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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVEMENT OF DAIRY FORAGE AND MANURE MANAGEMENT TO REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL RISK Title: Sidedressed dairy manure effects on corn yield and nitrate leaching potential

Authors
item JOKELA, WILLIAM
item Bowsorth, Sidney -
item Rankin, John -

Submitted to: Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 24, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Application of livestock manure to an annual crop such as corn is typically limited to relatively short time periods in the fall after harvest or in the spring before planting. Direct incorporation or injection into a growing corn crop at sidedress time offers another window of opportunity for manure application, one that avoids planting delays associated with spring application and may reduce potential for nitrate leaching. We established a 2-year field study in northwestern Vermont to compare sidedressed liquid dairy manure, either directly incorporated with spreader-mounted S-tine cultivators or surface applied, to pre-plant incorporated manure and sidedressed fertilizer nitrogen. Corn silage yields for sidedress incorporated manure were equal to those from pre-plant manure or sidedress fertilizer nitrogen and greater than yields without manure or fertilizer nitrogen. Residual nitrate-nitrogen in the 4-foot soil profile was highest from pre-plant manure and sidedress fertilizer nitrogen. Over-winter decreases in profile nitrate were 2 to 3 times greater from fertilizer nitrogen than from manure treatments, suggesting higher leaching or denitrification losses. These results showed that sidedressed manure can supply adequate nitrogen to meet the needs of a corn silage crop and may reduce excess residual nitrate-nitrogen and potential for leaching or denitrification nitrogen losses.

Technical Abstract: Application of livestock manure to an annual crop such as corn is typically limited to relatively short time periods in the fall after harvest or in the spring before planting. Direct incorporation or injection into a growing corn crop at sidedress time offers another window of time for manure application, one that avoids planting delays associated with spring application and may reduce potential for nitrate leaching. We established a 2-year field study in northwestern Vermont to compare sidedressed liquid dairy manure, either directly incorporated with spreader-mounted S-tine cultivators (SD-Incorp) or surface-applied (SD-Surf), to pre-plant incorporated manure (PP-Incorp) and sidedressed fertilizer N (SD-FertN) to assess effects on corn silage yields, nitrogen (N) uptake, and potential for nitrate leaching. The PP-Incorp manure N rate was higher than SD (212 vs 150 kg/ha) in Year 1, but similar (270 and 256 kg/ha) in Year 2. In Year 1, N uptake for PP and SD-Incorp was similar and greater than SD-Surf and control (no manure or additional fertilizer N); corn silage yields showed similar but nonsignificant trends. In Year 2, yield for SD-Incorp was equal to other manure and fertilizer N treatments and greater than control; effects on N uptake were similar except that PP-Incorp was greater than SD manure. Post-harvest residual NO3-N in the 1.2-m soil profile was highest in PP-Incorp and SD-NFert treatments; over-winter decreases in profile NO3-N were 2 to 3 times greater from SD-NFert than from manure treatments, suggesting higher leaching or denitrification losses. These results showed that sidedressed manure can supply adequate N to meet the needs of a corn silage crop and may reduce excess residual NO3-N and potential for leaching or denitrification N losses.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
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