Managing Plant Nutrients When Both Manure And Fertilizer Applications Are Used

There are three main sources of plant nutrients available to farmers. They are commercial fertilizers, livestock manure and municipal sewage sludge or biosolids. There is a preconceived notion that a farmer will only use one of these sources to supplement nutrients supplied by soils. However, these sources can be used in combinations very successfully.

When considering the weight of material applied to soil, manures are the greatest, followed by fertilizers, and lastly biosolids. However, the actual amount of nutrients supplied with fertilizer is still highest because of their greater concentrations compared to organic sources. Typical liquid dairy manure has a fertilizer analysis of 0.4% N, 0.2% P2O5, and 0.5% K2O.

A typical fertilizer NPK fertilizer blend, used for a small grain crop, would have a blend analysis of 22-9-18 — or about 50 times greater concentrations of plant nutrients compared to liquid dairy manure. Fertilizers are much less expensive to transport compared to manure in order to supply the equal amounts of nutrients to a field. For this reason, the amount of nutrients supplied annually in the U.S. through fertilizer is 20 times greater compared to that applied as biosolids and manure combined. Plus, only a small percentage of cropland receives manure. In Canada, only about 4% of cropland receives manure applications compared to 96% that only receives fertilizer. This excludes some organic crop production land that receives neither manure nor fertilizer.

One disadvantage of only using manure compared to a combination of manure along with additional fertilizer is that the balance of nutrients can be less than ideal. For example, a barley crop yielding 100 bu/A (5,300 kg/ha) will take (per acre) 100 lb N, 42 lb P2O5, and 33 lb K2O from the soil. This equates to a N: P2O5: K2O use ratio of 2.7: 1: 0.8, which translates into a higher N requirement than can be supplied from typical manures. To better supply N, P and K to a barley crop, a farmer could apply additional N fertilizer along with manure to more closely approach the actual nutrient use ratio of the crop.

What can work well for farmers is to apply manure once every three years. In the year of application, manure is applied at a rate to supply the N requirements of the crop and excess P and K is supplied. For the next two years, only N fertilizer is required as residual P and K from the manure usually satisfies crop demand. Additional low rates of P and K might be used as seed-row starter fertilizer to get crops off to a good start under cool spring soil conditions. This approach works well to grow adequate yields while avoiding excess build up of soil P and K.

It is recommended that soil nutrient content be monitored annually or at least every three years, by having representative soil samples analyzed, and the results interpreted by a qualified consulting agronomist, or certified crop adviser. How often manure can be applied and what rates of fertilizer nutrients are required each year will need to be adjusted depending on the crop to be grown, crop yields, nutrient removal in harvested grain or forage, the manure type and its nutrient content and weather conditions. By using a combination of manure and fertilizer applications, crop nutritional needs can be met while avoiding excess levels of nutrients in your soil.

Source: IPNI Plant Nutrition Today

Leave a Reply

Crop Inputs Stories

Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens in Soybean Seeds
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Approval in Field & Seed Corn
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
Trending Articles
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
ManagementWashington Update, Dow-DuPont Earnings, and the Passing of an AGCO Legend
April 27, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the latest Beltway news, crop protection company 1st quarter numbers, and the Read More
Crop InputsFlying Under the Radar No More, FMC Goes Big
April 13, 2017
Describing FMC as “under the radar,” admittedly, is probably a stretch. But in a snap of the fingers, FMC upped Read More
Young Corn Plants
Crop NutritionStill Hunting Yields
April 1, 2017
There’s no denying it — the agricultural marketplace today is undergoing a fundamental shift in fortunes. Not too many years Read More
Latest News
Food IT Fork-to-Farm
Precision AgThe Mixing Bowl Event Connects Technology, Food, and Ag…
May 24, 2017
For the fourth consecutive year, The Mixing Bowl presents FOOD IT, under the theme “Fork to Farm.” Action-oriented entrepreneurs, industry Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Seed/BiotechKansas State University Researchers Find New Pathogens …
May 24, 2017
A single seed seems so simple. Put it in the ground, give it some care, and you’ve soon grown food. Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesNew Dicamba Herbicide Premix Coming Soon from Syngenta
May 24, 2017
Syngenta has announced the name of its new herbicide featuring the active ingredients of S-metolachlor and dicamba. Upon registration by Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Launches New Seed Treatment Fungicide
May 22, 2017
Syngenta has announced the launch of PLENARIS seed treatment fungicide for the control of downy mildew in sunflower. PLENARIS contains Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsMonsanto’s First HPPD Herbicide Garners EPA Appro…
May 19, 2017
Monsanto announced today that EPA has federally approved Harness MAX Herbicide, the first herbicide in the Monsanto portfolio to provide Read More
ManagementPrecision Planting Deal, China Developments, and Enviro…
May 18, 2017
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Dan Jacobs discuss the latest news on John Deere’s now dead deal for Precision Planting, China’s Read More
Soybean aphid leaf
InsecticidesMulti-state Research Reveals IPM Best Option for Treatm…
May 17, 2017
About 89.5 million acres of soybeans will be planted across the U.S. in 2017 — a record high, according to Read More
GROWMARK-2017-Interns
CropLife 100GROWMARK Names 2017 Summer Interns
May 16, 2017
Forty-two college students are exploring agricultural career opportunities this summer as GROWMARK interns. They are working at FS member cooperatives Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Ag…
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
Flooded corn in Indiana
FertilizerBoth Wet and Dry Conditions Threaten Nitrogen Loss
May 15, 2017
The weather is notoriously unpredictable, leading to challenges for planting, harvesting and applying the nitrogen (N) your corn crop needs. Read More
farmer Kip Tom
Precision AgAg Tech: On the Cusp of Something Big?
May 15, 2017
The investment and ag-tech sectors’ continuing courtship of agriculture, smoldering for three or four years now, was well in evidence at Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
ManagementOpinion: Shaking Your Perspective in Ag Retail
May 12, 2017
Some of you I’m sure have encountered our recently retired salesman extraordinaire, Dan Bellanger. He worked in the industry for Read More
Exterior view of CPS Big Lake facility which includes enclosed receiving and load out area
CropLife 100New Alternative Weed Resistance Traits Could Experience…
May 12, 2017
It wasn’t too many years ago that ag retailers and their grower-customers could hardly wait for new options to fight Read More
Diane Allemang and Dan Jacobs
Crop InputsFMC Agricultural Solutions, Casa Pacifica Partner to He…
May 11, 2017
FMC Agricultural Solutions is teaming up with Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families, an organization that supports vulnerable children Read More
UncategorizedWhat’s Up With ARA
May 11, 2017
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj talks with Brian Reuwee regarding what issues are on the docket for the Agricultural Retailers Association. Read More
BASF Maglis tablet retailer grower
Precision AgQ&A: What BASF’s Latest Foray into Precision …
May 11, 2017
In late April, BASF agreed to acquire U.S. precision ag player ZedX, a leader in the development of agronomic weather, Read More