Welcome to Maryland's Manure Resources Page

manure happens
For centuries, farmers have recognized the value of manure as a natural crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, the value of manure as an alternative energy source continues to gain momentum, even as more and more farmers are realizing the benefits of recycling manure vs. purchasing commercial fertilizer products. This page contains valuable information for:

  • Citizens who want to learn about how farmers manage manure resources.
  • Farmers who are considering switching to manure as a crop fertilizer; and
  • Farmers who are already recycling manure on their fields as a valuable nutrient source.
If you live near a working farm, spring breezes may carry the unmistakable odor of manure. That's because farmers have begun spreading manure on fields in preparation for planting. To protect local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland prohibits farmers from spreading manure in winter. March 1 is the first opportunity for farmers to recycle manure generated over the winter as a valuable crop fertilizer. It doesn't smell pretty, but it goes with the territory. The good news is the smell usually goes away in a day or two. Click here to learn more.
manure pileGOOD FARM MANAGEMENT is not always easy to spot. Maryland requires farmers to stockpile poultry manure over the winter to conserve its valuable nutrients and protect the Chesapeake Bay from runoff. Stockpiles are placed on high ground and away from streams, roads and neighbors. They are shaped to "crust over" and shed water when exposed to rain and snow. This protects manure from rainwater runoff until it can be safely recycled as a crop fertilizer in the spring. Don't let looks deceive you. Click here to see how poultry farmers manage manure resources.

cows FARMERS HAVE RECYCLED MANURE as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, farmers take recycling to the next level by using the latest environmental practices to prevent manure from washing into waterways. Poultry and livestock farmers store manure in protective structures until it's safe to fertilize their fields. If soil tests show that their fields are over-enriched, they haul the manure to other farmers to recycle following strict environmental guidelines. It's how we recycle on the farm. For more information on Maryland's environmental protections for manure, click here.

cows and roosterMANURE IS HAPPENING AND IT'S OK. Manure is a fact of life on the farm and an important element in the food production process. Farmers have long recognized the benefits of manure as a crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Today, farmers still use manure to grow their crops while using the latest environmental practices to protect water quality. Click here for more information.

pile of manure with lightbulbWe Have A Brighter Idea
New technology is helping us to see manure in a whole new light as we capitalize on its potential as a renewable energy source and look at new utilization and management options. Maryland is investing in innovative manure management technologies, including manure-to-energy projects that turn chicken manure into power and help farmers find new uses for this abundant natural resource. Four new manure-to-energy projects are already in the works. In FY 2015, MDA invested $3 million in projects that hold promise and demonstrate innovative manure management technologies. Projects that produce energy will help Maryland meet its commitment to use renewable sources for 20 percent of its energy by 2025. Click here for information on grants for innovative technologies for managing animal manure.

strike pay dirt with manure
Farmers: If you want to improve your soil, increase yields and save on commercial fertilizer costs, why not switch to manure? Livestock and poultry manure make an excellent crop fertilizer and soil conditioner. Manure contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium plus a host of micro-nutrients you'd pay more for in commercial fertilizer products. As an added bonus, manure’s high organic content builds soil and promotes water and nutrient retention. Grants to haul and incorporate manure into your fields are available along with tax breaks for qualifying equipment. Call or visit your Soil Conservation District for free assistance in making the switch. Join Maryland's Manure Matching Service which connects farmers who have excess manure with nearby farmers or alternative use projects that can use this valuable resource. Scroll down the links at right under Manure Resources. 
baby chicks
ALREADY USING MANURE? Technical and financial resources are available to farmers who use manure to fertilize their fields. Participation in financial assistance programs requires compliance with all Maryland nutrient management regulations. Check out the links at right listed under Manure Regulations and Resources. Free technical assistance is always just a phone call away at your local Soil Conservation District.