MOUNT VERNON — Reports of a smell of manure wafting into the city and in areas outside of town, are probably the result of farmers applying chicken or cattle manure to their fields.
Personnel at the city sewage treatment plant said no problems had occurred there, and they had noticed occasional “waves” of odor coming from the west or southwest, and had been getting some calls.
The Knox Soil & Water Conservation District said no problems had been reported to them.
Knox County Extension Educator John Barker said this is a time of year when farmers spread manure and there often “will be a bit of odor” that might linger a day or two.
Barker said farmers often have a limited window after harvest when they can apply manure or other fertilizer. The ground must be solid enough to support equipment, but not yet completely frozen. They may be trying to finish applications before the soil freezes too solidly.
The other window comes in the spring before planting.
Farmers that practice no-till techniques will apply the manure to the surface, while those who use more traditional tillage methods may work it into the soil.
He said if a farmer is doing a large application over two or three days, the odor may linger a little longer.
Barker noted that farmers in Knox County have been very good about following guidelines for keeping applications a safe distance from waterways, pointing to the continuing status of the Kokosing and Mohican Rivers as Scenic Rivers, since water quality is one of the standards needed for that designation.
Barker said what kind of manure is being applied depends on what the farmers have available. To the north of the city, it’s probably chicken, he said, although there are some beef lots in that area as well.
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