Manure Management

31 Jan 2015, Posted by TJ Warkentin in Archived
Manure Management

It is late fall, harvest is complete and fall work is nearly done.  It is time to haul manure and get ready for your cattle herd to come home.  Where are you putting that manure?  On the same, most convenient field where manure has been applied for 5+ years?  Do you know how much N, P and K are potentially in that manure and in that field?  We all understand the 4R stewardship practices including Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time and Right Place.  A manure management plan is no different than using commercial fertilizer.  Let’s take a look at the 4R’s and how they apply to a solid manure management plan.

Right Source

Manure is a rich source of nutrients with N, P and K the most abundant.  Obviously the nutrient analysis will vary with the type of livestock operation, and forms of feed and bedding utilized.  The best way to find out your nutrient analysis of the manure is to send in samples.  360° Ag Consulting can obtain a proper representative sample for you to get precise results of nutrient component from the lab.

 Right Rate

The right rate of manure application depends on many factors.  You need:

  • crop plan and target yield to figure out uptake and removal of N and P
  • soil sample 0-6 inches and 6-24 inches
  • manure nutrient analysis
  • agriculture capability class and subclass
  • setbacks on fields – streams, rivers, drains, lakes, side slopes
  • animal units (A.U.) of your livestock production
  • manure storage systems and application systems

360° Ag Consulting will consider all factors and determine a proper fertilizer rate.

Right Time

The best time to apply manure is in the spring as close to crop uptake as possible.  Injection or broadcast and immediate incorporation will limit volatilization of ammonium N and loss of nutrients.

Right Place

Placement in manure management is vital to limiting nutrient losses.  In ground placement is the best scenario.  If broadcasting manure, limiting the days between broadcasting and incorporation is key.


Livestock manure is a valuable resource.  By using manure correctly as a fertilizer it can:

  • increase crop productivity and crop yield
  • provide N throughout the season (mineralization of organic N in manure)
  • increase microbial activity
  • increase organic matter

360° Ag Consulting believes in proper agronomic practices to help ensure the sustainable use of manure on your farm.  Proper manure management will maximize crop utilization and production while minimizing impacts on soil, water and air resources.