Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 114, Issue 1, pp 57–70 | Cite as

Nitrogen cycling trade-offs with broadcasting and injecting dairy manure

  • E. W. DuncanEmail author
  • P. J. A. Kleinman
  • D. B. Beegle
  • C. J. Dell
Original Article


Understanding the fate of nutrients in land-applied manure is key to improving the efficiency of their use in crop production. We developed nitrogen (N) budgets for 2 years of continuously cropped corn fertilized by dairy manure via broadcast application or shallow disk injection. Major pathways and pools of N loss were monitored on 12, 0.04 ha field lysimeters in central Pennsylvania, USA to estimate the impact of manure application method on N fate: gas emissions, off-site runoff (overland and subsurface flow), crop uptake, and, soil storage. The budgets illuminated trade-offs in N cycling with each management strategy. Crop removal accounted for the largest portions of manure N applied in both budgets (16–43%). Injection manure N balances were more difficult to close because balances included a large proportion of ‘unaccounted’ N (49% and 68% of applied N for two accounting periods). Even so, results point to cumulative differences in nutrient use efficiencies that can be attributed to the greater conservation of ammonia-N with manure injection. There was an apparent build-up of soil N with manure injection that was not observed with broadcast application (in pre sidedress nitrogen test measurements). However, these trends were preliminary; over the two growing seasons covered by this study, these findings did not result in significant differences in corn yield or crop N removal.


Nitrogen cycling Dairy manure Shallow disk injection Broadcast application N balance N use efficiency 



Many thanks are extended to Bart Moyer, Lou Saporito, Sarah Fishel (USDA-ARS) and Curtis Kennedy (Penn State University) who provided monitoring and laboratory support. Dr. Heather Karsten (Penn State University) deserves special recognition for overseeing the farming systems project to which this study contributed. Funding for the study was provided by USDA’s Northeast SARE program, USDA-ARS and Penn State University.

Supplementary material

10705_2019_9975_MOESM1_ESM.docx (402 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 401 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA-ARS Soil Drainage Research UnitColumbusUSA
  2. 2.USDA-ARS Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research UnitUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Ecosystem Science and ManagementPennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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