Surface Application of Manure to Newly Planted Wheat Fields

Manure Application to Wheat

By Glen Arnold, Manure and Nutrient Management Specialist, OSU

Several livestock producers have inquired about applying liquid dairy or swine manure to newly planted wheat fields using a drag hose. The thought process is that the fields are firm (dry), there is very little rain in the nearby forecast, and the moisture in the manure could help with wheat germination and emergence.

The manure nutrients could easily replace the commercial fertilizer normally applied in advance of planting wheat. The application of fall-applied livestock manure to newly planted or growing crops can reduce nutrient losses compared to fall-applied manure without a growing crop.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted wheat. It’s important that the wheat seeds were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating wheat seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so we don’t grow soil phosphorus levels beyond what is acceptable. Continue reading

Battle for Lake Erie includes debate over manure-based phosphorus concentration

8/31/2020
BY TOM HENRY / THE BLADE

A major agronomic debate is being played out in Columbus now, which has potentially large ramifications for western Lake Erie and goes beyond simply looking at the staggering volumes of liquid and solid excrement produced by northwest Ohio cows, hogs, and chickens.

It focuses on the minutia of agricultural science, right down to the parts per million of phosphorus applied to soil in the form of manure.

One of the many groups raising questions is the Lake Erie Foundation, a consortium of Lake Erie-area business and environmental interests. That group and others, including Lake Erie Waterkeeper, want manure-based phosphorus applications dialed down to roughly the same concentration as commercially made, synthetic fertilizers, which is about 40 to 50 parts per million. Manure has for years been applied on northwest Ohio crop farms at much higher concentrations, usually 150 ppm. Some critics, though, claim the application rate has, in reality, gotten as high as 200 ppm to 250 ppm.

From information gathered in a public records request, the foundation believes the state of Ohio has rejected a recommendation from an independent consultant, McKinsey & Co., to promote 50 ppm as a limit for manure, even though Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture director, showed support for that in 2019. The firm was paid $1.5 million to provide advice to the DeWine administration for its H2Ohio program, which aims to improve water quality statewide through better farming techniques, more and improved wetlands, better pipelines, and other measures. Continue reading

Updated Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations Available

Evaluating Fertilizer Purchase Decisions: Frequently Asked QuestionsThe authors of the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa include Steve Culman, Anthony Fulford, James Camberato, Kurt Steinke, Laura Lindsey, Greg LaBarge, Harold Watters, Ed Lentz, Ryan Haden, Eric Richer, Bethany Herman, Nicole Hoekstra, Peter Thomison, Rich Minyo, Anne Dorrance, Jeff Rutan, Darryl Warncke, Cassandra Brown

The Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa was first published in 1995 and has served as a cornerstone in nutrient management in field crops for Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. As crop production practices in this region changed over the past 25 years, many questioned if these nutrient management guidelines were still relevant today.

In 2014, work began to revise and update the nutrient management recommendations in corn, soybeans, and wheat. Over 300 on-farm trials were conducted across 34 Ohio counties, including trials evaluating crop response to N, P, K, and S. It was a tremendous collective effort with the ultimate goal of providing objective information to farmers to manage nutrients as judiciously and profitably as possible.

The recommendations have been comprehensively revised and updated. A summarized version can be found online: go.osu.edu/fert-recs

There is a menu at the bottom of this webpage that will allow users to view the topics of interest, including an executive summary that provides the highlights. The full version of the recommendations is being finalized at OSU Extension Publishing and a downloadable pdf and printed bulletin will be available soon.

Ohio Agricultural Law Blog–Legal defenses for agricultural production activities

Written by Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

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