Do You need a Manure Applicator License?

It is the time of the year to start thinking about certifying or re-certifying your manure applicator’s license. State law requires manure applicators who remove manure from confinement feeding operations with more than 500 Animal Units (AU) to be certified. Operations with less than 500 AU as well as open feedlots are exempt from this certification. However, these sites MUST still follow state laws when applying manure.

There are 2 types of applicator certification—confinement and commercial. Confinement site applicators are those hauling liquid or dry manure from a confinement building with over 500 AU. Commercial applicators are those hauling manure for hire. This pertains to any manure type, and from any source (confinement or open lot), regardless of the size of the operation. 

Each type of applicator is required to take a training course or re-certification every year. This typically occurs in early January for commercial applicators and during January or February for confinement applicators. 

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF METHODS TO MAKE TRAINING AND FEE PAYMENT EASIER THAN EVER: 

• Attend ISU extension in-person training 

• Take a test at a DNR field office 

• Take the training at home or in the office with the new E-learning option. This is an online education course that is self-paced. It is, however, limited to one applicator per computer. This can be found at elearning-dnr.iowa.gov. It requires registering for an Iowa ID and logging into the site. 

Be sure to stay up-to-date with your training and certification. DNR typically stops applicators looking for current certification, and you don’t want to be caught without it. Also, be sure to follow all regulations for application, including separation distances. 

WINTER APPLICATION OF MANURE 

Just a reminder of manure application separation distances. ALL manure that is surface-applied, whether liquid or dry, from any farm, regardless of size, must maintain a 200 feet separation distance from any creek or river. To be able to apply right up to the creek, manure must be incorporated on the day of application if dry manure and within 24 hours if it is liquid manure. 


HERE IS A QUICK REFRESHER ON OTHER WINTER MANURE APPLICATION REGULATIONS: 

• Confinement feeding operations with more than 500 AU cannot apply liquid manure on snow-covered ground from December 21 to April 1 or on frozen ground from February 1 to April 1. If these conditions do not exist, application is permitted. 

• These regulations do not apply to manure from open feedlots, dry manure, and liquid manure from confinements with less than 500 AU. If you are permitted to winter apply, be sure you do follow all required separation distances. 

• Separation distances from residences for liquid applied from confinement buildings is 750 feet for surface applied manure and 0 feet if injected. 

If you have any questions regarding these topics or any other nutrient management questions, please feel free to give me a call at 712-441-1352.