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Assessing runoff risk – Audio

Risk assessment tool aids manure management
Laura Good, Associate Scientist
Department of Soil Science
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (608) 262-9894

Rick Wayne, Senior Systems Programmer
Department of Soil Science
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Phone (608) 265-3288


3:02 – Total Time

0:18 – What the program is
0:36 – Why the tool is important
0:56 – How the program works
1:34 – How a farmer uses the tool
1:56 – Weather Service models
2:21 – Mobile app web browser friendly
2:38 – Where to get more information
2:52 – Lead out


Sevie Kenyon: Can you start off by telling me what this program is that you have?

Rick Wayne: Well it’s a website that allows farmers and anybody else like manure haulers to predict a few days into the future whether or not the manure they spread on the landscape is likely to runoff into the water-ways or not.

Sevie Kenyon: Rick can you explain to us why that’s important? 

Rick Wayne: Manure is a resource, it’s a really good fertilizer, and of course people that have cows and pigs have to get rid of it. And it’s also a potential pollutant. So we want to have farmers be able to use it as much as they can without it winding up in the streams and killing fish.

Sevie Kenyon: Laura can you describe for us how this works?

Laura Good: This works by the farmer looking at a website with a map of Wisconsin and the map shows the risk of runoff within the next several days. And during the winter season when snow and frozen soils are present it shows the likelihood of runoff from snowmelt, and during the rest of the year it shows a probability of runoff from rainfall and storm events we’re getting in a high, medium, or low probability of runoff across the basin.

Sevie Kenyon: Laura can you perhaps give us an example of how a farmer might use this?

Laura Good: If a livestock producer has manure that they need to recycle on cropland, on any given day they can look at the map and decide whether it’s a good day or not to spread or whether there’s going to be better days coming up in the future that maybe they should wait a couple of days.

Sevie Kenyon: Rick describe for us how your advisory system works.

Rick Wayne: The National Weather Service has a river flood forecasting system that takes into account all sorts of things about the landscape and weather forecasts and all the rest. The results of that come to us three times a day and we apply or own calculations to it and derive a runoff risk figure of merit, and that’s what we put up on the website.

Sevie Kenyon: Rick, tell us about the technology that farmers can use here.

Rick Wayne: The farmers, all they need is a web browser, whether it’s on a computer, or even on a phone, we have a special mobile access site that detects where you are, and then gives you the forecast for whatever basin you happen to be standing in.

Sevie Kenyon: Laura where can people go for more information about the system?

Laura Good: Just Google “manure advisory system” and you’ll get to the home page and there’ll be a link to the runoff risk advisory forecast. And there’ll also be a link for mobile devices. 

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Laura Good and Rick Wayne, Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin Extension and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin, and I am Sevie Kenyon.