Forage Density Determination

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Field cover is an important consideration for application of manure. Application to bare or sparsely vegetated fields (<50% cover) will have a much greater risk of runoff than dense fields. Vegetation works to reduce overland flow, help water infiltrate into the soil, reduce surface compaction, and take up nutrients. Only established, dense (>70% cover) grass or cover/relay crops grown for harvest are effective at reducing the runoff potential from fields. Fields with sparse vegetation (<50% cover) should not be applied to during the wet season.

 

Grass Field

The following pictures show differing forage densities. You can determine your forage density visually, or by grid evaluation. To conduct a grid evaluation, frame out a representative 1 foot by 1 foot block of your field. Determine how much (%) of the area is not covered by forage (i.e., bare ground) and subtract from 100%. Repeat in at least three other locations to get an average for the field.
Forage density less than 50% is not permitted for application due to the elevated potential for runoff.

 

 

95% Density
100% Density

 

85% Density
95% Density

 

90% Density
90% Density

 

100% Density
85% Density

 

80% Density
80% Density

 

75% Density
75% Density

 

60% Density
60% Density

 

<50% Density
<50% Density

 

Rocky, <50% Density
Rocky, <50% Density

 

Saturated, <50% Density
Saturated, <50% Density

 

Moss Covered, <50% Density
Moss Covered, <50% Density

 

 

Cover Crop

Manure can be applied to a cover crop field in the spring if it is agronomic and that crop is going to be harvested. Cover crops that will be killed or tilled under may not be applied to as it is not agronomic.

Cover dense enough to evaluate Cover dense enough to evaluate

Cover dense enough to evaluate application.

Cover NOT dense enough for evaluation Cover NOT dense enough for evaluation 

Cover NOT dense enough for application. Application would not be permittedon these fields prior to March 15 per the Manure Ordinance (16.28). 

  Cover NOT dense enough for evaluation