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Site-Specific Manure Application Effects on Corn Yield and Nitrogen Status

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Manure, a renewable resource, is an excellent source of nutrients that can be substituted for synthetic fertilizers. The organic matter in manure can enhance the physical and chemical properties of soils, especially infertile soils, as these soils typically contain low levels of organic matter and nutrients, and have low water holding capabilities. The application of manure to these relatively infertile and unproductive sites within a field, can restore the productivity of problem areas back to acceptable levels. The objective of this study was to evaluate manure application for improving crop yield and nitrogen (N) status in less productive areas within a field. The treatments included applications of site-specific manure (SSM), uniform manure (UM), uniform commercial fertilizer, and a no treatment check. Field strips 12.2 m wide (16 corn rows) and 680 m long were used in two years (1997 and 1998). Geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques were also used in this study to geo-reference the field and to compare aerial photography reflectance bands to corn grain yield and chlorophyll meter readings. For the SSM treatment, manure was applied to areas within the field where organic C was < 14 g kg-1. A uniform application of manure was made in December 1997 to both the UM and SSM strips since almost all the field had organic C < 14 g kg-1. In 1998 and 1999, chlorophyll meter readings and leaf tissue samples were collected from all treatments, and aerial photographs were taken several times during the growing season. In both years, the UM and SSM treatments produced significantly greater grain yields than the commercial fertilizer treatment (an average difference of 1160 kg ha-1). The UM and SSM treatments resulted in similar corn grain yield. The UM and SSM treatments also resulted in greater levels of N uptake than the commercial fertilizer treatment for both years. Residual soil nitrate for uniform manure was lower than fertilizer and site-specific manure (received N fertilizer in non-manure sections) treatments in 1999 indicating slow release of N from applied manure. Soil pH, EC and P level increased with manure application. The increase in soil P level was not high enough to have adverse effects on runoff water quality. Green reflectance, determined by analyzing aerial photographs of the corn canopy, had significant negative correlation coefficients with chlorophyll meter readings indicating usefulness of aerial photography for determination of plant N status. Green normalized difference vegetation index (GNDVI) values had similar correlation coefficients to the green band as those of the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Overall, the GNDVI and the green band demonstrated slightly higher correlation coefficients with chlorophyll meter readings than the NDVI. Site-specific manure application is a good method of improving less productive soils or sites within a field.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2000

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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