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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Plant Science Research

Title: Characteristics of Stratified Bedded Pack Dairy Manure

item Russelle, Michael
item Blanchet, Kevin
item Randall, Gyles
item Everett, Leslie

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/3/2009
Publication Date: 8/4/2009
Citation: Russelle, M.P., Blanchet, K.M., Randall, G.W., Everett, L.A. 2009. Characteristics of Stratified Bedded Pack Dairy Manure [abstract]. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting. November 1-5, 2009, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Abstract No. 119-5. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: "Compost" dairy barns are a relatively new housing system that generates a deep (0.9 to 1.5 m), stratified bedded pack (SBP) manure source. Bedding composed of sawdust, wood chips, or crop residues accumulates as additions are made to maintain a dry surface. Surface drying is promoted by a combination of forced air ventilation and twice daily stirring to incorporate manure into the pack. The result is a manure pack with two layers: 1) a loose surface about 20- to 30-cm thick that gradually increases in manure content, moisture, and density until new bedding is added; and 2) the compact layer, which increases in thickness as old surface layers are buried under new bedding. The compact layer is only partially composted, presumably due to oxygen limitations. This manure has neither been characterized in detail nor defined in terms of its nitrogen (N) supply. We measured physical characteristics, nutrient concentration, N mineralization, and N supply to corn (Zea mays L.) of SBP dairy manure from eight Minnesota farms. Concentrations of N, phosphorus, and potassium were generally higher than in typical solid dairy manure and were highly variable within and among barns. Average bulk density of SBP dairy manure was 934 kg/m3. All SBP dairy manures released a net addition of nitrate to soil during a 4-month-long incubation at 35 C, but the four with highest C:N ratios (19 to 21) immobilized N for 30 to 60 days. In-field fertilizer N equivalents to corn ranged from 0.7 to 6.0 kg N/Mg for quickly incorporated SBP dairy manure but only -0.1 to 2.6 kg N/Mg for fall-applied manure that was not incorporated until spring. Guidelines for solid dairy manure were not reliable for predicting N availability from SBP dairy manure.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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