Sidedressing Manure Into Corn Continues to Have Promising Results

Glen Arnold, OSU Extension Field Specialist Manure Nutrient Management

Ohio State University Extension has conducted manure research on growing crops for several years in an effort to make better use of the available nutrients. Incorporating manure into growing corn can boost crop yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers or commercial manure applicators another window of time to apply manure to farm fields.

The manure research trial in Table 1 was conducted over six years at the Northwest Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center’s Hoytville station. The swine manure application rate was 5,000 gallons per acre to get 200 units of nitrogen. The dairy manure application rate was 13,577 gallons per acre to get 130 units of nitrogen. The dairy treatments received additional nitrogen as incorporated 28% UAN just prior to the manure application to reach the 200-unit goal. The 28% UAN treatments also received 200 units of nitrogen.

Pre-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure or dairy manure were made within five days of corn planting. Post-emergent applications of 28% UAN, swine manure and dairy manure were made at the V3 stage of corn growth. Manure applications were made with a 1,250-gallon tanker and Dietrich toolbar with sweeps. Incorporated manure placed at a depth of five inches. Surface manure was applied by using the Dietrich toolbar held just above ground level.

 

Table 1

Manure Sidedress of Corn Research Trial – Six Year Summary
2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Six-year average
Pre-emergent treatments Yield bu/ac Yield bu/ac Yield bu/ac Yield bu/ac Yield bu/ac Yield bu/ac Yield

bu/ac

Incorporated 28% UAN 138.1 111.5 184.6 145.1 130.8 140.9 142.6
Incorporated swine manure 191.9 128.6 191.8 146.5 161.9 162.0 158.2
Surface applied swine manure 180.9 109.5 175.7 137.2 110.3 125.5 131.6
Incorporated dairy manure + 28% UAN 190.1 132.0 185.4 166.1 146.3 163.7 158.7
Surface applied dairy manure + 28% UAN 184.5 97.0 166.0 141.9 106.4 122.1 126.7
Post-emergent treatments
Incorporated 28% UAN 132.7 116.0 181.9 140.9 140.1 145.1 144.8
Incorporated swine manure 180.8 138.4 196.7 139.9 158.5 183.7 163.4
Surface applied swine manure 178.0 116.4 188.0 115.6 114.6 153.1 137.5
Incorporated dairy manure + 28% UAN 180.0 138.8 192.0 156.9 167.5 167.7 164.6
Surface applied dairy manure + 28% UAN 170.5 101.6 181.5 125.3 111.6 156.1 135.2
Zero nitrogen check 74.4 62.6 82.0 67.0 40.2 48.7 60.1

 

Stand populations were approximately 31,000 plants per acre across all treatments. The manure did not appear to reduce the plot stands in any year. The 2011, 2012 and 2014 growing seasons experienced moderate to severe drought conditions and the crop in the manure treatments appeared to benefit from the moisture contained in the manure.

The incorporated manure treatments produced higher yields than the 28% UAN and the surface applied manure treatments. This is probably due to less nitrogen being lost when the manure was incorporated. Incorporation of manure can result in less nitrogen loss, less odor, and can reduce the loss of phosphorus from the fields.

A drag hose treatment (Table 2) was added in to determine what stand damage and potential yield loss may occur from the V1 to the V5 stage. A six-inch diameter drag hose, filled with water, was pulled across each plot twice (going in opposite directions) at corn growth stages one through five. The plot was replicated four times in a randomized block design.

 

Table 2

2014-2017 OARDC Drag Hose Damage Corn Plot Results
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017
Corn stage Stand Yield bu/ac Stand Yield bu/ac Stand Yield bu/ac Stand Yield bu/ac Four-year ave.
No drag hose 30,166 145.1 31,850 167.2 28,625 145.1 35,000 164.5 155.5
V1 29,660 154.3 31,750 166.1 28,625 149.5 35,125 161.5 157.9
V2 30,166 157.9 32,000 165.3 28,500 141.2 34,750 159.6 156.0
V3 28,933 153.9 31,375 172.3 29,250 144.4 34,875 172.1 160.7
V4 29,264 149.7 23,500 123.5 27,500 152.1 33,750 166.5 147.9
V5 15,366 109.8 16,000 126.3 25,250 122.2 119.4*

*Based on three years of data

The results of this four-year research study suggests corn could be sidedressed with liquid livestock manure using a drag hose up to growth stage V3 without a yield loss. Three out of the four years the V4 stage did not have a statistically significant yield drop either.

Harrod Farms in Darke County (Table 3) used a drag hose to apply swine finishing manure to their corn fields in the 2014-2017 growing seasons with great success. The corn was generally at the V3 stage of growth when the manure was incorporated as a sidedress although it was just spiking the first year in 2014.

Table 3.Harrod Farms Four-Year Manure Incorporation Drag Hose Corn Plots
Year Swine Finishing Manure 28% UAN
2017 165 145
2016 222 216
2015 154 121
2014 204 204
Average yield 186.3 171.5

 

The manure treatments have averaged 14.8 bushels per acre more than the 28% UAN treatments. They incorporated approximately 6,500 gallons of swine finishing manure per acre to provide all the sidedress nitrogen. Harrod Farms plants their corn fields at an angle to make the drag hose work. This way a hose humper is not needed. Thanks to the Ag Credit, Farm Credit Services, the Ohio Pork Producers Council, and the Ohio Dairy Research Fund for financially supporting manure research projects.

Additional on-farm manure sidedress plot results can be obtained by clicking on the On-farm Research link on the OSU Extension Agronomics Crops team website at http://agcrops.osu.edu/ or follow OSU extension’s manure research on Facebook at: Ohio State Extension Environmental and Manure Management.

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