Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Tillage and Beef Cattle Manure Effects on Soil Nitrogen in a Dryland Rotation

Authors
item SCHWARTZ, ROBERT
item BAUMHARDT, ROLAND
item DAO, THANH

Submitted to: Proceedings of Great Plains Soil Fertility Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 5, 2002
Publication Date: March 5, 2002
Citation: SCHWARTZ, R.C., BAUMHARDT, R.L., DAO, T.H. TILLAGE AND BEEF CATTLE MANURE EFFECTS ON SOIL NITROGEN IN A DRYLAND ROTATION. PROCEEDINGS OF THE GREAT PLAINS SOIL FERTILITY CONFERENCE. 2002. P. 66-71.

Interpretive Summary: Minimum tillage practices used in dryland cropping systems that reduce soil water evaporation and erosion may also decrease efficiency of manure nutrient utilization. We initiated a study in 1997 to investigate the effects of surface-applied stockpiled and composted beef cattle manure on soil N and sorghum and wheat yields and N-uptake within a wheat-sorghum-fallow dryland crop rotation. Plots were managed under no-tillage (NT) or stubble-mulch tillage (ST) systems. Stockpiled manure, composted manure, or commercial fertilizer (urea + ammonium phosphate) were applied prior to sorghum planting to supply estimated N and P requirements of sorghum and wheat for a 3-year period. Phosphorus-based manure or compost treatments also received supplemental urea. Plots receiving urea had 22% greater sorghum yield and 16% greater N-uptake than manure and compost amended plots. Manure and compost sorghum yields were no different or slightly lower than those of the unfertilized plots. Wheat was a good scavenger of residual nitrates accumulated throughout the fallow period although grain yield was not affected by N treatments and tillage. Residual nitrates and N-uptake by wheat and sorghum were significantly greater under ST as compared with NT. Tillage may be required to maintain higher mineralization rates and permit a more efficient use of manure nitrogen. However, nitrogen requirements under ST are not as great as compared to NT due to greater water economy with NT.

Technical Abstract: Minimum tillage practices used in dryland cropping systems, that reduce soil water evaporation and erosion, may also decrease efficiency of manure nutrient utilization. We initiated a study in 1997 to investigate the effects of surface-applied stockpiled and composted beef cattle (Bos taurus) manure on soil N and sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Yields and N-uptake within a wheat-sorghum-fallow dryland crop rotation. Paired terraces with no-tillage (NT) and stubble-mulch tillage (ST) systems were main plots of a single rotation phase. Stockpiled manure, composted manure, or commercial fertilizer (urea + ammonium phosphate) were applied prior to sorghum planting to supply estimated N and P requirements of sorghum and wheat for a 3-year period. Phosphorus-based manure or compost treatments also received supplemental urea. Unfertilized treatment checks were included for yield and nutrient comparisons. Sorghum grain yield in 1999 exhibited a significant (P < 0.05) response to tillage and fertilizer treatments. Plots receiving urea had 22% greater yield and 16% greater N-uptake than manure and compost amended plots. Moreover, manure and compost sorghum yields were no different or slightly lower than those of the unfertilized plots. Wheat was a good scavenger of residual N accumulated throughout the fallow period although grain yield was not affected by N treatments and tillage. Residual NO3-N after harvest and N-uptake were significantly greater under ST as compared with NT. Tillage may be required to maintain higher mineralization rates and permit a more efficient use of manure N.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page