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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ALTERNATIVE MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR FARMING SYSTEMS UTILIZING MANURE Project Number: 3625-12130-004-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 12, 2006
End Date: Sep 30, 2009

Objective:
Determine the effect of manure application on soil N and P cycling, manure pathogen fate and transport and organic C storage in soil using two and three year rotations with cover crops and different tillage systems. A. Determine the effect of cover crops on the fate of nutrients applied in swine manure by measuring (a) cover crop N and P uptake and leaching, (b) cover crop survival after manure application, and (c) losses of N2O from manured fields with and without a cover crop. B. Determine the effect of alternative swine manure application methods on nutrient fate and bacterial transport in systems with and without cover crops. 1) Determine effect of application method (surface application with disking versus low disturbance injection) on crop and cover crop uptake of N and P. 2) Determine retention and form of 15N-manure after application to soil. 3) Determine the distribution of bioavailable P in the root zone after manure application. 4) Determine loss of N, P and E. coli in runoff. C. Determine the effects of composted animal manure, tillage and their interaction on C and N cycling in extended corn-soybean rotations containing small grains and/or legumes. 1) Determine the effects of application of composted animal manure on soil and crop C and N within a corn-soybean-winter wheat/red clover rotation under three tillage treatments (fall moldboard plow, fall chisel plow, and no-tillage). 2) Determine the contribution of N from composted animal manure to plant available N within corn-soybean rotations.

Approach:
This research examines the use of a rye-oat cover crop to increase manure nutrient retention and to prevent losses of nutrients and fecal bacteria in runoff. The research tests the feasibility of this concept and provides an initial demonstration of this practice to selected growers. If successful the research would form the foundation for field-scale testing and the development of guidelines for producers. Cover crops have been previously shown to be effective in preventing erosion and nitrate leaching, thus they have the potential to mitigate the off-site effects of manure application. Cover crops in the Midwest are established following soybean harvest in October or early November. Swine manure is also applied at this time either as a surface application or by injection. Manure application causes considerable disturbance, thus cover crop survival and function will be assessed. Furthermore, the effects of conventional and low disturbance manure injection equipment will be compared with respect N and P retention and cover crop survival. This research would evaluate the cover crop uptake of nitrogen and phosphorus. The ability of cover crops to mitigate runoff losses of nutrients and fecal bacteria will also be examined in rainfall simulation experiments. In addition, we will determine the effects of composted manure on nitrogen utilization by corn in a rotational cropping system.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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