Manure spraying ordinances vary in Rock and Walworth counties

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Sunday, April 27, 2014

JANESVILLE—Center pivot manure spraying became an issue in Rock County in 2011.

At the time, Nebraska dairy farmer Todd Tuls was building a 5,000-cow dairy in the town of Bradford. He and his son, TJ Tuls, were interested in using the practice to spread manure.

They decided not to use the practice and instead now spread manure in the traditional fashion.

The discussion raised the issue of center-pivot manure spraying, however, and prompted the town of Harmony to pass an ordinance banning its use. About the same time, the town of Johnstown voted to regulate it, too.

The town of Bradford considered an ordinance to ban center pivot manure spraying, but the ordinance was tabled.

Rock County's towns have treated the issue differently, Rock County Senior Conservation Specialist Norm Tadt said. For some towns, the issue hasn't come up.

Town of Magnolia Chairwoman Fern McCoy said the issue hadn't been discussed by the Magnolia Town Board. The town is home to Larson Acres, a 5,000-cow dairy.

In Walworth County, the county oversees zoning and has banned the use of such sprayers, Tadt said.

The topic of aerial spraying of manure is being studied by universities across the country and by agencies such as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The UW Extension hosts the Midwest Manure Summit every year, and manure spraying always is a topic.

“This is a huge issue nationwide,” Tadt said. “One of the things they're looking at is airborne pathogens.”

Systems are being developed that would increase the size of the manure droplets to decrease the aerosolization. In addition, they're looking at low pressure emitters to reduce or eliminate drift, Tadt said.

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