Submitted to: Alfalfa National Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 19, 2008
Publication Date: February 4, 2008
Citation: Russelle, M.P. 2008. Manure use on alfalfa. In: Proceedings of the National Alfalfa Symposium, February 4-5, 2008, Kearney, Nebraska. 2008 CDROM. Technical Abstract: Manure application to alfalfa 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.