University of Vermont

Soil Nutrient and Manure Research at The University of Vermont Yield and water quality effects of sidedressed liquid dairy manure on corn

Bill Jokela, Sid Bosworth, and Don Meals..

Duration: 1993-1995

Animal manure is an important source of crop nutrients on livestock farms, but it can also contribute to water quality problems. We conducted a 2-yr field study in Chittenden County to evaluate the effects of different application methods for liquid dairy manure on corn silage yields, potential for nitrate leaching, and loss of phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in surface runoff. Manure was applied either pre-plant with disk incorporation (8000 gal/acre) or at sidedress (5500 gal/acre; 12 to 18-inch plant height), either directly incorporated with spreader-mounted s-tine cultivators or surface applied. In the first year, while there were strong trends, there were no statistically significant differences in yields among treatments; however, the surface sidedressed manure yielded approximately the same as the no N control, suggesting substantial loss of N via ammonia volatilization. In the second year, all manure or fertilizer treatments yielded considerably more than the control. The most marked water quality effect was a dramatic reduction in runoff volume from the cultivated sidedress manure treatment, presumably because of increased infiltration due to cultivation.  This resulted in a reduction in cumulative total P runoff loss of 60 to over 90% during the mid-summer to fall period of both years. Nitrate leaching potential, as indicated by soil sampling to four feet, appeared to be greatest in the pre-plant broadcast manure and fertilizer N treatment, while that of the sidedress cultivated manure was only slightly greater than the control.

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Last modified May 26 2004 12:55 PM

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