Submitted to: Progressive Forage Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2019
Publication Date: 10/1/2019
Citation: Young, E.O. 2019. Start fall off right with soil sampling and manure management. Progressive Forage Grower. 20(9):38-39.
Technical Abstract: Cropping and nutrient management decisions on dairy farms impact animal performance, environmental risk, nutrient efficiency and overall farm profitability. This article discusses the importance of assessing soil fertility in the fall and its relationship to forage crop production and manure management. Assessing forage crop nutrient requirements starts with a proper soil sample. Soil type, organic matter content, pH, and extractable potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) are essential to determine basic crop nutrient needs. Soil test data along with soil type, cropping/fertilizer/manure history are needed to estimate net crop nutrient requirements and purchased fertilizer P and K needs for the next growing season. Manure can be used to meet much of a forage crop’s N, P and K needs, reducing the need for purchased fertilizer. Manure application rates depend on multiple factors including forage type/condition, manure characteristics, crop nutrient need, environmental risk (soil test P, slope, erosion rate, leaching potential), neighbor relations, time of year, and method of application. Application method primarily depends on a farm’s tillage and cropping system. Incorporating/injecting manure reduces runoff risk and increases the likelihood of nutrient use by forages