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Managing manure nutrients through multi-crop forage production
- Concentrated sources of dairy manure represent significant water pollution potential. The southern United States may be more vulnerable to water quality problems than some other regions because of climate, typical farm size, and cropping practices. Dairy manure can be an effective source of plant nutrients and large quantities of nutrients can be recycled through forage production, especially when multi-cropping systems are utilized. Linking forage production with manure utilization is an environmentally sound approach for addressing both of these problems. Review of two triple-crop systems revealed greater N and P recoveries for a corn silage-bermudagrass hay-rye haylage system, whereas forage yields and quality were greater for a corn silage-corn silage-rye haylage system, when manure was applied at rates to supply N. Nutrient uptake was lower than application during the autumn-winter period, and bermudagrass utilized more of the remaining excess than a second crop of corn silage. Economic comparison of these systems suggests that the added value of the two corn silage crop system was not enough to off-set its increased production cost. Therefore, the system that included bermudagrss demonstrated both environmental and economic advantages. Review of the N and P uptake and calculated crop value of various single, double, and triple crop forage systems indicated that the per hectare economic value as well as the N and P uptakes tended to follow DM yields, and grasses tended to out-perform broadleaf forages. Taken across all systems, systems that included bermudagrass tended to have some of the highest economic values and uptakes of N and P. Manure applied at rates to supply N results in application of excess P, and production will not supply adequate quantities of forage to meet the herd's needs. Systems that lower manure application and supply supplemental N to produce all necessary forage under manure application will likely be less economically attractive due to additional costs of moving manure further and applying it to greater land areas, but will be environmentally necessary in most cases. Intensive forage systems can produce acceptable to high quality forage, protect the environment, and be economically attractive. The optimal manure-forage system will depend on the farm characteristics and specific local conditions. Buffers and nutrient sinks can protect streams and water bodies from migrating nutrients and should be included as a part of crop production systems.
Newton, G.L. , Bernard, J.K. , Hubbard, R.K. , Allison, J.R. , Lowrance, R.R. , Gascho, G.J. , Gates, R.N. , Vellidis, G.
dairy farm management , cattle manure , animal manure management , nutrient management , nitrogen , phosphorus , crop rotation , cropping sequence , pollution control , nonpoint source pollution , sustainable agriculture , good agricultural practices , forage production , cow feeding , production costs , riparian buffers , forage composition , Cynodon dactylon , hay , Zea mays , corn silage , Secale cereale , crop yield , plant nutrition , irrigated conditions , dryland farming , crop production , Southeastern United States
- Includes references
- Journal of dairy science 2003 June, v. 86, no. 6
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
- Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.