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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Sustainable Pest Management Strategies for Arid-land Crops Title: Nitrogen availability from compost dairy barn manure

item Russelle, Michael
item Blanchet, Kevin - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Submitted to: Extension Fact Sheets
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2009
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
Citation: Russelle, M.P., Blanchet, K., Randall, G., Everett, L. 2009. Nitrogen Availability from Compost Dairy Barn Manure. University of Minnesota Extension Fact Sheet. 2 p. Available:

Technical Abstract: A relatively new dairy cow housing with deep bedding, commonly called compost dairy barns (CDB), is being adopted by small- to medium-sized farms. There have been no reports of nitrogen (N) availability from this manure. In laboratory and field trials, we characterized the nutrient content and N availability from CDB manure from eight Minnesota farms. We found that the density of these sawdust-based packs averaged 58.2 pounds/cubic foot, making it easy to estimate the total mass of manure available for application. Total N averaged 1.10%, up to 38% of which was ammonium N. C:N ratios ranged from 11.2 to 20.9. Three manures appeared to produce nitrate N throughout a 4-month-long incubation, whereas four others tied up N for 1 to 2 months after mixing with soil. With manure broadcast in fall, fertilizer N equivalence for corn the next year ranged from 1.4 to 12.1 lb N/ton for rapidly incorporated manure but only -0.3 to 5.3 lb N/ton when incorporation was delayed until spring. Guidelines for typical solid dairy manure produced unreliable predictions for CDB manure. Further research is required to develop reliable prediction equations of N availability from this new manure source.

Last Modified: 11/29/2015
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