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Agricultural performance standards and manure management prohibitions

Agricultural performance standards and manure management prohibitions are outlined in Ch. NR 151, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR]. This rule establishes performance standards for urban and transportation sources of polluted runoff as well.

The agricultural standards and prohibitions were developed to control polluted runoff from all cropland and livestock operations while protecting Wisconsin’s water resources. Conservation practices used to meet the performance standards are identified in Ch. ATCP 50, Wis. Adm. Code [exit DNR].

Also see Wisconsin Runoff Rules: What Farmers Need to Know [PDF].

Agricultural performance standards

  • Sheet, rill and wind erosion: All cropped fields shall meet the tolerable (T) soil erosion rate established for that soil.
  • Tillage setback: No tillage operations may be conducted within 5 feet of the top of the channel of surface waters.
  • Phosphorus index: Croplands, pastures, and winter grazing areas shall average a phosphorus index of 6 or less over the accounting period and may not exceed a phosphorus index of 12 in any individual year within the accounting period.
  • Manure storage facilities: All new, substantially altered, or abandoned manure storage facilities shall be constructed, maintained or abandoned in accordance with accepted standards. Failing and leaking existing facilities posing an imminent threat to public health or fish and aquatic life or violate groundwater standards shall be upgraded or replaced.
  • Process wastewater handling: There may be no significant discharge of process wastewater to waters of the state.
  • Clean water diversions: Runoff from agricultural buildings and fields shall be diverted away from contacting feedlots, manure storage areas and barnyards located within water quality management areas (300 feet from a stream or 1,000 feet from a lake or areas susceptible to groundwater contamination).
  • Nutrient management: Agricultural operations applying nutrients to agricultural fields shall do so according to a nutrient management plan.

Manure management prohibitions

  • No overflow of manure storage facilities.
  • No unconfined manure piles in a water quality management area.
  • No direct runoff from feedlots or stored manure into state waters.
  • No unlimited livestock access to waters of the state in locations where high concentrations of animals prevent the maintenance of adequate or self-sustaining vegetative cover.