Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/30/2007
Publication Date: 10/5/2007
Publication URL: lpe.unl.edu/pdfs/current.pdf
Citation: Beegle, D., Kleinman, P.J. 2007. Pennsylvania Project Examines Manure Management in No-till Systems. LPE Center News. 2. Available: http://lpe.unl.edu. Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required.
Technical Abstract: The benefits of no-till such as reduced soil erosion, reduced P runoff, improved soil quality, greater carbon sequestration are well established. At the same time, incorporating manure has numerous benefits including: reduced ammonia volatilization, reduced soluble P loss, and reduced odor. However, in nutrient management planning these practices are often considered to be mutually exclusive. Scientists at Penn State University and USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit in Pennsylvania have a project underway to look at how manure can be injected while retaining most of the benefits of no-till. They are evaluating low disturbance injection technologies like shallow disk injectors, high pressure injectors, and aerator injectors. This project is an interdisciplinary effort looking at a wide range of effects of using these systems in no-till, including effects on: crop nutrient availability, soil loss, phosphorus loss, nitrate leaching, ammonia volatilization, hormones in runoff and leachate, odor, and the project includes a whole farm modeling component using the Integrated Farming Systems Model (IFSM) to evaluate the impact on farm operations and economics. A key preliminary finding is that each of the systems evaluated has a different impact on the various parameters evaluated. For example, using the aerator injector, set up to minimize soil disturbance in no-till, resulted in dramatically reduced P runoff losses but the same system had little effect on reducing ammonia volatilization from dairy manure. A major objective of the project is to provide farmers and policy makers with data on the this kind of differential impact of these systems, so that they can make informed, science based decisions about which system might best address the specific management concerns in their operation. A regional project is being developed to do similar work in Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware.