New Research to Examine Timing of Swine Manure Fertilizer Application

by 5m Editor
18 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1449. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1449

Research being conducted by the University of Manitoba will help determine the best time of year to apply swine manure fertilizer to get optimum forage yields.

The multi-disciplinary project will assess the environmental implications of applying swine manure to pasture and the nutritional value of the forage produced.

The work is being funded through several agencies, including the federal greenhouse gas initiative, the Manitoba Livestock Manure Management Initiative, MRAC and livestock commodity groups.

U of M Associate Professor Dr. Don Flaten says one component of the project will compare the performance of crops when manure is applied in the spring to when applications are split between the spring and the fall.

"One of the things that we're anxious to look at is the performance of the split application verses the whole application in the spring.

We'll be measuring the crop's uptake of nutrients and the animal's performance. We've got some plots that aren't going to be grazed so that we can look at what the plant is taking up in the absence of grazing.

We're also wanting to monitor the potential accumulation of phosphorus. If the manure is applied on its nitrogen content we'll often end up with a bit more phosphorus than what we require and we want to keep track of that too.

We're working with what we would probably regard as fairly safe rates of manure application. We're expecting that we can show manure application at those rates is both beneficial ergonomically and beneficial agronomically and doesn't present too many risks in terms of either public health, animal health or environmental health".

Dr. Flaten says a lot of the forage that grows at this particular site depends on early season growth to get a good vigorous start and fall application might help it get that good start in the spring.

He says, at the same time, there can be a fair bit of loss of manure nutrients over the winter and early spring so it'll be interesting to see which alternative is better.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor