Agronomy for Sustainable Development

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 507–517 | Cite as

Shallow mixing of surface soil and liquid dairy manure conserves nitrogen while retaining surface residue

  • Quirine M. Ketterings
  • Greg Godwin
  • Peter Barney
  • Joseph R. Lawrence
  • Brian Aldrich
  • Tom Kilcer
  • Karl J. Czymmek
  • Brent Gloy
Research Article

Abstract

Incorporation of spring-applied manure is known to reduce N volatilization losses and hence increase the N value of the manure. However, traditional incorporation methods are not compatible with reduced-tillage systems requiring minimum residue coverage of 30 %. Here, eight New York dairy farms participated in 2008 in a 2-year on-farm trial. This trial was designed to test the hypothesis that shallow mixing of soil involving aerator incorporation of spring-applied manure is as effective as chisel incorporation of manure in conserving manure N for corn (Zea mays, L) uptake while retaining more surface residue. The eight fields selected for this trial varied from first to third year corn after hay and had varying manure histories. All fields were subjected to a randomized complete block design with four replicates comparing surface application of manure, as control, shallow incorporation of manure with an aerator, and chisel incorporation of manure. Starter N applications were 39 kg N/ha or less, and manure application rates ranged from 51 to 112 kL/ha. Results show that shallow incorporation of manure significantly reduced soil disturbance and retained, on average, 30 % more surface residue cover than obtained with chisel incorporation. Chisel and aerator-based incorporation resulted in similar soil nitrate levels at 13 of 16 site years, suggesting similar levels of N conservation. Across all sites and years, incorporation increased silage yield by 0.9–1.5 Mg DM/ha, independent of incorporation method. Based on these results, we show that shallow mixing of soil and spring-applied manure is a suitable option for conserving N and maintaining greater surface residue coverage without compromising on yield or silage quality.

Keywords

Corn Forage Nitrogen Nutrient management Nutrient cycling Soil conservation Tillage 

Abbreviations

CSNT

Corn stalk nitrate test

DM

Dry matter

ISNT

Illinois soil nitrogen test

PSNT

Pre-sidedress nitrate test

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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Quirine M. Ketterings
    • 1
  • Greg Godwin
    • 1
  • Peter Barney
    • 2
  • Joseph R. Lawrence
    • 3
  • Brian Aldrich
    • 4
  • Tom Kilcer
    • 5
  • Karl J. Czymmek
    • 1
  • Brent Gloy
    • 6
  1. 1.Nutrient Management Spear Program, Department of Animal ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Barney Agronomic ServicesPotsdamUSA
  3. 3.Cornell Cooperative Extension of Lewis CountyLowvilleUSA
  4. 4.Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga CountyAuburnUSA
  5. 5.Advanced Ag SystemsKinderhookUSA
  6. 6.Department of Applied Economics and ManagementCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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