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.

Timing Manure Application to Avoid Neighbor Nuisances

dry manure spreader with horizontal beaters
Roughly half of all neighbor complaints of livestock odors originate from land application of manure. A weather forecast and a little knowledge of odor dilution can be a powerful tool for keeping your neighbors happy, or at least avoiding those irate phone calls. Picking the right weather conditions for land applying manure, may not improve your popularity in the community, but it can go along way with improving your community’s acceptance of livestock systems.

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Is Manure Irrigation Risky Business?

irrigating manure behind feedlot
Because of a growing concern about manure irrigation, the University of Wisconsin Extension assembled a workgroup to research the concerns. The workgroup included scientists, public health specialists, state agency experts, farmers, conservationists and others. Over the course of two years, the group gathered and studied the science of manure irrigation, which culminated in a report that contains findings, responses and recommendations. This article will review a few of their findings related to bacterial transport as well as highlight some of the reasons why a farmer might opt to apply manure via irrigation rather than other ways.

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Does Manure Benefit Crop Productivity? Environment?

dry manure spreader with vertical beaters
Manure is often viewed by many as an environmental liability. However, if manure is applied at rates equal to or less than the nitrogen (N) requirement of a crop, can manure produce environmental benefits over commercial fertilizer? This was the focus of an Asian research group which summarized the results of 141 published studies from Asia, Europe, and the U.S. comparing manure substitution for fertilizer. This article summarizes the “Take Home Messages” from this research paper.

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Effects of liquid manure injection into a winter rye cover crop: on-farm trials

Fall manure injection into cereal rye cover crop
Winter cereal rye planted as a cover crop has been shown effective in capturing nitrate before it leaches from the root zone. We conducted on-farm trials in central and southern Minnesota to determine if a rye cover crop would capture significant root-zone nitrate in the fall and spring but release it in time to maintain yield in the subsequent corn crop.

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Soil quality impacts of agricultural and municipal biosolids applications

Trophic levels of the soil food web (Source: nrcs.usda.gov)
Soil health management refers to the preservation and improvement in soil physical, chemical, and biological properties to maximize the productive capacity of soil. Cover crops and reduced tillage are promoted for improving soil health; however, soil amendments such as application of livestock manure and municipal biosolids have received less attention as a soil health improvement practice. A literature review, funded by the North Central Region Water Network and the Soil Health Institute, was conducted to summarize and discuss results of studies reporting chemical, physical, and biological soil properties from application of livestock manure, animal by-products (i.e. compost), and municipal biosolids and to identify further research needs.

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