Submitted to: Minnesota Forage Update
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Manure is increasingly being applied to forages because of their ability to recycle nutrients, their potential to extract water and mobile nutrients from significant depths, their perennial growth habit that provides constant ground cover, and their capacity to withstand multiple applications. Livestock producers need to evaluate alternative crops, including forages, for manure applications. Preplant manure applications generally have a positive effect on seeding-year alfalfa yield, and this response often continues into succeeding years. Although manure may increase certain seeding-year weed concerns, most weeds do not persist after the first cutting. Topdressing manure on established alfalfa is somewhat more risky due to potential stand damage. Precautions include applying low rates, applying as soon after harvest as possible, and avoiding application during high temperatures. Reed canarygrass offers an excellent alternative forage crop for manure applications. It can withstan multiple applications of high manure rates and produces high yields of high protein feed. Topdressed manure application should be delayed until the stand is well established. Although alfalfa and reed canarygrass can serve as excellent sinks for recycling nutrients in manure, topdress applications onto highly erodible and/or frozen soils may result in unacceptable nutrient runoff. Producers should take steps to avoid management practices that may contaminate surface water.