Manure Management

It is the time of the year to start thinking about certifying or recertifying for 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), and regardless of the size of the operation.

Each type of applicator is required to take a training course or recertification 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 This requires registering for an IowaID, and logging in to 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.