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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Current Status of Manure Nitrogen Crediting and Management in the United States

Authors
item Schmitt, Michael - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
item Russelle, Michael
item Randall, Gyles - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
item Lory, John - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

Submitted to: Journal of Production Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 3, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Livestock production, and particularly manure management, has received scrutiny for years due to potential nitrate contamination of ground and surface waters. Environmental issues related to manure management have led to numerous federal, state, and local government programs. During the 1990s, most land grant universities developed and conducted research and extension programs related to the crediting and management of manure- nitrogen (manure-N). We conducted a national survey of university faculty by mail to assess the current status of manure-N crediting and management. It appears that water quality is the most important environmental concern related to manure management, regardless of which livestock are involved. In general, poultry and swine manure management appears to be better than dairy or beef manure, although better management needs to be obtained for all classes of livestock. Recent improvements in manure management include edevelopment of manure nutrient management plans, lower rates of application, and incorporation of manure into the soil to reduce runoff and odor. According to survey respondents, the primary reason producers have been improving manure management is existing, proposed, or possible future regulation. The trend in many states is that permits for livestock facilities will include both N and phosphorus standards in the nutrient oanagement plans. This survey supports the idea that important advances have been made in livestock manure management in the U.S., but also highlights areas where more changes in farm practices are needed. These results will help public and private agricultural consultants to better focus their efforts to educate farmers about manure management.

Technical Abstract: Livestock production, and particularly manure management, has received environmental scrutiny for years due to potential nitrate contamination in ground and surface waters. During the 1990s, most land grant institutions developed and conducted research and extension programs related to the crediting and management of manure-nitrogen (N). To assess the current status of manure-N crediting and management in the U.S., a survey of university faculty considered to have expertise in manure issues was conducted. A mail survey was sent to one person in each state to provide qualitative and quantitative information regarding manure-N management. A response rate of 86% was achieved. Ground and surface water quality are perceived as the top environmental ramification of manure-N management regardless of animal species. Manure-N crediting for cropland is highest for poultry and lowest for beef operations. Approximately 45% of poultry manure is properly credited, whereas only 18% of beef manure is properly credited. In addition, manure-N crediting is viewed as improved compared with 5 years ago. Manure-N crediting components being emphasized include manure testing, soil N testing, and spreader calibration. Management strategies being implemented include writing manure management plans, reduced application rates, and manure injection/incorporation. Regulation is perceived as the primary reason (61%) for producers to better manage their manure. More states will regulate their livestock enterprises via a permitting process in the future, and the trend is toward using a combination N and phosphorus (P) standard in developing nutrient plans. Although N issues have been a focus of manure management in the past, P issues have escalated recently in terms of environmental importance.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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