2007 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Research will be conducted to.
1)develop predictions of nutrient availability in manures from organic and conventional dairy farms in the Northeast, including the development and improvement of analytical methods for predicting nutrient availability, and.
2)develop and transfer production and management practices that improve the efficiency of manure nutrient utilization and farm profitability on organic dairy farms, minimizing environmentally harmful nutrient flows.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Predictions of nutrient availability will be developed through identification of phosphorus-containing compounds and measurement of available nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in soil after addition of a wide range of organic dairy manures. Agronomic field experiments and whole farm nutrient budgets will be used to improve crop nutrient utilization and farm profitability. Knowledge gained from these studies will be transferred to growers through multiple avenues. The research and technology transfer endeavors proposed in this project are expected to improve agricultural viability and rural economic vitality in the Northeast.
1915-12630-001-03R – Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement with the University of Maine
1915-12630-001-04R – Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement with the University of Maine
All subordinate projects are making good progress toward meeting their research goals and objectives. Progress is monitored through an annual meeting of project collaborators, quarterly meetings of collaborators at USDA-ARS and University of Maine, frequent conference calls and other forms of electronic communication.
For a complete report on the progress of these subordinate projects, see the corresponding annual report.
Manure Nitrogen Availability Depends on Soil Microbial Communities
Animal manure can be a valuable source of nutrients for plant growth; however, the rate at which these nutrients become plant available depends on many factors. We evaluated nitrogen availability from dairy manure when applied to eight different soils from across the U.S. We found that soil type influenced nitrogen transformation rates largely through the different microbial populations present in the soil before manure was ever applied. This research showed that the commonly overlooked differences in microbial communities across soils must be considered for developing accurate predictions of manure nitrogen availability to crops. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 3 (Management tools for indexing and evaluating nutrient fate and transport).
Utilization of Nitrogen from Manure Affected by Timing and Method of Application
Many current manure nitrogen (N) management recommendations focus on efficient use of manure N for corn silage or grain production. There is a specific need to expand the scope of manure nutrient recommendations to include cool-season small grain crops like barley and wheat, which are increasingly grown on organic dairy farms in the Northeastern U.S. Field experiments were established for Fall grains in 2006 to evaluate yield and N availability when liquid manure is applied before planting compared to manure applied at the tillering stage in May. This research demonstrated limited retention of N from Fall-applied manure, with minimal uptake of this N the following Spring. Banded application of liquid manure in the Spring resulted in increased crop growth and nutrient uptake by reducing gaseous nitrogen loss. This research significantly increases our ability to manage N and P on organic dairy farms. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 4 (Farming systems and practices for efficient and balanced manure nutrient management).
Mineralization of Carbon and Nitrogen from Organic Dairy Manures
The availability of manure nitrogen (N) on organic farms may be reduced because feed rations on organic farms typically have higher fiber concentrations. In order to assess manure N availability from organic farms, manure samples were collected from more than twenty organic dairy farms in Maine. Using these manures, we conducted a laboratory experiment to evaluate the release of carbon (C), nitrogen and phosphorus (P) from manures mixed with soil, during a 100 day period. The amount of carbon released during decomposition of the manures was primarily a function of the amount of carbon applied. However, substantial differences in the amount of plant-available N existed, indicating that both the amount and composition of the manure are important factors influencing N availability. This information will help develop N availability recommendations for organic dairy farms. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 4 (Farming systems and practices for efficient and balanced manure nutrient management).
Factors Influencing Organic Dairy Farm Profitability Quantified
The lack of information on nutrient management for organic dairy producers can restrict their productivity and profitability. Alternative production and management practices must be evaluated for organic dairy farms to determine their economic efficacy. We cooperated with six farmers that are members of the Maine Organic Milk Producers organization to record all relevant economic information during the growing season (such as input usage and cost, labor, machinery, crop yield and quality). Partial budgets, reflecting differences in management practices, were developed to determine which practices make the greatest contribution to profitability. Important factors affecting profitability include feed production costs, milk production, and milk composition. Quantification of these variables will enable dairy producers to adopt those practices which are most profitable. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 4 (Farming systems and practices for efficient and balanced manure nutrient management).
Drying Effects Phosphorus Distribution in Poultry Manure
Manure samples are frequently dried prior to laboratory analysis; however, drying has the capacity to alter manure characteristics. Understanding the effects of drying on the distribution of different forms of phosphorus in animal manure may improve accuracy of manure analysis and facilitate comparison of data from different studies. Phosphorus fractions in air-dried, oven-dried, and freeze-dried samples of three poultry manures were analyzed and compared to undried or fresh manures. Findings in this study indicate that drying can transform manure P; specifically, we found that high-temperature drying increased the amount of water soluble P in all three tested manures. Our results indicate that the method of sample drying should be considered when comparing data from different laboratories. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 3 (Management tools for indexing and evaluating nutrient fate and transport).
Phosphorus Determination Methods Compared
Increased understanding of manure phosphorus (P) composition is needed for developing best management practices to optimize recycling of manure P while minimizing the adverse environmental effects of animal manure application. Both enzymatic hydrolysis and solution 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy have been used to characterize P compounds in animal manures. However, no comparison of the two methods has been reported in the literature, and it is not clear to what degree the P forms identified by the two methods are similar. We analyzed the forms of P in dairy and poultry manure, to quantitatively compare these two methods. Results of each method were correlated, but not always the same. Consequently, we recommend that researchers recognize these differences when choosing the method most appropriate for their goals, or use both methods to more fully characterize the P forms present. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 3 (Management tools for indexing and evaluating nutrient fate and transport).
Factors Affecting Phosphorus Releasing Enzyme Activity in Highly Weathered Soils Identified
Particular enzymes in soil influence phosphorus (P) availability for plant growth. Information is limited on the composition of these P-releasing enzymes and how their distribution is affected by soil properties. We measured the activities of three P enzymes (acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase, and phosphodiesterase) in six highly weathered soils from Alabama and examined those activities in relation to various soil properties. In each soil, the activity of acid phosphatase exceeded alkaline phosphatase which was greater than phosphodiesterase, although the specific activity in each soil was different. Further evaluation revealed that cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil organic matter, iron, manganese, and sand contents were the main soil properties influencing acid phosphatase distribution, whereas pH, iron, and CEC significantly influenced alkaline phosphatase distribution. Organic matter and pH significantly influenced phosphodiesterase distribution. These results indicate which soil properties influence P availability through their effect on P-releasing enzymes. This accomplishment contributes to meeting the Nutrient Management component of NP 206 (Manure and Byproduct Utilization); Problem Area 3 (Management tools for indexing and evaluating nutrient fate and transport).
5.Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
Accomplishments will benefit the approximately 11,000 small livestock farms in the New England Region (1997 Census of Agriculture).
|Number of non-peer reviewed presentations and proceedings||16|
|Number of newspaper articles and other presentations for non-science audiences||2|
Waldrip Dail, H.M., He, Z., Erich, M.S., Honeycutt, C.W. 2007. Effects of drying on phosphorus distribution in poultry manure. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 38:1879-1895
Griffin, T.S. 2007. Estimation of gross transformation rates of dairy manure N using 15N pool dilution. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 38: 1451-1465
He, Z., Cade-Menun, B.J., Toor, G.S., Fortuna, A., Honeycutt, C.W., Sims, J. 2007. Comparison of Phosphorus Forms in Wet and Dried Animal Manures by Solution Phosphorus-31 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy and Enzymatic Hydrolysis. Journal of Environmental Quality. 36:1086-1095
He, Z., Griffin, T.S., Honeycutt, C.W. 2006. Soil phosphorus dynamics in response to dairy manure and inorganic fertilizer applications: a laboratory incubation study. Soil Science. Vol 171;598-609
He, Z., Honeycutt, C.W., Xing, B., Mcdowell, R.W., Pellechia, P.J., Zhang, T. 2007. Solid State FT-IR and (31)P NMR Spectral Features of Phosphate Compounds. Soil Science. 172:501-515
He, Z., Honeycutt, C.W., Zhang, T., Pellachia, P.J., Caliebe, W.A. 2007. Distinction of Metal Species of Phytate by Solid State Spectroscopic Techniques. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 71:940-943
He, Z., Parales, R.E., Spain, J.C., Johnson, G.R. 2007. Novel organization of catechol meta pathway genes in the nitrobenzene degrader comamonas sp. JS765 and its evolutionary implication. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology. 34:99-104.
He, Z., Ohno, T., Cade-Menun, B.J., Erich, M.S., Honeycutt, C.W. 2006. Spectral and chemical characterization of phosphates associated with humic substances. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 70:1741-1751
Hunt, J.F., Ohno, T., He, Z., Honeycutt, C.W., Dail, D.B. 2007. Influence of Decomposition on Chemical Properties of Plant-and Manure-Derived Dissolved Organic Matter and Sorption to Goethite. Journal of Environmental Quality. 36:135-143
Mallory, E., Griffin, T.S. 2007. Impacts of soil amendment history on nitrogen availability from manure and fertilizer. Soil Science Society of America Journal. Vol 71:964-973
Senwo, Z.N., Ranatunga, D., Tazisong, I.T., Taylor, R.W., He, Z. 2007. Phosphatase Activity of Ultisols and Relationship to Soil Fertility Indices. Journal of Food Agriculture and Environment.5:262-266.