Nutrient Management

Best Management Principals for Manure Utilization

  • Manure should be tested on a regular basis (once a year) unless there are changes in the feed, bedding, environment, and management. If any of these occur or anything else that changes the value of the manure, it should be retested.
  • Soil testing should be done once every three years. Unless there are problems in certain fields, then they should be tested yearly. If possible, soils should also be tested by soil type which has an effect on test value. (course textured versus finely textured soils)
  • Fertilizer recommendation should be made on a field by field basis according to soil test levels of the field.
  • Use realistic goals when making fertilizer recommendations. (last five year average).
  • When making nitrogen recommendations the previous need to be considered, some crops leave nitrogen in the soil. (legumes such as soybeans, alfalfa, clovers)
  • Setback areas from open ditches, rivers, streams, shallow wells, cisterns, and ponds should be observed. With a residue cover of 50% or more, leave 35 feet, for bare ground leave 100 feet Water sources use human consumption leave 100 feet When spreading on frozen ground on less than 6% slope setback, on greater than 6% slope don't spread.
  • When the soil test levels of P reach 150 pounds per acre (Bray P1), manure should be applied at only drop removal rates. If soil tests of P reach 300 pounds per acre, no manure or fertilizer should be applied.
  • Keep good records. Records of the past manure applications will help in estimating future fertilizer needs.
  • In conclusion, manure has all the nutrients needed by plants for healthy growth. It is to our advantage economically and environmentally to put them to good use so the nutrients don't become a pollution problem. This can be done by manure sampling, soil testing, using realistic goals, and paying close attention to application rates.