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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 2, p. 393-401
    Received: Apr 15, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): shabtai.bittman@agr.gc.ca
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Removing Solids Improves Response of Grass to Surface-Banded Dairy Manure Slurry: A Multiyear Study

  1. S. Bittman *a,
  2. D.E. Hunta,
  3. C.G. Kowalenkoa,
  4. M. Chantignyb,
  5. K. Buckleyc and
  6. F. Bounaixa
  1. a Pacific Agri-food Research Centre, Box 1000, Agassiz, BC, Canada V0M 1A0
    b Soils and Crops Research and Development Centre, Sainte Foy, QC, Canada G1V 2J3l
    c Brandon Research Centre, Box 1000A, Brandon, MB, Canada R7A 5Y3. Assigned to Associate Editor John Schmidt


Removing solids from slurry manure helps balance nutrients to plant needs and may increase soil infiltration rate to reduce loss of ammonia. The long-term effects of applying the separated liquid fraction (SLF) of dairy slurry with surface banding applicators are not well known. This 6-yr study compared the yield, N recovery, and stand persistence of tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) receiving SLF at 300 (SLF300) and 400 (SLF400) kg ha−1 yr−1 of total ammoniacal N (TAN); whole dairy slurry (WS) at 200 (WS200), 300 (WS300), and 400 (WS400) kg TAN ha−1 yr−1; and mineral fertilizer at 300 kg N ha−1 yr−1 The slurries were applied four times per year by surface banding, a technique that reduces ammonia emission and canopy contamination. Grass yield and N uptake were significantly higher for SLF300 than WS300 at equivalent rates of TAN. At similar total N, yield and N uptake were much greater for SLF than WS (2 Mg DM ha−1 and 75 kg N ha−1, respectively). Apparent total N recovery was 63% greater for SLF300 than WS300 due to less ammonia loss and less immobile N. The apparent recovery of total N was 31% higher for Fert300 than for SLF300. Yield and N uptake for SLF300 and WS300 were similar in Harvests 1 and 4, but SLF had higher values under hot and dry conditions in Harvests 2 and 3. Using SLF rather than WS will increase crop yield and allow higher application volumes near barns, which will reduce hauling costs.

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