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Court says road-weight rules apply to manure spreaders

A state appeals court ruled this week that a manure spreader is not exempt from size-and-weight limits on Wisconsin highways.

In a 12-page ruling, the Third District Appellate Court in Wausau upheld fines of $1,600 against the Marshland Acres farm in Pepin County in far western Wisconsin. The farm was convicted of operating an overweight spreader on roadways while transferring manure among its fields.

Marshland Farms said the dry manure it produces on its farm should be considered an "implement of husbandry," and therefore exempt from weight limits - just like the current exemption for bulk liquid fertilizer.

The appellate court said the result of the case is unfortunate, but there's nothing the judges could do about it. They said the manure spreader's classification should be addressed by the Legislature and the governor - not the court system.