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

Mornings are cooler. Solid manure is hauled daily. Fall is here. It’s that time of year to remember all of the areas that need winterizing on the dairy.

Sample solid manures that are land applied and manifested. Sample liquid manure as it’s applied to fields. These results are important to prevent Notices of Violation either during an inspection or when your Annual Report is reviewed.

Irrigate where and when appropriate. Using lagoon nutrients for the winter crop is important. These help the crop grow and the irrigation makes storage capacity in the lagoon. Check your nutrient budgets to see when irrigations are appropriate. Lagoon water irrigations outside of the nutrient budget have resulted in Notices of Violation. Check lagoons for structural integrity and sufficient storage capacity. Fall is the time to manage lagoon solids if needed.

Clean gutters and prepare to divert roof runoff. Be sure flex hose is functional to divert roof runoff from storage lagoons. This helps with lagoon capacity over winter.

Scrape corrals. Mound resting areas for winter. Haul out manure solids. Grade corrals and fill in holes. For coastal dairies, seed corrals to protect soil from winter rains. Carefully analyze animal lots to be sure that when rains come, the runoff can be directed and then pumped or transferred to the dairy pond. Winterize the feed center. Be sure drains are open and ready for winter runoff. Manage dried manure and/or bedding from calves or special needs animals. Remove or relocate solids that can cause puddling of rain. Now is the window of opportunity to spread.

Inspect corrals today. Take 17 minutes to drive around the dairy. Pay special attention to:

  • fencing and posts,
  • fenceline manure,
  • stanchions/locking gates (if present),
  • areas where manure is collected,
  • watering troughs,
  • upslope areas where rain water may runoff and go through corrals,
  • any area where lot runoff should be collected to be sure it’s open and not plugged

by other materials, and grade, slope and low spots in open lots.

Review your facilities Operation and Maintenance Plan. It contains your dairy’s

specific list of things to remember to do before winter arrives. Remember that all manure leaving the production facility needs to be either manifested off farm, or records associated with what and how much goes to each field need to be maintained. Consult Tab 6 of your Water Quality Regulatory Binder for North Coast, San Francisco Bay or Central Valley

regions, should you need record keeping templates.