Land Application

Agricultural Production Animal Manure Management

Land Application

With increasing regulations, the livestock producer needs to understand the scientific principles that affect manure transformations and how to use these principles to manage the manure for maximum fertilizer value with minimal environmental impact. Improved land application of manure is one part of the solution, but we suggest that the producer evaluate the quantity of nutrients arriving on the farm as feed, animals, and fertilizer compared to the total that is exported.

Evaluating Soil Health

Soil health is defined as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. Typically, soil health includes three types of soil characteristics: biological, physical, and chemical. Although sometimes used interchangeably, soil quality generally refers to soil chemical and physical properties.

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Manure Value

Manure is often an under-valued resource. When well-managed and properly applied, it reaps many benefits. The benefits can be seen in the photo to the left, but are not captured in much of the field because of errors in application.

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Soil Biological Life

While tillage has been used to prepare a seedbed, it also destroys the existing root structures in the soil and some of the soil's biological life. Without this biological life, soil structure suffers and many of the nutrients are not as available for crop uptake.

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Example: Estimating Manure Phosphorus Application Rates

The Nebraska P-Index developed by the University of Nebraska (2006) will be used for analysis. The P Index risk value is the sum of the erosion and runoff components. The interpretation of risk and recommended manure application risk fall into one of four levels: low, medium, high, and very high.

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Estimating Manure P App Rates

Manure phosphorus application rates should be estimated. These estimates should be based upon the most recently available information for manure nutrient concentration (manure sample) and the estimate of crop nutrient needs. Since this information is not typically available at the time of a permit application, estimating manure phosphorus application rates as part of a permit is, at best, an educated guess made without essential information.

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