Manure Regulations - Recordkeeping

Records allow producers to document manure application and related activities. Just as one keeps track of cash flow in a business operation, it is necessary to know where nutrients are coming from and going to in order to maximize the bottom line. Records can be used to refine estimates such as the quantity of manure produced, the nutrient contents of manure, or rates of soil phosphorus change. Finally, documenting activities is critical to a nutrient management plan.

Title 130 requires a livestock producer to maintain records documenting implementation of a crop nutrient management plan and other facility maintenance activities. Records must be kept for five years and be available to NDEE field inspectors, who must verify reasonable management of nitrogen. Inspectors may ask to see records of current and past manure application rates, manure analysis reports, maps of land application, soil tests, equipment application rate calibrations, as well as a record of land application training.

Records Required of Permitted AFOs
calendar front page
The Nutrient Management Record Keeping Calendar is a publication developed by Nebraska Extension through industry sponsorship to make recordkeeping easy and inexpensive for all in the livestock industry.

A permitted AFO needs to conduct routine inspections of the production area, irrigation system, and land application-related activities. Producers are encouraged to develop checklists of items to assist in completing these inspections and to provide a means of recording the results of those inspections. Records are also required for documenting the multiple activities within a CAFO. One such checklist is the Nutrient Management Record Keeping Calendar available from Nebraska Extension.

The owners or authorized representatives of animal feeding operations, which have livestock waste control facilities, but which are not CAFOs shall, at a minimum:

  • inspect the livestock waste control facilities at least once a month; and
  • inspect any irrigation distribution system used for land application of animal manures and the water source protection equipment prior to operation, and monitor periodically while in use to ensure that the system and equipment operate as intended.
What Records Should be Kept?
Land Application Records

Records must be kept that show which tracts of land had manure applied. The records should indicate date of application, start and stop times, the field, number of loads applied to that field, and approximately the number of acres to which manure was applied (not the total field size). Copies of these documents and maps should be carried to the field so information can be recorded during application before details are forgotten.

Example Application Record Example Setback Areas Record Example Stockpile Locations Record Example P-Index Record

Manure Transfer Records

If manure is transferred to a third party, such as a crop producer who loads and hauls manure off the production site, then records of the manure transfers must be kept. These records should show when, where, and how much manure was transferred. Transfer records are just as important as manure application records.

Example Transfer Record

Groundwater Monitoring Data

After inspection by NDEE officials, some livestock operations may be required to install groundwater monitoring wells that must be sampled quarterly. The water samples may only be collected by a certified well sampler or by the well owner. These samples should be sent to a laboratory and the the results sent to NDEE. Water samples must be analyzed for nitrate, chloride, and ammonia.

Example Groundwater and Irrigation Water Record

Storage and Precipitation Logs
Precipitation records are required for all facilities except underbarn pits.
Precipitation records are required for all facilities except underbarn pits.

Livestock operators who have liquid storage structures must have pond level logs that record the facility, date, and depth of pond level. Operators with open-lot holding ponds must also keep these logs to comply with NDEE and federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements.

If your livestock waste control facility (LWCF) does not have a roof or cover, and it captures rainwater or runoff water, then rainfall records should be kept. Precipitation records are required for all facilities except underbarn pits. Should the structure overflow due to a rain event, NDEE and EPA will request these records. Handwritten records of rainfall are adequate. Rainfall records (daily precipitation logs) are needed to verify compliance with NPDES permit requirements.

Managing liquid manure storages during chronic wet periods or after a 25-year, 24-hour storm can be challenging. Good records including:

  • past pond levels
  • local rainfall
  • discharges (including pumping times, rates and pond levels)
  • sites receiving effluent

are particularly important during these periods. A wet weather manure storage management guidance document is available for download. If you have a discharge, make sure that you notify the proper authorities in a timely manner (see discharge section below).

Example Precipitation and Manure Storage Record

Land Application Training

The NDEE requires that all persons issued a state operating permit will have to be certified and receive ongoing training. A record of meeting this requirement should be kept.

Example Training Record

Manure Sample Analysis

Manure samples should be taken every time manure is applied. Manure samples should be analyzed for ammonium nitrogen, total nitrogen, and phosphorus. If a phosphorus-based strategy is used, then the manure sample reports must report total phosphorus as well. Manure analysis samples are used to plan proper application rates. Consequently, an inspector will examine how the manure samples were used to plan application rates for each year.

Example Manure Sample Record

Soil Test Reports

Records of soil analysis for land that receives manure must be kept. Soil must be sampled at least once in the 5 years prior to applying manure.

Example Soil Sample Record

Crop Yields

When manure applications have been made on fields, the crop yields should be recorded. The yield information will allow the producer to account for nutrients removed by the crop.

Example Crop Record

Operation and Maintenance Records
Inspect all LWCFs and record any major maintenance activities.
Inspect all LWCFs and record any major maintenance activities.

The NDEE requires that documentation be available for any major maintenance activity done to a LWCF. An example of a major maintenance activity is the repair of a liner due to wind erosion. Records should also document regular inspections of required freeboard, slumps , and weak soil on the outside of the berms, rodent activity, wind erosion, inlet pipe erosion, or trees and weeds penetrating the liner. Any evidence of seepage on the outside of the berms is an indication that a catastrophic failure is possible.

Example Equipment Maintenance Record Example Equipment Calibration Record

Discharge Notification

A discharge is prohibited from a LWCF unless the discharge is to prevent facility failure and no feasible alternative exist. NDEE must be notified of the discharge, and the discharge must be conducted in a manure that minimizes adverse impacts to the environment.

NDEE realizes that even though systems are designed to have zero discharge, there are some circumstances where a discharge is inevitable or impossible to prevent. It is the producer's responsibility to notify NDEE verbally within 24 hours of becoming aware of a discharge, for for the need to request a discharge. The phone number to call is 402-471-4239. Upon verbal notification, NDEE will mail a form to be filled out detailing the situation and the actions taken. This report must be returned within five (5) days of the incident. Failure to report a discharge could result in enforcement action and criminal prosecution. Producers should maintain all communications and correspondence related to discharges for the life of the facility.

Example Discharge Record

Emergency Response Report

The purpose of the Emergency Response Report is to outline action steps that have been followed during emergencies and discharges. Keep this posted and make sure employees are aware of the proper steps to follow in the unlikely event an emergency or discharge occurs. If an emergency or discharge occurs, notify NDEE and document the actions taken.

Regulations change with time. Future changes in regulation may require additional or different formats for needed information. Be aware of changes that will impact your operation and keep your records current for inspections.

Part I of Regulations | Part II - Recordkeeping | Complete the Quiz



Land Application Training Modules


What Are Some of the Things I Will Learn?

  • Regulations as they relate to manure
  • How to manage manure nitrogen
  • In-depth discussion of recordkeeping and reporting needs
  • Manure and soil sampling
  • Application equipment calibration
  • The 2012 Nebraska P-Index
  • More about Protecting Herd Health with Biosecurity

How Can I Get Credit for This Training?

  • Quizzes are available at the end of each module. You must be registered to complete the quizzes.

  • Initial Training - Those permitted operations that have never taken land application training (either live, online, or as home study) must complete all modules. After all quizzes have been passed, you will be able to print a certificate of completion. Alternatively, there is a final exam that may be taken to test out of all modules. It may only be taken once and must be completed within 75 minutes. If failed or not completed in time, each module must be passed individually. The final exam is waived if all modules have been successfully completed.

  • Recertification Training - For those that have completed the land application training previously, in addition to completing the regulations module and quiz, you may choose 3 modules with quizzes to complete. After you have passed all 4 quizzes, you will be able to print a certificate of completion. Alternatively, there is a final exam that may be taken to test out of all modules. It may only be taken once and must be completed within 75 minutes. If failed or not completed in time, each module must be passed individually. The final exam is waived if all modules have been successfully completed.
  • You will receive your certificate by email. Once you receive your certificate, print one for your own records. Within a few days, you will receive a letter by email containing NDEE acknowledgement of your completion of the course. Please save this in your records.

Who Will Benefit from the Training?

  • All who are interested in livestock manure management are welcome to take the training.
  • Farm staff and advisors implementing farm's permit or nutrient plan are welcome and encouraged to participate. Consider making this part of your staff's training.
  • Recently permitted operations that have not completed the initial Land Application Training, and are required by NDEE to have manure management training should pass all modules in the Land Application Training or pass the final exam.
  • Additional manure management training is required by NDEE every 5 years for permitted operations. Recertification can be obtained by completing the regulations module and 3 additional modules and passing the corresponding quizzes or by passing the final exam.
  • If you are uncertain of your certification status, contact Leslie Johnson (UNL) at 402-584-3818 or Lindsey Roark (NDEE) at 402-471-4239.

What Will it Cost?

  • There is no cost for the educational modules on the university website.
  • The only fee is for registration to complete the quizzing or exam and receive a certificate. That registration fee is $75 per participant for either initial or recertification training.

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