By Deanne Meyer, Ph.D., Livestock Waste Management Specialist, UC Davis, Department of Animal Science, UC ANR

This hasn’t been an average winter. Producers either have had no rain or lots of rain. Crops are nearing harvest or still quite small. Everyone has worked to keep COVID at bay.

Full ponds? If your ponds are full, divert as much clean rain runoff away from ponds.

This water can be discharged to fields if needed. Irrigate when opportunities exist (that means your Nutrient Management Plan suggests crops need nutrients AND fields aren’t saturated). As day length increases, sun, wind, and the growing winter crop will absorb soil moisture and nutrients at increasing rates. This may provide windows of opportunity for irrigating. If you were under a cloudburst, sample your liquid manure to verify nutrient content. Check in with your nutrient management/crop consultant to check for additional suggestions. Lastly, remember that the General Order WDR requires sampling any off-property discharge water (from your crop fields, pasture, or the production area) that may include manure nutrients.

Fly control in winter? Winter is the time that manure may accumulate under fence lines.

Knocking down fence line manure prevents fly habitat as temperatures warm. Almond shells and rice hulls are the most common additions to corrals to improve footing for animals and minimize muddy areas during winter. Break-up areas with accumulated organic matter. Also, clean curbs and other areas where manure accumulates. Watch the temperature and contact your fly control team before temperatures inch up. For more information on fly management visit CDQAP’s Dairy Fly Control and Your Bottom Line webpage.