Replacing Commercial Sidedress Nitrogen with Liquid Livestock Manure on Emerged Corn

Animal Manure Management May 17, 2017 Print Friendly and PDF
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Purpose

Livestock producers can more fully utilize the nutrients in livestock manure to reduce purchased fertilizer costs if they can apply manure when crops need the nutrients. Better capturing manure nutrients can reduce phosphorus and nitrogen losses into surface water bodies. To help decrease the incidences of harmful algae blooms in the Western Basin of Lake Erie, Ohio State University (OSU) Extension research has sought to develop an in-season window to apply manure to emerged corn. By incorporating livestock manure as a sidedress nitrogen fertilizer for corn, nutrients are less exposed to movement by water and a greater percent of the nitrogen is utilized by the growing corn crop.

Surveys of livestock farmers, who attended OSU Extension field days in western Ohio reveal approximately 49% of livestock manure is applied in the months of October, November, and December following crop harvest. Typically, there is no growing crop at that time of year to capture the available nitrogen in the manure. The surveys also reveal only 19% of manure is applied in the months of April, May and June. Ohio has about 2.5 billion gallons of liquid dairy manure and almost one billion gallons of liquid swine manure needing applied to farm fields each year.

What did we do?

Ohio State University conducted replicated small-plot research from 2012 to 2016 using swine and dairy manure as sidedress nitrogen sources compared to incorporated 28% Urea Ammonium Nitrate (UAN) on pre-emergent and post-emergent corn. The nitrogen in manure is primarily in two forms; ammonium and organic. Ammonium nitrogen is readily available to a growing crop. Organic nitrogen has to undergo a mineralization process for a percentage of the nitrogen to eventually be released in the ammonium form each crop season.

More than 45 on-farm plots with livestock producers were also completed over five seasons using field sized replicated plots. Liquid swine, dairy, and beef manure were applied to corn in the V2 to V4 stage of growth using a 5,250 gallon Balzer tanker and six-row Dietrich manure injection toolbar. The flotation tires on the tanker were replaced with rims and narrow tires allowing the tanker to follow the tractor down the rows of corn. In replicated plots, the liquid manures produced similar yields to commercial fertilizer when applied at similar nitrogen fertilizer amounts.

OSU Extension also conducted swine finishing manure drag hose plots with a pork producer where manure was incorporated into emerged corn at the V2 to V3 stage of growth and compared to incorporated 28%UAN. The manure application rate was approximately 6,500 gallons per acre using a seven-shank rotary injector toolbar. The drag hose was six inches in diameter and the pumping rate was 1,300 gallons per minute. The farmer planted the fields on a 45 degree angle to accommodate the drag hose manure application.

What have we learned?

Below are five years of liquid manure side-dress research on corn plots at the Northwest Station of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. In these research plots liquid swine and liquid dairy manure were used in pre-emergent and post-emergent plots and compared with incorporated 28%UAN. Manure was applied to the pre-emergent plots each season within three days of planting. Manure was applied to the post-emergent plots at the V3 stage of corn growth. The manure was applied to a depth of approximately five inches using a 1,250 gallon manure tanker with Dietrich manure injection sweeps and covering wheels.

For these plots, the swine finishing manure application rate was 5,000 gallons per acre to provide 200 pounds of available nitrogen. The dairy pond manure application rate was 13,500 gallons per acre (140 pounds of available nitrogen) plus 20 gallons of 28% UAN nitrogen applied just ahead of the manure for a total of 200 pounds of nitrogen. The 28%UAN treatments also received 200 pounds of nitrogen per acre each year.

Chart 1. OARDC manure side-dress plot results

2012-2016 OARDC Manure Sidedress Yields; bushels per acre

The long-range goal of Ohio State University Extension’s manure application research is to utilize a drag hose to incorporate liquid manure of any species into corn from the date of planting up to the V4 stage of growth. Three years of drag hose manure side-dress plots in Darke County indicate this manure application method has great potential. Applying manure to a growing crop can capture more of the manure nutrients than applying manure without a crop in the field.

Chart 2. Drag hose research yields on corn in Darke County, Ohio

Year

Swine manure

(bu/acre)

28%UAN (bu/acre)

2016

222

216

2015

154

121

2014

204

204

In addition to the three crop seasons of drag hose sidedress of corn in Darke County, we also have three years of drag hose damage research from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Northwest Station near Hoytville. Based on this research, we believe we can use a drag hose across emerged corn through the V3 stage without a loss of yield and probably through the V4 stage if early season conditions are drier than normal.

Chart 3. 2014-2016 OARDC drag hose damage yield losses in corn

Corn growth stage

Plant population

2014

Yield

bu/acre

2014

Plant population

2015

Yield

bu/acre

2015

Plant population

2016

Yield

bu/acre

2016

3-year

population

average

3-year

average

bu/acre

No drag hose

30,166

145.1

31,850

167.2

28,625

145.1

30,214

152.5

V1

29,660

154.3

31,750

166.1

28,625

149.5

30,012

155.4

V2

30,166

157.9

32,000

165.3

28,500

141.2

30,222

154.8

V3

28,933

153.9

31,375

172.3

29,250

144.4

29,853

156.9

V4

29,264

149.7

23,500

123.5

27,500

152.1

26,755

141.8

V5

15,366

109.8

-------

------

16,000

126.3

15,683*

118.0*

*Indicates only two years of data

Future Plans    

Funds are being solicited to purchase 12-row drag hose manure incorporation toolbars to have available to livestock producers and commercial manure applicators to use in Ohio for the 2017 crop season and beyond. Thanks to donations from the Columbus Foundation, Ohio Farm Bureau, Dietrich Inc., Cooper Farms, Hord Livestock, Conservation Action Project, and Bazooka Inc. we have almost secured the funds to build two toolbars.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation      

Glen Arnold, Associate Professor & Field Specialist Manure Nutrient Management Application, The Ohio State University

Corresponding author email

Arnold.2@osu.edu

Other authors   

Eric Richer, Sam Custer, Sarah Noggle, Jeff Stachler, Jason Hartschuh, Amanda Douridas

Additional information             

Additional on-farm manure plot research results are available at www.agcrops.edu

YouTubes of OSU Extension manure application to emerged corn can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7jUsQNGM8fCHjbZUdT9pKw

Acknowledgements       

Thanks to the Ohio Environmental Education Fund, Ohio Pork Producers Council, Ohio Dairy Research Fund, Ohio Corn Marketing Board, Ag Credit, Farm Credit Services, Ohio Soybean Council, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and the Conservation Tillage Conference for funding support.

 

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.