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Iowa environmental commission limits manure applications for soybeans

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 14, the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) included discussion of a proposed rule to ban manure application on soybeans.

"We believe that as the EPC, you have been given science-based data from Iowa State University (ISU) that you may be ignoring," Iowa Soybean Association president Ray Gaesser told EPC members Tuesday. "In the absence of hard data on any water quality impacts of manure application to soybean ground at crop uptake rates, ISU has developed its best recommendations for an interim process until the appropriate data can be collected. That recommendation does not support a ban of manure on soybean ground."

Ten other farmers and livestock producers joined Gaesser in testifying before the governor-appointed group. In addition, ISA research director Tracy Blackmer presented testimony at Tuesday's EPC meeting, telling members manure applied at rates that match crop-uptake levels of nitrogen on soybean ground has no effect on water quality.

The commission voted to accept the Iowa State University recommendation to allow 100 pounds of nitrogen applied as liquid manure from facilities required to have manure management plans to ground intended to be planted to soybeans. An amendment was also added to the rule which required that after five years, the commission intends to ban all liquid manure applications to soybean ground within manure management plans.

"While we didn't succeed in totally eliminating the ban, we were able to encourage the EPC to direct its attention to the recommendations of our land-grant university," Blackmer said. "We believe further research will show that manure applications at lower rates will have little if any detrimental effect on water quality."

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 14, the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) included discussion of a proposed rule to ban manure application on soybeans.

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