MOUNT VERNON — Manure application was the main topic of the Knox County Farmers Breakfast on Tuesday, but they weren’t talking politics. Instead, the topic was fertilizer and keeping it from polluting waterways.
Knox Soil & Water Conservation District Director Rob Clendening, and OSU Extension Educator John Barker talked abut how controlling chemical runoff from fertilizers, especially the phosphorous and nitrogen from the manure farmers spread on their fields, is a growing concern in much of the country.
They do not expect that severe restrictions such as those being put in place around Grand Lake St. Mary’s are likely to be coming to Knox County anytime soon, but the runoff issue is a concern and is a reason crop farmers need to plan spreading manure in the right quantities to meet their crop’s needs.
Barker explained how soil sampling and monitoring crop yields work together to determine the amount of fertilizer to use.
Clendening said they are working on plans for getting manure from swine and dairy operations to the sections of the county that can use it, but it’s not as easy to transport as the waste from poultry operations, which is drier.
Clendening also told the farmers to be sure they know where drainage tiles may have been installed over the years, because they need to watch out for manure runoff being carried into ditches and waterways. If it reaches a stream, they will then run into EPA regulations that would consider such a drain as a pollution source and require it to meet municipal and industrial source standards.
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