Blast from past needs your attention today
What were you doing five years ago?
Gearing up to get in the fields to take out crops? Enjoying the start of fall football? Reading up on how we could be facing a huge banking collapse that could wreck the global economy?
It’s hard to remember back five years, but I remember one thing you did:
Five years ago, Iowa CCI members pushed the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) to consider a rule to ban the application of liquid manure on beans.
It was a good rule and an important and easy step to prevent manure in our waterways. Even our opponents had to agree that science was on our side. But, the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) and EPC didn’t want to act too fast so they implemented a reduction in the application rate of liquid manure from factory farms onto bean ground, with the promise of coming back in five years to look at more science and public comment before making a final decision on the ban.
It’s five years later. The EPC will be considering the full ban at tomorrow’s meeting.
Five years later and the studies still say the same thing: Applying manure onto bean ground is a bad idea.
- It doesn’t make sense agronomically. Soybeans are nitrogen-fixing plants, which means that they can obtain their nitrogen (n) from the air rather than the soil. Because of this trait, soybeans show little or no yield response to applied n. Applying manure or fertilizers reduces the ability of legumes to fix nitrogen, thereby shutting down nature’s own non-polluting “fertilizer plant.” In the past, DNR staff has said that manure should not be applied to a crop that has the ability to fix its own nitrogen. Clearly, applying manure to ground going into soybeans does not make sense agronomically.
- It doesn’t make sense economically. Applying manure to fields that are being planted into soybeans is a waste. Manure contains valuable plant nutrients; however, when applied to legumes such as soybeans, the n component is being wasted. It makes far more economic sense to apply manure to a crop such as corn that responds to applied nitrogen. Manure is being treated as a waste rather than a nutrient when applied to soybeans. Applying manure to land going into soybeans is a waste of natural fertilizer and doesn’t make sense economically.
- Most importantly, it doesn’t make sense environmentally. Data shows that applying manure to soybeans can increase the likelihood of nitrate runoff into Iowa’s streams and rivers. Nitrogen, a potentially valuable nutrient, becomes a pollutant when excess nitrates flow into our waters. Iowa already has some of the dirtiest water in the nation, with over 572 on polluted waterways. Factory farms should not be allowed to apply manure in a way that threatens Iowa’s water quality.
That’s why we are urging the EPC to vote for a ban on the application of manure to fields that are intended for soybeans. We need sensible practices to clean up Iowa’s endangered waters. This ban is a step in the right direction and should be followed up with enforceable rules.
Take action today!
- Attend the EPC meeting tomorrow to make public comment. Tuesday, October 23 a team of CCI members will meet at the CCI office at 9:30. We’ll head to the EPC meeting together to make public comment and tell them to vote the right way. Public comment is at 10:30. Contact us if you can join us.
- Can’t make it? Please take three minutes to email your public comment to the EPC to urge them to move forward with this important clean water measure.
Thanks for all you do. We’ll give you a report back soon.
Click LIKE and TWEET if you think applying manure onto bean ground is a bad idea.