Frequently Asked Questions: Manure Management Plans

By Mindy J. Spiehs, REE Livestock Manure Systems and published by University of Minnesota - This article answers a series of frequently asked questions about manure management plans.
calendar icon 6 June 2005
clock icon 5 minute read
University of Minnesota Extension Service

What are Manure Management Plans?

Manure Management Plans describe how the manure generated at a feedlot facility is going to be used during the upcoming cropping year(s) in a way that meets all regulations, protects waters of the state, and maximizes the benefits of applying manure to cropland (MPCA Fact sheet Wq-f8.07). It is recommended that all livestock operations complete a manure management plan.

Who is required to complete a Manure Management Plan?

Manure management plans are required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) in the following situations (MPCA Fact sheet Wqf8.07):

  1. A permit application is submitted from an operation with 100 animal units or more after October 23, 2000

  2. Manure from a feedlot capable of holding 300 or more animal units is applied after January 1, 2006.

By January 1, 2006 all livestock operations with 300 or more animal units must complete a manure management plan or have manure spread by a certified commercial applicator to be in compliance with MPCA.

Do I need a Manure Management Plan if ownership of manure is transferred?

When ownership of manure if transferred for application to fields that are not owned or leased by the owner of the animal feedlot, a manure management plan is partially completed by the feedlot owner and partially completed by the manager of the field(s) where the manure is applied (MPCA Fact sheet wq-f8.11).

For more details, see MPCA Manure Management Plan Requirements when Manure Ownership if Transferred available at 12.pdf (PDF)

Do I need a Manure Management Plan if I hire a certified commercial applicator to apply manure to my fields or if I am a certified commercial applicator?

No, a manure management plan is not required. However, if your feedlot contains 100 or more animal units, you are required to maintain manure application records, regardless of whether a commercial applicator applies manure or you do it yourself.

Commercial applicators must keep a copy of manure application records and provide the owner of the feedlot or manure storage area with these records no later than 60 days following land application (MPCA, Fact sheet Wq-f8.11).

Do I need to submit my Manure Management Plan to MPCA?

Producers do not need to submit their plans to MPCA for review unless specifically requested by the MPCA or a County Feedlot Officer, or when applying for a permit. However, you may be asked to show your updated manure management plan and associated records when your feedlot is inspected (MPCA Fact sheet wq-f 8.07).

Your manure management plan must be kept up-to-date. Review the plan each year to reflect changes in crop rotation, manure nutrient levels, changes in manure application methods, and other factors that contribute to the nutrient availability of the manure and the crop nutrient needs.

What is included in a Manure Management Plan?

In general, the following information must be included in a manure management plan (MPCA Fact sheet wq-f8.07):

  1. Manure storage, handling and testing practices

  2. Field locations and acreage used for spreading manure

  3. Field-specific nutrient management; and

  4. Management for sensitive areas

A checklist of information that is needed to complete a manure management plan is include in this packet or available online at 07.pdf

Are there standard forms that must be used to complete my Manure Management Plan?

You are not required to use any specific format when writing a manure management plan. You may use forms or software developed by MPCA, National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), University of Minnesota Extension Service , or other private organizations. However, the following resources are available for use in developing a manure management plan:

  • Manure Management Plan: A Step-by-Step Guide for Minnesota Feedlot Operators: This guide was developed by MPCA, with assistance from the University of Minnesota Extension Service to assist producers in writing their plans. It is included in this packet or available online at 09.pdf

  • MPCA Manure Management Plan Spreadsheet: This is a Microsoft EXCEL spreadsheet that includes all MPCA requirements. It is available at html

  • Nutrient Management Planner for Minnesota: This is a Microsoft ACCESS-based program developed by the University of Minnesota Extension Service and NRCS. This program can be used to complete a manure management plan for both NRCS EQIP and MPCA requirements.

To find out more information about the program contact Kevin Blanchet at (651) 480-7739 or go to the following website nagementPlanner.pdf

Is there additional assistance available to help me write my Manure Management Plan?

The University of Minnesota Extension Service holds free workshops on how to complete your manure management plan. These are generally small group workshops. Contact your local County Feedlot Officer, Local Extension Educator, or Kevin Blanchet (651) 480-7739 to find out more information about upcoming workshops in your area. Your Local Extension Educator or private organizations may also be able to provide assistance in completing your manure management plan.

Where can I find more information about manure application and management?

University of Minnesota Manure Team website:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website:

Minnesota NRCS website: ient/manure/manure.htm

Source: University of Minnesota Extension Service - Taken from website June 2005

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