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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 153-165
    Received: May 14, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): Lloyd.owens@ars.usda.gov
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Effects of Winter Manure Application in Ohio on the Quality of Surface Runoff

  1. L. B. Owens *a,
  2. J. V. Bontaa,
  3. M. J. Shipitaloa and
  4. S. Rogersb
  1. a USDA–ARS, P.O. Box 488, Coshocton, OH 43812
    b Clarkson Univ., Potsdam, NY. Assigned to Associate Editor Rai Kookana


Winter application of manure poses environmental risks. Seven continuous corn, instrumented watersheds (approximately 1 ha each) at the USDA-ARS North Appalachian Experimental Watershed research station near Coshocton, Ohio were used to evaluate the environmental impacts of winter manure application when using some of the Ohio Natural Resources Conservation Service recommendations. For 3 yr on frozen, sometimes snow-covered, ground in January or February, two watersheds received turkey litter, two received liquid swine manure, and three were control plots that received N fertilizer at planting (not manure). Manure was applied at an N rate for corn; the target level was 180 kg N ha−1 with a 30-m setback from the application area to the bottom of each watershed. Four grassed plots (61 × 12 m) were used for beef slurry application (9.1 Mg ha−1 wet weight); two plots had 61 × 12 m grassed filter areas below them, and two plots had 30 × 12 m filter areas. There were two control plots. Nutrient concentrations were sometimes high, especially in runoff soon after application. However, most events with high concentrations occurred with low flow volumes; therefore, transport was minimal. Applying manure at the N rate for crop needs resulted in excess application of P. Elevated P losses contributed to a greater potential of detrimental environmental impacts with P than with N. Filter strips reduced nutrient concentrations and transport, but the data were too limited to compare the effectiveness of the 30- and 61-m filter strips. Winter application of manure is not ideal, but by following prescribed guidelines, detrimental environmental impacts can be reduced.

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