Updated online tool gives guidance on manure spreading

By Rachel Rushmann, Producer-Led Grants Program manager,  Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection   

There is now a new version of Wisconsin’s Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast (RRAF) that gives farmers a more localized look at the threat of runoff when planning to spread manure. 

 The runoff forecast, available at manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov, provides maps in 4-kilometer grids that show the short-term runoff risk for daily application planning. The first version of the RRAF provided all this data by watershed basins. The new version provides data on a finer scale and lets farmers look at conditions close to home. 

 The RRAF uses factors including soil moisture, precipitation and temperature forecasts, snow cover and land landscape characteristics to make predictions. It is updated twice daily by the National  

Weather Service, using the same computer models used to forecast floods. 

 In addition to the precipitation forecast, the updated tool provides soil temperatures and saturation based on computer models. And, it is easier to find previous day snapshots, a tool that is often used to document adherence to nutrient management plans. 

 When you open the RRAF, you will see a statewide map (as shown above). By clicking on the map, you can zoom in on your specific area. There is also a link to a video tutorial to show you how to use the tool. 

 The runoff risk forecast does not replace nutrient management planning or emergency planning in case of manure spills. It is a tool to help you make more informed decisions when planning to spread. 

New and improved  

Features of the updated Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast online tool: 

  • Runoff risk is shown at a much finer geographical scale 
  • New tabs for maps showing: 
  • Forecast precipitation 
  • Modeled soil temperature 
  • Modeled soil saturation 

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