Emergency order from Delaware's Nutrient Management Commission allows fall staging of poultry litter
An emergency order issued by Delaware’s Nutrient Management Commission allows for the fall staging of poultry litter next month.
The order creates a 180-day extension for properly staged poultry litter in Delaware crop fields beginning November 1, 2022, allowing farmers to stage litter in the fields where it will be used to fertilize next spring.
“The take home message here is - as a result of the increased risk of high path (pathogenic) avian influenza (HPAI), the Commission is searching for a way to give farmers flexibility to take poultry litter that has a great commodity value to help grow their crops and put it in the field(s) until spring,” said Chris Brosch, administrator for Delaware’s Nutrient Management Program.
He says control orders issued last spring by Delaware’s Department of Agriculture severely restricted the movement and spreading of poultry litter because of an outbreak of avian flu in Kent and New Castle Counties.
Brosch says that caused some farmers hardship. This new order is meant to not only to help them, but also prevent further spread of avian flu - most recently detected in two backyard flocks in Kent County.
Properly staged litter must be stacked in six-foot tall pyramids and once the 180-day extension expires, the normal 90-day regulation will resume.
Brosch says there’s a proper method to properly stage litter.
“The piles that are formed in the field(s) must be away from environmentally risky things, like wells and/or drinking water. But also surface water, streams and ditches and roadways - to make sure that stormwater runoff isn’t going to affect those piles,” he said.
Brosch adds the piles need to be stacked in “windrows” - a long line of material heaped up by a dump truck or trailer or in a pyramid so piles have a triangular shape in the cross-section and shed rainwater to prevent litter from being carried away during a storm.