Assessing the nitrogen losses from late season application of liquid dairy manure - Interim report

Malcolm, Ian
Kollaard, William
Weil, Claude
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Queen's Printer for Ontario

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has sponsored a project to assess the effects of late fall application of liquid manure on tile drainage and surface runoff. Late fall application of manure could potentially be used as an important manure management tool if proven to be non-detrimental to the environment. It is more compatible with the production of certain crops (such as corn) which are harvested late in the year, it would allow tankers to get onto the fields when the ground is firm enough to carry the weight, and it may also provide the added benefit of having the manure nutrients readily available for uptake by the plant in the spring. Thirteen independently drained, hydraulically isolated plots were installed on the Alfred College campus for the purpose of testing the effects of manure application regimes on nitrogen concentrations in tile drainage and surface runoff. Surface and subsurface drains from each plot lead into a monitoring station equipped with tipping buckets (for measuring flow) connected to a data logger which also serves as a controller for peristaltic pumps which are used for sample collection. To test late season application, manure was spread on ten plots on December 23 and three plots were left as controls. Samples will be analyzed over the winter and spring of 1997. In the spring, three different crops will be planted on four plots each. Funding is currently being solicited from a number of sources to extend the sampling regime for at least another year so that the effects of crop uptake can be observed. This project responds to the Ontario Dairy Research and Services Committee research priority recommendation 7: To support research to assess manure handling systems minimize environmental impact. The idea for the project came from the industry (OFA and OSCIA).

Green Plan
Environmental Farm Plans
liquid manure, tile drainage, surface runoff, application timing, nitrogen