, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 657–670 | Cite as

A review of regulations and guidelines related to winter manure application

  • Jian LiuEmail author
  • Peter J. A. Kleinman
  • Helena Aronsson
  • Don Flaten
  • Richard W. McDowell
  • Marianne Bechmann
  • Douglas B. Beegle
  • Timothy P. Robinson
  • Ray B. Bryant
  • Hongbin Liu
  • Andrew N. Sharpley
  • Tamie L. Veith


Winter manure application elevates nutrient losses and impairment of water quality as compared to manure applications in other seasons. In conjunction with reviewing global distribution of animal densities, we reviewed worldwide mandatory regulations and voluntary guidelines on efforts to reduce off-site nutrient losses associated with winter manure applications. Most of the developed countries implement regulations or guidelines to restrict winter manure application, which range from a regulative ban to guidelines based upon weather and field management conditions. In contrast, developing countries lack such official directives, despite an increasing animal production industry and concern over water quality. An analysis of five case studies reveals that directives are derived from a common rationale to reduce off-site manure nutrient losses, but they are also affected by local socio-economic and biophysical considerations. Successful programs combine site-specific management strategies along with expansion of manure storage to offer farmers greater flexibility in winter manure management.


Animal production Eutrophication Manure management regulations Nutrient management Winter manure application 



The authors thank Nina Bonnelycke (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and Don Meals (Tetra Tech Inc.) for sharing their draft summary of state program requirements for winter application of manure in the U.S., and Chris Ullmann (Alberta Department of Agriculture and Forestry) for sharing the unpublished report of directives on winter application of manure in Canada. The authors also thank Amy Shober (University of Delaware), Thomas Basden (West Virginia University), Richard Meinert (University of Connecticut), Karl Czymmek (Cornell University), Joshua McGrath (University of Kentucky), and Daniel Geisseler (University of California, Davis) for providing information related to winter manure directives in their states. Gary Shenk (U.S. Geological Survey) kindly provided the original data for mapping the production of manure nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Anthony Buda (U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service) provided helpful insights on issues related to weather. This publication was developed under Assistance Agreement No. RD 83556801-0 awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It has not been formally reviewed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by any of the authors’ organization or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All entities involved are equal opportunity providers and employers.

Supplementary material (133 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (ZIP 134 kb)


  1. Andersen, H.E., G. Blicher-Mathiesen, M. Bechmann, A. Povilaitis, A. Iital, A. Lagzdins, and K. Kyllmar. 2014. Mitigating diffuse nitrogen losses in the Nordic-Baltic countries. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 195: 53–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aronsson, H., J. Liu, E. Ekre, G. Torstensson, and E. Salomon. 2014. Effects of pig and dairy slurry application on N and P leaching from crop rotations with spring cereals and forage leys. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 98: 281–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beckwith, C.P., J. Cooper, K.A. Smith, and M.A. Shepherd. 1998. Nitrate leaching loss following application of organic manures to sandy soils in arable cropping. I. Effects of application time, manure type, overwinter crop cover and nitrification inhibition. Soil Use and Management 14: 123–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beegle, D. 2013. Nutrient management and the Chesapeake Bay. Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education 151: 3–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burns, M.J. 2015. Canterbury region dairy report 2014-2015 season. Christchurch: Environment Canterbury.Google Scholar
  6. Chesapeake Bay Program. 2010. Nutrients. Accessed 5 Jan 2016.
  7. China Statistics Press. 2010. China statistical yearbook. Beijing: China Statistics Press. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
  8. Dairy Australia. 2015. Dairy Self-Assessment Tool. Southbank: Dairy Australia.Google Scholar
  9. DairyNZ. 2015. A guide to using the Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator (DESC). Hamilton: Dairy New Zealand.Google Scholar
  10. Deelstra, J., L. Øygarden, A.-G.B. Blankenberg, and H.-O. Eggestad. 2011. Climate change and runoff from agricultural catchments in Norway. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management 3: 345–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Delaware Department of Agriculture. 2003. Nutrient management regulations. Accessed 1 May 2015.
  12. Dou, Z., D.T. Galligan, C.F. Ramberg, C. Meadows, and J.D. Ferguson. 2001. A survey of dairy farming in Pennsylvania: nutrient management practices and implications. Journal of Dairy Science 84: 966–973.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. European Commission. 2000. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European parliament and of the council of 23 October 2000: Establishing a framework for community action in the field of water policy. Accessed 25 Jan 2017.
  14. European Economic Community. 1991. Protection of water against pollution by nitrates from agriculture. EEC/91/976, Official Journal No L375, 31.12.1991. Brussels, Belgium.Google Scholar
  15. Erisman, J.W., A. Bleeker, A. Hensen, and A. Vermeulen. 2008. Agricultural air quality in Europe and the future perspectives. Atmospheric Environment 42: 3209–3217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fleming, R., and H. Fraser. 2000. Impacts of winter spreading of manure on water quality: Literature review. Ridgetown: Ridgetown College, University of Guelph.Google Scholar
  17. Ginting, D., J.F. Moncrief, S.C. Gupta, and S.D. Evans. 1998. Corn yield, runoff, and sediment losses from manure and tillage systems. Journal of Environmental Quality 27: 1396–1402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Glozier, N.E., J.A. Elliott, B. Holliday, J. Yarotski, and B. Harker. 2006. Water quality characteristics and trends in a small agricultural watershed: South Tobacco Creek, Manitoba, 1992-2001. Manitoba: Environment Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Gourley, C.J.P., and D.M. Weaver. 2012. Nutrient surpluses in Australian grazing systems: management practices, policy approaches, and difficult choices to improve water quality. Crop and Pasture Science 63: 805–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Green, D.J. 1996. Surface water quality impacts following winter applications of hog manure in the Interlake region, Manitoba, Canada 1996. Water Quality Management Report No. 96-14. Manitoba Environment, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.Google Scholar
  21. Green, D.J., and W.N. Turner. 2002. South Tobacco Creek manured watershed runoff study, 1998–2001. Manitoba Conservation and Deerwood Soil and Water Management Association. Manitoba Conservation Report No. 2002-02. Manitoba, Canada.Google Scholar
  22. Hall, M.H. 2015. Soil fertility management. In The Agronomy Guide, 2015–2016, ed. W. Curran, and D.D. Lingenfelter, 93–116. University Park, PA: Publ. Distribution Center, Pennsylvania State University.Google Scholar
  23. Houlbrooke, D.J., D.J. Horne, M.J. Hedley, V. Snow, and J.A. Hanly. 2008. Land application of farm dairy effluent to a mole and pipe drained soil: implications for nutrient enrichment of winter-spring drainage. Australian Journal of Soil Research 46: 45–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jarvie, H.P., A.N. Sharpley, D. Flaten, P.J.A. Kleinman, A. Jenkins, and T. Simmons. 2015. The pivotal role of phosphorus in a resilient water-energy-food security nexus. Journal of Environmental Quality 44: 1049–1062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jenkins, B.R. 2013. Progress of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and some emerging issues, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Conference 2013 (NZARES), 29–30 Aug 2013. University of Canterbury. Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management, Lincoln University, Lincoln, New Zealand.Google Scholar
  26. Kearney, J. 2010. Food consumption trends and drivers. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 2793–2807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kellogg, R.L., C.H. Lander, D.C. Moffitt, and N. Gollehon. 2000. Manure nutrients relative to the capacity of cropland and pastureland to assimilate nutrients: Spatial and temporal trends for the United States. NRCS and ERS GSA Pubi. No. npsOO-0579. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  28. Klausner, S.D., P.J. Zwerman, and D.F. Ellis. 1976. Nitrogen and phosphorus losses from winter disposal of dairy manure. Journal of Environmental Quality 5: 47–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kleinman, P.J.A., A.N. Sharpley, P.J.A. Withers, L. Bergström, L.T. Johnson, and D.G. Doody. 2015. Implementing agricultural phosphorus science and management to combat eutrophication. Ambio 44: S297–S310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Komiskey, M.J., T.D. Stuntebeck, D.R. Frame, and F.W. Madison. 2011. Nutrients and sediment in frozen-ground runoff from no-till fields receiving liquid-dairy and solid-beef manures. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 66: 303–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kronsell, A. 1997. Environmental policy in Sweden: setting a good example. In European Environmental Policy: The Pioneers, ed. M.S. Andersen, and D. Liefferink. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board. 2006. Reducing Nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg and its watershed: Our collective responsibility and commitment to action. Report to the Minister of Water Stewardship, December 2006. Manitoba, Canada.Google Scholar
  33. Lewis, T.W., and J.C. Makarewicz. 2009. Winter application of manure on an agricultural watershed and its impact on downstream nutrient fluxes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 35: 43–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Li, H., J. Liu, G. Li, J. Shen, L. Bergström, and F.S. Zhang. 2015. Past, present, and future use of phosphorus in Chinese agriculture and its influence on phosphorus losses. Ambio 44: S274–S285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Liu, J., T.L. Veith, A.S. Collick, P.J.A. Kleinman, D.B. Beegle, and R.B. Bryant. 2017. Seasonal manure application timing and storage effects on field- and watershed-level phosphorus losses. Journal of Environmental Quality 46: 1403–1412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ma, L., W.Q. Ma, G.L. Velthof, F.H. Wang, W. Qin, F.S. Zhang, and O. Oenema. 2010. Modeling nutrient flows in the food chain of China. Journal of Environmental Quality 39: 1279–1289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Malgeryd, J., and S. Olofsson. 2016. Measures to reduce phosphorus losses from agricultural land in Sweden. Book of abstracts for 8th International Phosphorus workshop, Rostock, Germany 12–16 Sept 2016.Google Scholar
  38. Manitoba Environment Act. 1998. Livestock manure and mortalities management regulation. Accessed 9 Dec 2016.
  39. Manitoba Sustainable Development. 2017. Restriction on winter application of nutrients. Province of Manitoba. Accessed 9 Jan 2017.
  40. Maryland Department of Agriculture. 2012. Nutrient application requirements. Maryland Nutrient Management Manual Section 1. Nutrient Recommendations. Accessed 5 Jan 2016.
  41. Maule, C., and J. Elliott. 2006. Effect of hog manure injection upon soil productivity and water quality. Part II. Elstow site 2000–2005. ADF Project 98000094. Saskatoon, Canada.Google Scholar
  42. McDowell, R.W., R.M. Dils, A.L. Collins, K.A. Flahive, A.N. Sharpley, and J. Quinn. 2016. A review of the policies and implementation of practices to decrease water quality impairment by phosphorus in New Zealand, the UK, and the US. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 104: 289–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McDowell, R.W., R.M. Monaghan, W. Dougherty, C.J.P. Gourley, R. Vibart, and M. Shepherd. 2017. Balancing water quality threats from nutrients and production in Australian and New Zealand dairy farms under low profit margins. Animal Production Science 57: 1419–1430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. McDowell, R.W., T. Snelder, R. Littlejohn, M. Hickey, N. Cox, and D.J. Booker. 2011. State and potential management to improve water quality in an agricultural catchment relative to a natural baseline. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 144: 188–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Midgley, A.R., and D.E. Dunklee. 1945. Fertility runoff losses from manure spread during the winter. University of Vermont, Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 523: 1–19.Google Scholar
  46. Milne, C.M. 1976. Effect of a livestock wintering operation on a western mountain stream. Transactions of the ASAE 19: 749–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ministry for Primary Industries. 2013. The Dairying and Clean Streams Accord: Snapshot of Progress 2011/2012. Wellington: Ministry for Primary Industries.Google Scholar
  48. Ministry for the Environment. 2014. National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2014. Wellington: Ministry for the Environment.Google Scholar
  49. Neumann, A., G. Torstensson, and H. Aronsson. 2011. Losses of nitrogen and phosphorus via the drainage system from organic crop rotations with and without livestock on a clay soil in south-west Sweden. Organic Agriculture 1: 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. New York Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2013. Conservation Practice Standard: Nutrient Management (Ac.) Code 590. Accessed 1 May 2015.
  51. Nicholaichuk, W. 1967. Comparative watershed studies in southern Saskatchewan. Transactions of the ASAE 10: 502–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2016. Storm events database. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Accessed 21 Dec 2016.
  53. Oskarsen, H., T.K. Haraldsen, A.H. Aastveit, and K. Myhr. 1996. The Kvithamar field lysimeter II. Pipe drainage, surface runoff and nutrient leaching. Norwegian Journal of Agricultural Sciences 10: 211–228. (in Norwegian).Google Scholar
  54. Peel, M.C., B.L. Finlayson, and T.A. McMahon. 2007. Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 11: 1633–1644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pennsylvania Code. 2005. Act 38 Nutrient Management Regulations. Accessed 5 Jan 2015.
  56. Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 2011. Land application of manure: A supplementary to manure management for environmental protection. Manure Management Plan Guidance 361-0300-002. Accessed 5 Jan 2015.
  57. Phillips, P.A., J.L.B. Culley, F.R. Hore, and N.K. Patni. 1981. Pollution potential and corn yields from selected rates and timing of liquid manure applications. Transaction of the ASAE 24: 139–144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Robinson, T.P., G.R.W. Wint, G. Conchedda, T.P. Boeckel, V. Ercoli, E. Palamara, G. Cinardi, L. D’Aietti, et al. 2014. Mapping the global distribution of livestock. PLoS ONE 9:e96084. (GIS data available online: Accessed 27 Dec 2017).
  59. Sanson, R., and W. Baxter. 2011. Stock exclusion survey. Wellington: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.Google Scholar
  60. State Council of the People’s Republic of China Code 634. 2013. Regulations on Prevention and Control of Pollution by Scaled Livestock and Poultry Breeding Industry. (in Chinese). Accessed 1 May 2016.
  61. Sharpley, A.N., L. Bergström, H. Aronsson, M. Bechmann, C.H. Bolster, K. Börling, F. Djodjic, H. Jarvie, et al. 2015. Future agriculture with minimized phosphorus losses to waters: Research needs and direction. Ambio 44: S163–S179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Sheppard, S.C., M.I. Sheppard, J. Long, B. Sanipelli, and J. Tait. 2006. Runoff phosphorus retention in vegetated field margins on flat landscapes. Canadian Journal of Soil Science 86: 871–884.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Srinivasan, M.S., R.B. Bryant, M.P. Callahan, and J.L. Weld. 2006. Manure management and nutrient loss under winter conditions: A literature review. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 61: 200–209.Google Scholar
  64. Steenhuis, T.S., G.D. Bubenzer, J.C. Converse, and M.F. Walter. 1981. Winter-spread manure nitrogen loss. Transaction of the ASAE. 1981: 436–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ulén, B., H. Aronsson, M. Bechmann, T. Krogstad, L. Øygarden, and M. Stenberg. 2010. Soil tillage measures to control phosphorus loss and potential side-effects: A Scandinavian review. Soil Use and Management 26: 94–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ullmann, C. 2016. Jurisdictional review of spreading on frozen or snow-covered land. Alberta: Alberta Department of Agriculture and Forestry.Google Scholar
  67. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. 2003. Code 590 Nutrient management practice standard. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.Google Scholar
  68. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2010. Chesapeake Bay Phase 5.3 Community Watershed Model. EPA 903S10002 - CBP/TRS-303-10. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chesapeake Bay Program Office, Annapolis, Maryland. December 2010.Google Scholar
  69. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 2014. State Winter Application Restrictions (White Paper Draft Appendix). Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  70. Valpasvuo-Jaatinen, P., S. Rekolainen, and H. Latostenmaa. 1997. Finnish agriculture and its sustainability: Environmental impacts. Ambio 26: 448–455.Google Scholar
  71. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. 2014. Nutrient management training and certification regulations 4VAC50-85 Accessed 1 May 2015.
  72. Webb, J., P. Sørensen, G. Velthof, B. Amon, M. Pinto, L. Rodhe, E. Salomon, N. Hutchings, et al. 2012. An assessment of the variation of manure nitrogen efficiency throughout Europe and an appraisal of means to increase manure-N efficiency. Advances in Agronomy 119: 371–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. 1998. Standards for Use, Disposal and Processing of Sewage Sludge Accessed 1 May 2015.
  74. Young, R.A., and R.F. Holt. 1977. Winter applied manure: Effects of annual runoff, erosion, and nutrient movement. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 32: 219–222.Google Scholar
  75. Young, R.A., and C.K. Mutchler. 1976. Pollution potential of manure spread on frozen ground. Journal of Environmental Quality 5: 174–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jian Liu
    • 1
    Email author return OK on get
  • Peter J. A. Kleinman
    • 2
  • Helena Aronsson
    • 3
  • Don Flaten
    • 4
  • Richard W. McDowell
    • 5
  • Marianne Bechmann
    • 6
  • Douglas B. Beegle
    • 1
  • Timothy P. Robinson
    • 7
  • Ray B. Bryant
    • 2
  • Hongbin Liu
    • 8
  • Andrew N. Sharpley
    • 9
  • Tamie L. Veith
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Plant SciencePennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research UnitU.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research ServiceUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Soil and EnvironmentSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  5. 5.AgResearch, Invermay Agricultural CentreMosgielNew Zealand
  6. 6.Division for Environment and Natural ResourcesNorwegian Institute of Bioeconomy ResearchÅsNorway
  7. 7.Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy BranchFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsRomeItaly
  8. 8.Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  9. 9.Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental ScienceUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

Personalised recommendations