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Sidedressing manure into corn continues to have promising results

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. Applying manure to growing crops can boost yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers or commercial manure applicators another window of time to apply manure to farm fields.

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 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

Manure Sidedress of Corn Research Trial – Four Year Summary

2011

2012

2013

2014

4-year average

Yield bu/ac

Yield bu/ac

Yield bu/ac

Yield bu/ac

Yield

bu/ac

Pre-emergent treatments

 

 

 

 

 

Incorporated 28% UAN

138.1

111.5

184.6

145.1

144.8

Incorporated swine manure

191.9

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

 

Stand populations were approximately 30,000 plants per acre across all treatments. The manure did not appear to reduce the plot stands in any year. The 2011, 2012 and 2014 growing seasons experienced moderate to severe drought conditions and the crop in the manure treatments appeared to benefit from the moisture contained in the manure.

The incorporated manure treatments produced higher yields than the surface applied treatments. This is probably due to less nitrogen being lost when the manure was incorporated. Incorporation of manure can result in less nitrogen loss, less odor, and can reduce the loss of phosphorus from the fields.

A drag hose treatment was added in 2014 to determine what stand damage and potential yield loss may occur from the V1 to the V5 stage. A six-inch diameter drag hose was pulled across each plot twice (going in opposite directions) at corn growth stages one through five. The plot was replicated four times in a randomized block design. The area experienced an unusually dry growing season, especially in the weeks following the drag hose treatments.

The plot was planted on May 20 and took approximately 31 days to reach growth stage five. Had the plot been planted in late April or early May the manure application window would have been closer to six weeks.

Table 2

Corn stage

Population

Yield bu/ac

No drag hose

30,166

145.1

V1

29,660

154.3

V2

30,166

157.9

V3

28,933

153.9

V4

29,264

149.7

V5

15,366

109.8

 

The results of this one-year research study suggests corn could be sidedressed with liquid livestock manure using a drag hose, up to growth stage four without a statistically significant yield loss. This study will be repeated in 2015 and 2016 to establish a larger data base.

Harrod Farms in Darke County used a drag hose to apply swine finishing manure to three corn fields in the 2014 growing season and had strong corn yields. The corn was at the V1 stage of growth when the manure was incorporated as a sidedress.

Thanks to the Ohio Pork Producers Council and the Ohio Dairy Research Fund for financially supporting these research projects. Additional on-farm manure sidedress plot results can be obtained by clicking on the On-farm Research link on the OSU Extension Agronomics Crops team website at http://agcrops.osu.edu/.

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