surface waters or sinkholes, 50 feet from water wells, and five feet from drainage inlets.
    • If using liquid incorporation within 24 hours or surface-application solid — 500 feet from public water supply; 50 feet from surface waters, sinkholes, water wells, and drainage inlets; and 10 feet from property lines and public roads.
    • If using liquid surface application (no injection or incorporation
    • On less than six percent slope or residue cover — 500 feet from public water supply; 100 feet from surface waters, sinkholes, water wells, and drainage inlets; and 50 feet from property lines and public roads.
    • On greater than six percent slope — 500 feet from public water supply; 200 feet from surface waters, sinkholes, water wells, and drainage inlets; and 50 feet from property lines and public roads.
    • Manure is never to be applied to frozen ground.

    Brad Kohlhagen at Purdue Extension noted that the new regulations also require those who use manure to keep two years' worth of manure usage records. He says those who use manure don't have to turn these records in unless asked for them if there is a complaint or issue.
    Inorganic fertilizer must be staged 300 feet away from surface water, water wells, and drainage inlets. It can be staged along property lines, but not in waterways, floodways, or standing water. The pile must be covered after 72 hours and applied to the field within 30 days.
    Inorganic fertilizer may not be directly applied to water. It also may not be applied from a public road or to saturated ground. However, it may be applied to frozen ground.
    As farmers' livestock numbers go up to compensate for rising bills, they are running out of places to dump manure. Soil and Water Conservation Director Ryan Noblitt says he has heard of issues with manure being transported from the Ohio state line. Noblitt reminds residents that an Adams County ordinance states that livestock farmers must have at least 280 days' worth of storage for manure if they are unable to haul it elsewhere.
    Kohlhagen said that there have been recent issues with water quality in watersheds, which have sparked concerns on a national level from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) about improving water quality. Kohlhagen says these regulations have been in the works for a couple of years, and though there aren't many new rules, it's important that they are now in writing.
    According to Kohlhagen, the state of Ohio is talking about limiting the amount of fertilizer people can buy, especially in wetter weather. The years 2010 and 2011 both saw unusually wet springs, so there was a lot of fertilizer-tainted run-off into water sources. Indiana doesn't want to limit fertilizer purchases and hopes the new rules will keep it unnecessary.
    Kohlhagen says that Confined Feeding Operations (CFOs) will be used to manure regulations, as they already have to keep yearly records of manure and soil samples to keep their permits with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
    To be considered a CFO, a household must own at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, 30,000 poultry, or 500 horses. Most households don't have as much livestock as a CFO, but the amount of manure produced by smaller numbers of livestock can still add up. Kohlhagen says the regulations were written in the interest of environmental preservation.
    Questions may be directed to Livestock Specialist Greg Slipher at (317) 692-7886 or Brad Kohlhagen at (260) 724-5322. More information is available from the State Chemist website,