Improved runoff risk tool goes live

To optimize efforts and minimize runoff, Wisconsin farmers are encouraged to turn to an improved version of the state’s Runoff Risk Advisory before planning to spread manure.

The new runoff forecast, which went live Friday, provides maps in 4-kilometer grids that will show the local short-term runoff risk for daily application planning. Unlike the previous version, which analyzed data by watershed basins, the new version provides data on a finer scale and lets farmers examine conditions close to home.

Using such factors as soil moisture, precipitation and temperature forecasts, snow cover and landscape characteristics to make its predictions, the forecast is updated twice daily by the National Weather Service, using the same computer models used to forecast floods.

The new version will also provide soil temperatures and saturation, based on computer models. It will make it easier to find previous day snapshots — a tool that farmers often use to document adherence to their nutrient management plans.

The runoff risk forecast, which is designed to be a tool to help farmers make informed decisions, can be found at