Pennsylvania Manure Application Setbacks and Requirements


Sensitive Area
Act 38 Nutrient Management Plans
Act 38 Nutrient Balance Sheets
DEP Manure Management Plans
Surface Waters
Stream, Lake, Pond
100 feet, or

35 feet with a permanent vegetative buffer
150 feet, or

100 feet with a P Index evaluation of the field, or

35 feet with a permanent vegetative buffer and with a P Index evaluation of the field
100 feet, or

50 feet, if current soil test <200 ppm P, no-till practices are used, and cover crops are planted when residue is removed, or

35 feet with a permanent vegetative buffer
Ground Waters Existing Open Sinkhole
100 feet, or

35 feet with a permanent vegetative buffer
100 feet, or

35 feet with a permanent vegetative buffer
100 feet
Private Drinking Well or Spring (active wells) 100 feet 100 feet 100 feet
Public Water Well
100 feet unless wellhead authority requires larger setback 100 feet unless wellhead authority requires larger setback 100 feet unless wellhead authority requires larger setback
Fall Fall Application
Minimum of 25% ground cover/residue or an established cover crop, or

Inject or incorporate manure within 5 days with minimum soil disturbance
Minimum of 25% ground cover/residue or an established cover crop, or

Inject or incorporate manure within 5 days with minimum soil disturbance
No specific requirements.

Strongly encouraged to follow the specific practices outlined for Act 38.
Winter Winter Application

For each type of plan, fields receiving winter applications must be listed in the plan, and winter is defined as:
  • December 15 – February 28, or
  • Ground is frozen 4 inches or deeper, or
  • Ground is snow covered.
Winter application is discouraged.

See “Maximum Rates” guidance below.
All setbacks above with the following additions:

100 feet from above-ground inlet to agricultural drainage system where surface flow is toward the inlet

100 feet from wetland identified on National Wetlands Inventory if that wetland is within a 100 year floodplain of an Exceptional Value stream and surface flow is toward the wetland

Minimum of 25% ground cover/residue or an established cover crop
All setbacks above with the following additions:

100 feet from above-ground inlet to agricultural drainage system where surface flow is toward the inlet

100 feet from wetland identified on National Wetlands Inventory if that wetland is within a 100 year floodplain of an Exceptional Value stream and surface flow is toward the wetland
Minimum of 25% ground cover/residue or an established cover crop
All setbacks above with the following additions:

100 feet from stream, lake or pond regardless of conservation practices (no 35 feet or 50 feet options).

100 feet from above-ground inlet to agricultural drainage system where surface flow is toward the inlet

No application on slopes greater than 15%. (A, B, C slopes acceptable)

Minimum of 25% ground cover/residue or an established cover crop
Channels Within the channel of a non-vegetated concentrated water flow area such as a swale, gully, or ditch. No specific requirements. • Application in these high-risk areas is strongly discouraged. No specific requirements. • Application in these high-risk areas is strongly discouraged. Never
Maximum Rates Maximum Application Amount during one pass (rates may be higher but ground must dry between passes). 9,000 gal/acre liquid manure 9,000 gal/acre liquid manure 9,000 gal/acre liquid manure

Maximum Total Winter Rates
  • 5,000 gal/acre liquid manure
  • 20 tons/acre solid non- poultry manure
  • 3 tons/acre dry poultry manure
Infield Manure Stacking Manure stacks that are placed in or near crop fields for an extended period of time.

Does not apply to:
  • Manure stacked on the operation farmstead, or
  • Manure stacked on improved waste stacking facilities, or
  • Manure composting sites, or
  • Mortality composting sites, or
  • Emergency related manure stacking.
Stacked manure must be land applied within 120 days or by the next growing season, whichever is less or covered with an impermeable cover within 3 weeks of stacking.

Manure stacks should not be located within 100 feet of streams, lakes, ponds, and active water wells.

Manure stacks should not be located within water concentration flow areas or on soils where the seasonal high water table is less than 3 feet.

Uncovered manure stacks should be cone or windrow shaped and not be located on excessively drained soils, above subsurface drain tiles, on slopes greater than 8%, and, when on slopes between 3 and 8% no more than 100 feet, from the top of the slope.

Manure stack sites must be rotated so that no site is used more than once every 4 years.
Stacked manure must be land applied within 120 days or by the next growing season, whichever is less or covered with an impermeable cover within 3 weeks of stacking.

Manure stacks should not be located within 100 feet of streams, lakes, ponds, and active water wells.

Manure stacks should not be located within water concentration flow areas or on soils where the seasonal high water table is less than 3 feet.

Uncovered manure stacks should be cone or windrow shaped and not be located on excessively drained soils, above subsurface drain tiles, on slopes greater than 8%, and, when on slopes between 3 and 8% no more than 100 feet, from the top of the slope.

Manure stack sites must be rotated so that no site is used more than once every 4 years.
Manure to be stacked longer than 120 days must be covered with an impermeable cover or stacked on a properly improved stacking pad.

Manure stacks should not be located within 100 feet of streams, lakes, ponds, and active water wells.

Manure stacks should not be located in water concentration flow areas, on slopes greater than 8%, and no more than 100 feet from the top of the slope, and where possible, direct upslope water away from the stacking area.

Manure stacks must be dry enough to maintain a stack height of at least 4 feet.

Manure stack sites must be rotated so that no site is used every year.

Note: All setbacks and infield manure stacking sites must be accurately delineated on the farm map as required by each plan type.

October 2014

Contact Information

Robert Meinen
  • Senior Extension Associate
Phone: 814-865-5986
Jerry Martin
  • Senior Extension Associate
Phone: 717-394-6851

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Pennsylvania Manure Application Setbacks and Requirements

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