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Manure Application

Manure Tank
The Division of Soil and Water Conservation has the authority rules regarding the application of manure at farming and animal feeding operations. These regulations apply to all farming operations in Ohio, except those that are permitted through ODA’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting or the Ohio EPA.

ODA may assess a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of these restrictions.


The statewide rule for manure application is OAC 901:13-1-11(A):
(A) Each owner, operator, animal manure applicator, or person responsible for land application of manure from an animal feeding operation shall minimize pollution from occurring on land application areas by following the standards in the "Field Office Technical Guide," or other appropriate methods or management practices approved by the director or the director's designee. In order to minimize the potential for pollution the following items shall be considered, including but not limited to: characteristics of the animal manure, available land, topography, cropping system, method of application, weather, time of the year, condition of the soil, other nutrients applied, and nutrient status of the soil.
This rule references the “standards in the ‘Field Office Technical Guide.’” For manure application this standard is the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standard for Nutrient Management (Code 590).

Western Lake Erie Basin

There are additional restrictions on the surface application of manure within the area that drains to the Western Lake Erie Basin. These restrictions are defined in Ohio Revised Code 939.08:

Western Lake Erie Basin

In this area, no person shall surface apply manure under the following circumstances: 
  • On snow-covered or frozen soil:
  • When the top 2 inches of the soil are saturated from precipitation; or 
  • When the weather forecast in the application area  calls for >50% chance of rain exceeding one-half  inch in a 24 hr. period. These restrictions on the surface application of manure do not apply under any of the following: 
    • The manure is injected into the ground;
    • The manure is incorporated within 24 hours of surface application;
    • The manure is applied onto a growing crop;
    • If there is an emergency, the director of agriculture can provide written consent.

Watershed in Distress

A watershed in distress is a watershed designated by ODA to have aquatic life and health that is impaired by nutrients or sediment from agricultural land uses and where there is a threat to public health, drinking water supplies, recreation or public safety and welfare.

The Grand Lake St. Marys watershed was designated as a watershed in distress on January 18, 2011. Within this area, all manure application must follow the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standard for Nutrient Management (Code 590) - See attachment. Failure to follow this standard is a violation of this of Ohio regulations regardless of whether pollution to waters of the state has occurred.

Grand Lake St. Marys Watershed Map

There are additional restrictions of the timing of manure application with the watershed in distress. Three key requirements are:
  • Each owner, operator, or person responsible for producing, applying, or receiving in excess of three hundred fifty tons and/or one hundred thousand gallons of manure a year shall develop and operate in conformance with a nutrient management plan;
  • No one shall apply manure between December 15 and March 1; and
  • No one shall apply manure on frozen ground or ground covered in more than one inch of snow.
A complete list of the additional restrictions can be found in the following rules: