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Farmers can now use a new version of Wisconsin’s Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast (RRAF) that gives them a much more localized look at the threat of runoff before they plan to spread manure.

The runoff forecast, available at http://www.manureadvisorysystem.wi.gov/, provides maps in 4-kilometer grids that will show the local short-term runoff risk for daily application planning. The first version of the RRAF provided all this data by watershed basins. The new version provides data on a finer scale and lets farmers look at conditions close to home.

The Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast uses factors including soil moisture, precipitation and temperature forecasts, snow cover, and landscape characteristics to make its predictions. It is updated twice daily by the National Weather Service, using the same computer models used to forecast floods.

In addition to the precipitation forecast, the new version will also provide soil temperatures and saturation, based on computer models. And it will make it easier to find previous day snapshots, a tool that farmers often use to document adherence to their nutrient management plans.

When farmers open the RRAF, they will see a statewide map. By clicking on the map, they will be able to zoom in on their areas. There will also be a link to a video tutorial to show them how to use the tool.

The runoff risk forecast does not replace nutrient management planning or emergency planning in case of manure spills. It is a tool to help farmers make informed decisions.

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