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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING ALFALFA AND OTHER FORAGE CROPS FOR BIOENERGY, LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Manure on alfalfa

Authors
item Russelle, Michael
item Jokela, William

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2012
Publication Date: July 31, 2013
Citation: Russelle, M.P., Jokela, W.E. 2013. Manure on alfalfa. In: Bittman, S., Hunt, D., editors. Cool Forages: Advanced Management of Temperate Forages. Pacific Field Corn Assn., Agassiz, BC, Canada. p. 144-147.

Technical Abstract: Many managers of crop-livestock operations could, or need to, utilize alfalfa fields in their manure management plans. The advantages to manure application on alfalfa need to be considered in the context of some potential concerns – plant damage from manure or wheel traffic, pathogen transmission in the feed, nutrient runoff, and excessive N at stand termination. Some of these risks can be minimized by careful management, for example, by spreading soon after harvest, avoiding traffic on wet soils, and avoiding application at stand termination if the N credit from the forage is adequate for the next crop. Several innovative liquid manure application methods offer additional options to improve N utilization, minimize forage contamination, decrease nutrient runoff, and provide more uniform manure application. To a very large extent, however, the success of manure application on alfalfa depends on the specific conditions at the site and good decision-making by the manager.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014