Nitrogen Value of Spring Applied Manure

Sidedressing corn with liquid manure

Many Ohio livestock were unable to apply their normal amounts of manure last fall due to wet weather and a delayed harvest season. As a result, many producers need to haul manure this spring before the planting season.

The ammonium nitrogen and a portion of the organic nitrogen contained in spring applied manure are generally available for the growing crop. According to OSU Extension bulletin 604, 50 to 75 percent of the ammonia portion of the nitrogen could be captured if the manure is injected during application or incorporated within one day if surface applied. Approximately one-third of the organic portion of the manure nitrogen will be available regardless of whether the manure is incorporated or not.

Table 16, OSU Extension Bulletin 604

Ammonium N Available Organic N Available  Time of Application  Days Until Incorporated
 NH4 ON  Date  Days
50% 33% March - April less than 3
25% 33% March - April greater than  3
75% 33% April - June less than  1
25%  33% April - June  greater than 1

Ohio State University Extension has conducted manure research on growing crops for several years in an effort to make better use of the available nutrients.

The manure research trial in Table 1 was conducted over four years at the Northwest Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Hoytville location. The swine manure application rate was 5,000 gallons per acre to get 200 units of available nitrogen. The dairy manure application rate was 13,577 gallons per acre to get 130 units of nitrogen. The dairy treatments received additional nitrogen as incorporated 28% UAN just prior to the manure application to reach the 200 unit goal. The 28% UAN treatments also received 200 units of nitrogen.

Pre-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure or dairy manure were made within five days of corn planting. Post-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure and dairy manure were made at the V3 stage of corn growth. All manure applications were made with a 5,200 gallon tanker and Dietrich tool bar with the incorporated manure placed at a five inch depth. Surface manure was applied by using the Dietrich toolbar held just above ground level.

Table 1. 2011 - 2014 Manure on Corn Research Plots OARDC Northwest Branch

  2011 2012 2013 2014 4 year average
   bu/ac   bu/ac   bu/ac  bu/ac    bu/ac
Pre-emergent treatments          
Incorporated 28%UAN 138.1 111.5 184.6 145.1 144.8
Incorporated swine manure  191.1  128.6  191.8  146.5  164.7
Surface applied swine manure  180.9  109.5  175.7  137.2  150.8
Incorporated dairy manure + 28%UAN  190.1  132.0  185.4  166.1  168.4
Surface applied dairy manure + 28%UAN  184.5  97.0  166.0  141.9  147.4
Post-emergent treatments          
Incorporated 28%UAN  132.7  116.0  181.9  140.9  142.9
Incorporated swine manure  180.8  138.4  196.7  139.9  164.0
Surface applied swine manure  178.0  116.4  188.0  115.6  149.5
Incorporated dairy manure + 28%UAN  180.0  138.8  192.0  156.9  166.9
Surface applied dairy manure + 28%UAN  170.5  101.6  181.5  125.3  144.7
Zero nitrogen check  74.4  62.6  82.0  67.0  71.5

Corn sidedress plots involving the use of a drag hose to apply the manure were conducted in 2014 and will be again in 2015. A drag hose reduces concerns about soil compaction associated with applying manure to growing crops while greatly improving the efficiency of the application process.

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.