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 article summarizes the "Take Home Messages" from a paper summarizing 141 studies relative to the question.
Manure has value. That value may result from improvements in soil quality, increases in yield, and replacement of commercial nutrient required for crop production. This article focuses on the economic benefits of manure.
By improving soil properties manure applications can help increase water infiltration and reduce soil erosion when used in combination with other soil conservation practices. Care needs to be taken, however, in how often and how much manure is applied to avoid P loss in runoff and erosion.
Interested in applying manure to wheat to meet phosphorus and nitrogen needs? This article outlines factors to consider and recommendations for manure and soil sampling, application method, and timing of application to get the highest return from your manure.
Researchers compare differences between soils fertilized with three types of manure versus commercial products and note four benefits, including an increase in water-stable large macro-aggregates that hold P differently.
Manure offers crop production wins by providing valuable nutrients and helping build soil organic matter and an active soil microbial community. Soils with organic matter levels on the low end of their typical range can benefit the most from manure applications that do not exceed the crop’s nitrogen requirements. Organic matter also improves soil aggregates which in turn helps increase infiltration of precipitation and irrigation water, improves water-holding capacity of the soil, and reduces runoff and erosion. Soils with these characteristics experience greater drought tolerance.
Land application of manure can create a win-win scenario for your farm by providing valuable crop nutrients while helping build soil organic matter. Learn more about the benefits of replacing commercial fertilizer with manure and how to get the most value when integrating an application into your soil nutrient plan.