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Banning Manure Applications to Soybeans

Brinkman's Nutrient Management Notes
September 29, 2006

Recently, I have received several questions on the issue of banning manure to soybeans:

  • This discussion has been in front of the EPC (Environmental Protection Commissioners) for about 8 months.
  • The EPC is a panel of nine citizens who provide policy oversight over Iowa's environmental protection efforts. EPC members are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by vote of the Senate for four year terms.
  • The issue is about banning liquid swine manure and lagoon water from open feedlots to ground that is going to soybeans (i.e. applying manure to cornstalks going to soybeans). 
  • The EPC has instructed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to craft a notice that begins the rule making process.
  • This notice of intended action could be approved at the EPC's November meeting.
  • If approved a public comment period would begin.
  • The EPC would have a final vote sometime next year.
  • Then the Legislature's Administrative Rules Review Committee Could block, delay or allow the rule to take place.

NRCS will continue to use the FOTG 590 Nutrient Management Standard for all nutrient planning activity. When/if there is a change in state law, NRCS will compare that law and the 590 Standard and make adjustments if necessary.

  • The 590 Standard discusses the proper timing, placement, and formulation of nutrients for environmental protection and attaining realistic yields.
  • Current information from Iowa State is to allow 3.8 # of Nitrogen/bushel of proven soybean yields to be applied if a producer needs to.
  • John Sawyer from Iowa State has said that some recent research has shown that the soybean nitrogen utilization may be closer to 3.2 - 3.4 # of Nitrogen/bushel.
  • I would suggest that if you know of any producer that is applying manure to ground that is going to soybeans to use the 3.2 # of Nitrogen/bushel. This is just a suggestion until we have a change in publications from Iowa State.