Manure Nutrient Management

Animal Manure Management December 20, 2016 Print Friendly and PDF

livestock and poultry environmental learning center logo with cow, pig, and chicken sillhouettes over a map of the U.S. with three circling arrowsManure has long been utilized as a fertilizer for plants and a desirable soil amendment. Even with the increasing interest in utilizing manure for energy uses, most systems still eventually return some or all of the manure to the land as a fertilizer. More on land application of manure....

Environmental Impacts & Benefits of Manure Application

When managed properly, the nutrients in manure can be beneficial for soils and plants. When applied at rates higher than what plants can use, the nitrogen (especially nitrate) and phosphorus in manure can lead to ground and surface water impairment. 

Other areas that should be monitored for potential impacts of manure include:

Waste to Worth Conference Proceedings about Nitrogen

Watershed N Reduction Tool
Risk Management in Puget Sound
Feedlot Manure Economics Tools
Swine Manure Timing & Subsurface Drainage

Manure Nutrient Planning

The basis of manure nutrient management is the "nutrient management plan" or NMP. The NMP offers step by step guidance for several tasks including manure testing, calibrating application equipment, estimating nutrient availability, and calculating an appropriate manure application rate  among other things. After the plan is developed, it must be implemented and adapted as the need arises. Many aspects of an NMP will be influenced by state-specific factors. Many tools and resources exist for developing an NMP. Additional considerations should be recognized when applying manure to fruit and vegetable crops. Related:

As with any planning process, checks must be in place to determine if the plan is working. Some examples of tools that can help gauge if NMPs are improving nutrient use efficiency are the whole farm nutrient balance (WFNB) and snap-shot assessments [dairy farms]. Related: Swine WFNB Tools

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Phosphorus and Manure Land Application

When managing land-applied manure phosphorus (P), it is important to recognize the potential for runoff and the likelihood of reaching water. A group of phosphorus experts has created a series of fact sheets on P management. Below are some proceedings papers from the 2013 "Waste to Worth" conference that discuss phosphorus and its management.

Waste to Worth Conference Proceedings About Phosphorus
Global Supply of P EPA Perspective P Index Review
Chitosan + Poultry Litter Illinois River P Levels Chesapeake Manure to Energy
Feedlot Manure Economics Tools Drainage Water P Removal Computer Models & Phosphorus Management
Alternative Litter Storage    

Manure Application to Legumes

Manure Nutrient Management Webcasts and Videos

Webcast Presentations


Research Summaries

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