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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Handling manure on forage crops

item Russelle, Michael

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2007
Publication Date: February 25, 2007
Citation: Russelle, M.P. 2007. Handling manure on forage crops. In: Idaho Alfalfa and Forage Conference, February 26-27, 2007, Twin Falls, Idaho. p. 35-43.

Technical Abstract: Manure application to alfalfa (and other perennial forages) is often necessary because of limited application windows during the year and limited land-to-livestock ratios to meet Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan requirements. Manure applied before alfalfa planting or during production can improve yield and performance of the crop if manure application rates, method, and timing are appropriate. Broadcast applications can increase the risk of runoff to surface water, high rates may increase nitrate leaching to ground water, and application of low dry matter slurry on tile-drained soil may result in surface water contamination. When diseases are present in the herd that can be transmitted via manure-contaminated feed, avoid manure application on established alfalfa. Manure injection and crop ensiling can, however, reduce pathogen load on the harvested forage. I expect that advances in equipment design, promulgation of regulations, and development of new varieties eventually will lead to widespread adoption of shallow manure injection in established alfalfa.

Last Modified: 8/27/2015
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