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Nitrogen- and phosphorus-based applications of cattle manure and compost for irrigated cereal silage

Olson, B.M., McKenzie, R.H., Larney, F.J., Bremer, E. (2010). Nitrogen- and phosphorus-based applications of cattle manure and compost for irrigated cereal silage, 90(4), 619-635.


Land application of livestock manure has caused concern about excess nutrients in soil and the potential risk to water quality. Application of manure based on cropnutrient requirements is considered a beneficial management practice. A field study was conducted to assess the feasibility and impact of crop-based N and P application rates of cattle (Bos taurus) manure and compost for crop productivity and accumulation of extractable soil N and P. The 6-yr (2002-2007), small-plot field study included 10 amendments: control (CONT), annual synthetic fertilizer N (F-N), annual synthetic fertilizer P (F-P), annual synthetic fertilizer N plus P (F-NP), annual N-based manure (M-N), annual P-based manure (M-P), three times the P-based manure once per 3 yr (M-3P), annual N-based compost (C-N), annual P-based compost (C-P), and three times the P-based compost once per 3 yr (C-3P). Amendments were arranged in randomized complete block design with five replicates and applied based on annual soil testing and nutrient recommendations. The test crops were triticale (-Triticosecale rimpaui Wittm.) and barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) silage managed under irrigation. Dry matter yields for CONT and F-P were significantly smaller than for the other treatments. There were generally no significant differences among the six organic and F-NP amendments. Apparent N recovery (ANR) was greatest for F-NP (45%) and F-N (41%), followed by the P-based organic amendments (26-34%), M-N (15%), and smallest for C-N (10%). Apparent P recovery (APR) was greatest for F-NP (30%) and smallest for M-N (6%) and C-N (4%). The APR for the P-based organic amendments ranged from 14 to 22%. Application of the amendments did not result in the accumulation of excess nitrate N in the soil profile. The M-N and C-N amendments applied for 6yr increased extractable P in the 0- to 0.15-m soil layer from 12 mg kg-1 to 121 and 156mg kg -1, respectively. Crop productivity and soil nutrient responses indicated that assumptions made for P and N availability in manure and compost were reasonably accurate. Based on the results, P-based application of manure or compost can achieve optimum crop yield and prevent nutrient build-up in soil. Under the conditions of this study, the amount of land required to accommodate P-based application would be five to seven times more for manure and eight to ten times more for compost compared with N-based application.

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