New Manure Application Regulations Encourage Conservation of Nitrogen in Manure

CANADA - A researcher with the University of Manitoba says the shift from nitrogen based to nitrogen and phosphorus based limits on manure fertilizer application is encouraging producers to protect the nitrogen in the manure, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 28 June 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Manitoba recently imposed new regulations which require livestock manure applications to be limited to the amount of phosphorus contained in that manure as well as the amount of nitrogen.

Although the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus will vary, depending on the type of manure and whether it's a liquid based manure or if there's straw added, the ratio is typically lower than what the crops would require.

Canada research chair in applied soil ecology with the University of Manitoba Dr. Mario Tenuta told those attending Manure Management 2007 in Winnipeg the new regulations make it important to conserve the nitrogen.

Dr. Mario Tenuta-University of Manitoba

Going to a phosphorus based recommendation really means that producers really want to conserve the nitrogen in their manure so what can be done about that.

In the storage we can cover storages, as one example, to potentially prevent ammonia losses.

We can also, when applying to the land, consider getting the manure onto the land and into the soil as soon as possible is a really critical thing and another would be the timing.

When is that done in terms of the weather conditions?

Under very hot dry conditions we can promote volatilization.

That's the loss of ammonia particularly from manures and so applying during cool humid conditions and getting that manure into the ground would prevent those losses of ammonia.

Dr. Tenuta views the regulatory changes as an opportunity to tighten nutrient cycling and make sure those nutrients get to the plant and are not lost to the atmosphere or water.

He predicts new applications, technologies and practices in the next few years that will help producers retain those nutrients.

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