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Have your agronomic questions answered by a Farm Journal agronomist. E-mail us directly at TestPlots@FarmJournal.com, and we’ll respond on this blog to provide an interactive dialogue.

Manure Versus Commercial Fertilizers

May 15, 2010
Question:The ground I get cow manure spread on always yields 10% better than that ground without manure.  My ground is grid sampled and broadcast to high levels.  What can I do to get the same results without manure?
Answer: Increased crop yields following manure applications are common. Manure provides many benefits above and beyond the nutrients it contains. Manure stimulates microbial activity in the soil that commercial fertilizers often fall short in providing. Manure can also increase the nitrogen efficiency of the soil in corn production. Make sure your non-manure fields are receiving enough nitrogen. I would encourage you to put out some nitrogen rate studies in your field to help address this potential issue. Getting the same results without manure is going to be challenging and may not be possible. The application of bio-stimulants may help but can be very costly.

Manure can offer readily available nutrients and help rebuild soil organic matter.

Regulations may force manure distribution. Higher fertilizer prices make it more feasible.


Previous Q&A with our Agronomists:

How Should We Handle Stalks this Year?
With last year's late harvest and the good traits of corn hybrids, what are we to do with the stalks?

How to Check Planter Down Pressure
Farmers need to know that not using the correct amount of pressure has its setbacks.

Can an N inhibitor replace a sidedressing application?

An Indiana farmer asks if by adding a nitrogen inhibitor in the spring nitrogen application, can he eliminate the need for sidedressing? 

Could the N in manure be lower quality?

A dairy farmer from Wisconsin asks why when he applies manure to corn stalks in corn-on-corn, the next spring the corn still looks yellow and sickly.

We’ve launched this blog as an interactive way for you to have your questions answered by our Farm Journal Agronomists. E-mail your nitrogen, soil fertility, soil density, planter set up, scouting, and other questions to TestPlots@FarmJournal.com.


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COMMENTS (2 Comments)

I wonder if it has anything to do with the organic matter that manure adds to the field. I know on thin soils, I can always tell where I put manure because the corn not only yields better, but it doesn't show stree from lack of moisture as much, either. I think the OM helps hold moisture.
9:15 AM May 17th
Ive also found corn following natural N sources (red clover after wheat) is higher qaulity than man made N sources produce. Last year corn on plowed clover made 10% better yield and 2 lb heavier test wieght.
5:55 PM May 16th

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