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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Using Liquid Manure with Newly Planted Corn and Soybeans

Most farmers in northwest Ohio finally got a planting window last week for corn and soybeans. Given the soil temperatures, crop emergence should only take a few days. Commercial manure applicators also made some progress on finally getting manure to fields.

Liquid manure can be applied to both corn and soybean fields after planting. There are some advantages of post manure application over applying manure before crops are planted. One advantage is corn or soybean planting not being delayed by the added soil moisture from the liquid manure. The second advantage is the liquid manure adding moisture to the soil that can enhance crop germination and emergence, especially if the weather turns off dry.

As soon as a field is planted, the manure can be applied. The seed is protected by an inch or more of soil. In university research the application of 10,000 gallons per acre of dairy manure and 5,000 gallons per acre of swine finishing manure has not negatively impacted crop germination and emergence on corn or soybeans. If the crops are emerging, manure can still be applied to corn but not soybeans. Newly emerging soybeans can easily be killed by the application of liquid manure. Corn can tolerate the drag hose through the V4 stage of growth without an issue. Once soybeans are more advanced and have more leaves, they can also tolerate liquid manure application and the potential damage from a drag hose but usually show some leaf burn.

When a drag hose is utilized, the drag hose applicator commonly applies the manure at an angle across the field. The field needs to be firm enough to support the drag hose to avoid scouring the soil surface and burying small corn plants or further burying seeds. Fields that are spring tilled are not good candidates for a drag hose. No-till fields, stale seed beds, fields with dead or alive cover crops, and tilled fields that have been packed with heavy spring rain are usually good fields for a drag hose.

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.