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Manure

Manure is one of the most important types of organic fertilizers. It has a complex effect on the soil, replenishes the stock of mobile forms of nutrients in the soil, improves the circulation of macro- and microelements in the soil-plant system. A significant portion of the nutrients used by plants from the soil and from the applied mineral fertilizers, with feed and bedding goes to feed the livestock, passes into the manure, with which returns to the soil.

Importance of manure

The importance of manure is manifested through its effect on soil and cultivated plants directly and indirectly:

  • enriches the soil with nutrients, carbon dioxide in the soil and supra-soil air, microorganisms and organic matter;
  • improves physical-chemical properties and structure of soils;
  • increases cation exchange capacity (CEC), buffer, the degree of saturation with bases and the content of mobile forms of nutrients, reduces acidity and the content of mobile forms of aluminum and manganese;
  • improves soil fertility;
  • increases crop yields and the quality of agricultural products;
  • water and air regimes are improved.

Effects of manure on soil

According to generalization of A.D. Khlystovsky (1992), for 55-65 years on uncultivated sod-podzolic heavy loam soil of Dolgoprudny agrochemical experimental station named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, doses of litter manure on average 9 t/ha per year led to 2-fold increase in yields of winter rye and wheat and potatoes. D.N. Pryanishnikov doses of litter manure averaged 9 t/ha per year led to a 2-fold increase in yields of winter rye and wheat, potatoes, oats, and grasses compared with unfertilized control. The average annual productivity of the crop rotation was 2.3-2.6 t/ha of grain units and 2.8-3.0 t/ha of grain units at doses of 15 t/ha.

The application of bedding manure at the dose of 12 t/ha annually during 52 years had the neutralizing effect on soil acidity which was equal to 100 kg/ha CaCO3, reduced in the 0-20 cm layer compared to the control hydrolytic and exchange acidity on 0,5 mg-eq/100 g, aluminum content twice, increased the sum of absorbed bases on more than 1 mg-eq/100 g soil, saturation degree of bases – on 10%. Neutralizing effect of manure was also manifested in the subsoil horizon (20-40 cm).

Increasing the saturation of crops with manure and the transition to a systematic application of increasing doses improves agrochemical indicators, fertility and cultivation of poor sod-podzolic soil. In combination with the systematic application of high doses of lime turns poor soil into a fertile soil, which does not differ in agrochemical indicators from chernozems. However, as a rule, such a strong increase in fertility is economically unprofitable, environmentally dangerous. Taking into account economic opportunities it is advisable to increase the fertility of poor specific soils to the optimal level, ensuring the maximum productivity of crops of good quality with the scientifically sound application of fertilizers and ameliorants.

Table. Agrochemical indicators of soil in the state farm "Gribovo" at different degrees and duration of its fertilization with manure (V.A. Frantsesson)

Soil samples
S
Hг
ЕКО
V, %
pHsalt
Mobile P2O5
Exchange К2O
mg⋅eq/100 g of soil
mg/kg
Uncultivated (from under the forest)
6,6
5,5
12,1
54
4,2
23
140
A field (little fertilized with manure)
8,0
4,6
12,7
63
4,5
45
-
Household plot (systematically applied manure)
14,5
4,3
18,8
77
5,3
195
190
Garden (heavily manured)
18,7
2,8
21,5
86
5,5
900
612
Old garden (long and heavily manured)
44,4
0,4
44,8
99
6,8
1920
805

Positive effect of manure on physical and chemical properties of soils is confirmed by numerous experimental data obtained in different soil and climatic zones of the country.

Under the influence of organic matter of manure, microbiological processes in the soil are activated, which increases the solubility and availability of nutrients to plants. Under the influence of microbiological processes that decompose fiber, the content of available forms of phosphate in red soil increased by 2-3 times. Under the influence of products of vital activity of microorganisms insoluble phosphates of calcium, iron, aluminum turn into soluble compounds. Manure affects the biological activity of soil, nitrification capacity and proteolytic activity.

Table. Comparative effect of systematic (7 years) application of manure and mineral fertilizers on water-physical properties of ordinary black earth[1]Agrochemistry. Textbook / V.G. Mineev, V.G. Sychev, G.P. Gamzikov et al; ed. by V.G. Mineev. - M.: Publishing house of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, … Continue reading

Experience options
Filtration capacity, mm/min*
Total moisture capacity, % of abs. dry soil**
Productive moisture, mm**
Water-permeable soil aggregates content 0.25 mm per abs. dry soil
Control
1,06
46,7
31,4
44,2
Manure, 50 т/га
1,72
54,1
37,7
51,3
Manure, 100 т/га
2,18
58,3
41,3
55,3
NPK equivalent of 50 tons of manure
1,12
48,0
32,5
45,1
NPK equivalent of 100 tons of manure
1,22
47,1
31,5
45,2

Note. *For soil layer 0-10 cm.

**For soil layer 0-20 cm.

Manure is of particular importance in areas of the Non-Black Earth zone of Russia, whose soils are poor in humus and contain few nutrients.

Nutrient content of manure

The availability of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium of manure to plants depends on the type and quality, soil properties and climatic conditions of the area. Manure contains all the necessary nutrients, but in different amounts and forms. Since plants consume mineral forms, their availability depends on the initial content of mineral forms and the rate of mineralization of organic forms of elements.

Total nitrogen of manure is assimilated by the first fertilized crop in 3 times worse than from mineral fertilizers, phosphorus – 1,5-2,0 times better, potassium – the same as from mineral fertilizers. Therefore, to obtain a high yield of crops with the introduction of manure, it is necessary to make additional nitrogen fertilizer.

For example, the total content in the half-digested manure nitrogen – 0,5%, phosphorus – 0,25%, potassium – 0,6% and the dose of application of 20 t/ha into the soil will be 100 kg/ha of nitrogen, 50 kg/ha of phosphorus and 120 kg/ha of potassium. In the first year the cultures assimilate respectively: nitrogen (30%) – 30 kg/ha, phosphorus (35%) – 17.5 kg/ha and potassium (60%) – 72 kg/ha at a ratio N : P2O5 : K2O equal to 1.7 : 1 : 4,1.

The vast majority of crops, with the exception of potassium-loving crops, consume more nitrogen, then potassium and least of all phosphorus to obtain good quality yields:

  • cereals 2.8 : 1 : 1 : 1.9;
  • grasses 3.5 : 1 : 3.0;
  • groats 3 : 1 : 3;
  • leguminous crops 5 : 1 : 2;
  • spinners 2.0 : 1 : 1 : 1.5.

Potassium-loving crops have a predominance of potassium over nitrogen intake, the N:P:K ratio being, respectively:

  • potatoes 3 : 1 : 4;
  • root crops 3-4 : 1 : 4-6;
  • sunflower 2 : 1 : 6-7.

The above data also indicate the need to supplement manure application with nitrogen fertilizers.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen from organic compounds as a result of ammonification is converted into ammonium or nitrified to nitrates. Under conditions of high soil moisture and lack of oxygen in an alkaline environment, denitrification and formation of molecular nitrogen can occur, which is irretrievably lost to the atmosphere. When manure is handled properly, nitrogen losses through denitrification are dramatically reduced.

The nitrogen content and forms of nitrogen in the manure of each animal species are determined by the ratio of solid, liquid excreta and bedding material. Nitrogen from feces and litter contains slowly decomposing nitrogen compounds, so it is little available to plants in the first year, while urine is easily soluble, quickly transforming into ammonia and available to plants immediately after application. The more urine and ammonia the litter absorbs, the higher the content of total and ammonia nitrogen, so manure on peat litter or stored or covered with peat is most rich in total and ammonia nitrogen. In semi-prepared manure of dense storage the content of total nitrogen ranges from 0.3 to 1.0% depending on the type of animals and quality of feed, and of ammonia nitrogen – from 20 to 40% of total nitrogen, depending on the type and quantity of bedding.

In the first year, plants assimilate an average of 20-30% of the total nitrogen in the manure. This depends on the content of the ammonia form of nitrogen and on the ratio between soluble and protein nitrogen, the amount of carbohydrates in the manure, the time between application and the beginning of intensive consumption by crops. A large amount of carbohydrates promotes the development of microflora, which also consumes ammonia nitrogen of manure, so its assimilation by plants is less. When you apply manure in the pair or under the main autumn tillage, it decomposes more completely and the crops assimilate more nitrogen than in the presowing and spring application.

Compared with mineral fertilizers, the total nitrogen of the manure of the first culture absorbed by 3 times less, but provides nutrition for plants with this element of culture for 3-4 years, sometimes longer, depending on the dose, quality of manure, soil and climatic conditions.

Utilization of litter manure nitrogen in the first year is most significant (30% of total, on average) from sheep (goat) manure, less from horse (20%) and cattle manure (18%), minimum (10%) from pig manure, although with abundant fattening pigs nitrogen utilization in the first year may exceed 20% of total.

Plants assimilate nitrogen from sheep manure, which contains little water and a lot of nitrogen, the fastest.

Phosphorus

Due to the organic matter of manure, microbiological processes in the soil are enhanced, resulting in increased solubility and availability of mineral nutrients to plants. Thus, insoluble phosphates of calcium, iron, aluminum turn into mobile forms. Phosphorus consumed by microorganisms and fixed in the plasma when they die off, passes into compounds assimilated by plants.

Increased mobility of insoluble phosphates can occur as a result of interaction with humic and other organic acids. Therefore, phosphorus applied with manure is more mobile. For example, in sod-podzolic soil phosphorus accumulated due to systematic application of manure in crop rotation is less bound by R2O3-type oxides of iron and aluminum than when applying mineral fertilizers. In poor organic matter gray soils manure partially prevents the fixation of residual phosphorus carbonates. Acidifying effect of nitrogen-potassium fertilizers in an alkaline environment is not manifested. Under these conditions, phosphorus accumulated from long-term application of manure is more mobile than phosphorus accumulated from the use of mineral fertilizers.

The main mass of residual phosphate accumulates in the upper soil layers (0-20, 20-40 cm). In some cases, penetration of phosphorus into deeper layers is observed.

The content of mobile phosphorus in the soil (according to Kirsanov) with the application of manure already in 4 years in the arable layer increased by 12 mg/kg compared with the control without fertilizers. In 52 years, the difference was at a dose of 9 t/ha of manure – 16 mg/kg, at a dose of 15 t/ha of manure – 24 mg/kg. At the same time, mobility of phosphate increased. In 40 years, similar changes in the content of mobile forms and mobility of phosphate were found in the subsoil horizon.

Most of the phosphorus in manure is in the solid excreta of animals and litter and is assimilated by the plant as they become mineralized. Organic matter of manure prevents chemical fixation of mineralized phosphorus in soil, allows it to remain in digestible forms for plants longer. Therefore, in the first year after the application of equivalent doses of phosphorus of manure plants assimilate 1.5-2.0 times more (on average 35% of total, sometimes up to 50-55%), than from mineral fertilizers.

Plant assimilation of phosphorus of manure, depending on its dose and quality, as well as soil and climatic conditions lasts 3-4 years. Moreover, the initial advantage of manure phosphorus over mineral fertilizers decreases over time.

Potassium

Potassium in all components of litter manure is in mobile and plant-available forms. Potassium of manure is assimilated by plants in the first year in the same way as from equivalent doses of mineral fertilizers. Its total effect in the manure for an average of 3-4 years, with increasing doses and fertile soils – more than 4 years. Duration of potassium action of manure and mineral fertilizers in equivalent doses for several years is close or with some advantage of manure, depends on the cultivated crops, fertilizer doses and soil and climatic conditions.

Systematic application of manure and liming reduces the mobility of potassium, as it leads to its consolidation in the soil. In black soils due to nitrification processes that reduce the content of ammonium, and hence its competitive ability. The application of manure on black soils, as well as on sod-podzolic soils, contributes to the accumulation of exchangeable potassium compared with mineral fertilizers, at the same time increasing the processes of fixation of potassium in the non-exchangeable form. Exchangeable potassium in black soils is less mobile, and with the use of manure, its mobility decreases, whereas from mineral fertilizers – increases.

On gray soils, the systematic application of fertilizers leads to an increase in exchangeable and non-exchangeable potassium. Soil leaching regime contributes to the accumulation of these forms of potassium in the soil profile to a depth of 1 m. Differences in the effect of manure and mineral fertilizers are manifested in changes in the mobility of exchangeable potassium: against the background of manure mobility decreases, against the background of mineral fertilizers increases.

During 52 years, the average dose of manure of 9 t/ha increased, compared with control without fertilizers, the content of exchangeable potassium in the arable layer by 15-36 mg/kg, at a dose of 15 t/ha for 18-20 years – 31-52 mg/kg. In the subsoil horizon (20-40 cm) the content of exchangeable potassium in 40 years increased by 100 mg/kg, in 50 years – by 120 mg/kg.

In the first year the plants assimilate 60-70% of potassium introduced with the manure.

Carbon, calcium, magnesium, sulfur

The decomposition of organic matter in manure mineralizes at least 70% of the carbon, which is converted into carbon dioxide; the remaining 30% is spent on the new formation of humus. Carbon dioxide, dissolving in soil solution, increases mobility of soil phosphate and calcium, which improves plant nutrition with these elements, calcium also improves soil structure. For example, during decomposition of 30-40 tons of manure, 35-55 (according to other sources, 100-200) kg of carbon dioxide is emitted daily, which enriches the near-ground atmospheric air and improves air nutrition of plants. All stalked crops, for example, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, with a dense herbage completely absorb the emitted soil carbon dioxide. This is especially important for crops grown in indoor conditions. Cereal yields of 4.0-4.5 t/ha require 180-200 kg of carbon dioxide daily.

Yield gains from manure as a source of carbon dioxide, applied at a dose of 20-30 t/ha for vegetable and row crops, reach 30-40%. Application of 60 t/ha of manure to cucumbers on sandy loam soil increased yield by 43%, 20% of which was due to carbon dioxide from the decomposition of the manure. Additional carbon dioxide increased sugar beet root yield by 24% and sugar yield by 25%.

Availability to plants of calcium, magnesium, sulfur, trace elements from manure, as a rule, is not worse than from mineral fertilizers. The duration of assimilation depends on the dose and quality of manure, composition and productivity of crops, soil and climatic conditions.

Micronutrients

Manure is a source of micronutrients. When it is applied, the soil is less impoverished with micronutrients when high yields are obtained than when mineral fertilizers are used. The content of micronutrients in manure varies widely.

Table. The content of micronutrients in the litter manure[2]Agrochemistry. Textbook / V.G. Mineev, V.G. Sychev, G.P. Gamzikov et al; ed. by V.G. Mineev. - M.: Publishing house of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, … Continue reading

Micronutrients
Content, g/20 tons of manure
minimum
maximum
average
Boron
22,5
260,0
101,0
Manganese
375,0
2745,0
1005,5
Cobalt
1,25
23,50
5,20
Copper
38,0
204,0
78,0
Zinc
215,0
1235,0
481,0
Molybdenum
4,2
20,9
10,3

Source of soil humus

The content of humus in the systematically manured soil more than 50 years as compared with the control without fertilizers in 15 years was higher in the arable horizon by more than 0,2% of carbon, total nitrogen – by 0,02-0,05%, in the subsoil horizon (20-40 cm) carbon – 0,04-0,05% higher, nitrogen – by 0,02-0,05%.

In the conditions of intensive agriculture it is impossible to achieve a deficit-free balance of humus in the soil without the use of organic fertilizers. With the systematic application of manure in the rotation humus content increases on all types of soils. Mineral fertilizers have little effect on the accumulation of humus and nitrogen, as the source of humus in the application of mineral fertilizers are mainly root and crop residues.

Depending on the soil type, long-term fertilizer application affects humus and nitrogen accumulation differently. For example, on humus-poor sod-podzolic soils this process is more noticeable. The low humus content of gray soils allows you to increase the humus content of the soil through organic fertilizers. On humus-rich chernozem soils, fertilizers provide a smaller increase in yield.

The composition of humus in different soils changes little with long-term use of fertilizers, the increase in carbon content is accompanied by the accumulation of all groups of humus substances. The ratio between humic and fulvic acids is a characteristic feature of a particular genetic soil type. The lack of influence of fertilizers on this indicator is due to the fact that the group composition of humus is characterized by fully humified soil organic compounds. Fertilizers affect the organic matter of the soil, which is in the early stages of humification.

For example, on sod-podzolic soils in 36 years systematic application of manure increased the content of water soluble humus by 17-34%, on slightly leached chernozem – by 5-18%, on typical gray soil – by 23-50% compared with control. These mobile organic substances are in the early stages of humification and enrich the soil with available nitrogen compounds. In soils with low humus content, water-soluble humus was accumulated more in long-term application of manure.

Accumulation of mobile humus substances manifested with prolonged application of fertilizers also on black soils. This is explained by mobilization of humus in chernozem soils due to acidifying effect of mineral fertilizers. Thus, long-term use of manure and mineral fertilizers enriches soils poor in organic matter with total carbon and nitrogen and increases the content of mobile forms of organic matter in all types of soils in the early stages of humification.

When calculating the balance of humus in the soil organic matter formed by humification of manure, as well as formed by root and crop residues of plants is taken into account. Annual replenishment of humus in soils from stubble and root residues of crops depends on the soil and climatic zone, the biological characteristics of plants, yields. For example, in the Non-Black Soil zone after cereals the humus is replenished on the average by 0.4 t/ha, on chernozems of the European part – by 0.5-0.7 t/ha, in the Urals, Siberia and the Far East – by 0.3 t/ha. Row crops replenish humus reserves on average 2 times less than cereals. Perennial grasses on rainfed soils – by 0.5-1 t/ha, with irrigation – more.

Manure humification coefficient depends on soil and climatic zone, agrotechnique, irrigation, dry matter content in manure, type of manure. In general, it is 15-30% per dry matter. The coefficient of humification of plant residues of cereal crops and perennial grasses is equal to the coefficient of humification of litter manure, and that of tilled crops – half as much. Knowing doses of manure application in the crop rotation it is possible to calculate humus accumulation in the soil.

Annual humus mineralization depends on soil and climatic conditions, cropping pattern, intensity of tillage, and level of chemicalization. Soils under cereal crops annually lose 0.5-1 t/ha of humus; under row crops – 0.8-3 t/ha. Maximum humus mineralization occurs in clean fallows – up to 3-5 t/ha. Mineralization of humus is more on soils of light granulometric composition and with irrigation.

Introduction of organic fertilizers improves the nitrogen regime of soils, as 1 gramme of carbon is spent on fixation by microorganisms of 15-20 to 20-40 mg of atmospheric nitrogen.

Litterless manure is a source of easily soluble nutrients for plants, increases humus and nitrogen content in soil. However, the organic matter of litterless manure differs from littered manure and straw in composition and humus reproduction capacity. The C:N ratio in litterless manure has values from 5:1 to 10:1. Litterless manure is characterized by a high content of easily degradable organic compounds. Therefore, it has less effect on humus reproduction than litter manure.

Litter manure

Composition of manure

Litter manure consists of solid and liquid animal excreta and bedding. The excrements contain about 40-50% of organic matter and nitrogen, 60-70% of phosphorus and potassium of their initial content in the feed.

Table. Composition of litter manure[3]Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Y.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Animal species
Number of excrements from 1 head of livestock per day
solids, kg
liquid, l
ratio of solids to liquids
Cattle:
- adult
20-30
10-15
2,0
- juveniles up to 1.5 years old
10-20
5-6
2,0
- calves up to 6 months old
3-5
1,5-2,0
2,3
Pigs
1,2-2,2
2,5-4,4
0,5
Sheep
1,5-2,5
0,6-1,0
2,5
Horses
15-20
4-6
3,5

The composition of litter manure depends on the amount, ratio of solid and liquid excreta of animals and litter, which in turn are different for different species (and age) of animals.

Horses, sheep and cattle have more solid excreta than pigs. Solid and liquid excreta are unequal in composition and fertilizer value: more than 95% of phosphorus is contained in solid, 50 to 75% of nitrogen and more than 80-90% of potassium in liquid excreta. The content of dry matter in animal excreta is on average about half of the dry matter of feed, and the content of nitrogen and ash elements can be 1,5-2,0 times higher than in feed.

When concentrated feeds with higher digestibility than hay are introduced into animal diets, the excreta will contain less dry matter and the nitrogen and phosphorus content will be higher.

Table. Content (%) of dry substances and nutrients in solid and liquid excreta of animals[4]Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Yu.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Animal species
Dry matter
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
MgO
SO4
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
solids
liquid
Cattle
16
6
0,29
0,58
0,17
< 0,01
0,10
0,49
0,34
0,01
0,13
0,04
0,04
0,13
Pigs
18
3
0,60
0,49
0,41
0,07
0,26
0,83
0,09
< 0,01
1,10
0,07
0,04
0,08
Sheep
35
13
0,55
1,95
0,31
0,01
0,15
2,26
0,46
0,16
0,15
0,34
0,14
0,30
Horses
24
10
0,44
1,55
0,35
< 0,01
0,35
1,50
0,15
0,45
0,12
0,24
0,06
0,06

The excrements of cattle and pigs contain less dry matter and nutrients than those of horses and sheep. Therefore, the excrements of sheep and horses decompose faster, give out a lot of heat during storage, and the manure of these animals is called hot, pigs and cattle – cold. Hot manure is used to fill greenhouses, to make insulated beds, and as biofuel.

Quality of manure depends on conditions and duration of storage: during long storage the relative content of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium increases as a result of decomposition of organic matter. Due to the fact that the chemical composition of manure varies, it is desirable to determine the chemical composition of manure before application in order to correctly determine the dose. Otherwise, reference data is used.

Nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur in solid excreta of all animals are part of various organic compounds and become available to plants only after mineralization. In liquid excreta all nutrients are in easily mineralizable and soluble forms, and quickly under the influence of microorganisms become available to plants. Potassium, calcium, magnesium in solid and liquid excreta are in mobile, assimilable forms for plants.

Solid excreta are rich in microorganisms: up to 30% of the total mass, while liquid excreta may not contain them at all, but mixed with solid ones, they are quickly enriched with microorganisms present in the environment.

Manure quality and chemical composition depend on type of feed, ration, type of animal, amount and type of bedding, and storage method. For example, when fattening animals with a large amount of concentrated feed in the diet, the manure has a high content of nutrients compared with the manure of animals receiving silage, root crops and coarse fodder with high fiber content. About 40% organic matter, 50% nitrogen, 80% phosphorus and 25% potassium are transferred from the feed intake to the manure.

Table. Chemical composition of fresh manure on straw litter[5]Agrochemistry. Textbook / V.G. Mineev, V.G. Sychev, G.P. Gamzikov et al; ed. by V.G. Mineev. - M.: Publishing house of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, … Continue reading

Components
Manure
cattle
horse
sheep
pig
Water
77,3
71,3
64,6
72,4
Organic matter
20,3
25,4
31,8
25,0
Nitrogen (N) total
0,45
0,58
0,83
0,45
- protein
0,28
0,35
-
-
- ammonia
0,14
0,19
-
0,20
Phosphorus (P2O5)
0,28
0,28
0,23
0,19
Potassium (K2O)
0,50
0,63
0,67
0,60
Lime (CaO)
0,40
0,21
0,33
0,18
Magnesia (MgO)
0,11
0,14
0,18
0,09
Sulfuric acid (SO3)
0,06
0,07
0,15
0,08
Chlorine
0,10
0,04
0,17
0,17
Silicic acid (SiO2)
0,85
1,77
1,47
1,08
Al and Fe oxides (P2O3)
0,05
0,11
0,24
0,07

Litter

The quality of manure depends on the chemical composition and absorption capacity of litter, which favors conditions for microorganisms and fecal decomposition. The litter’s ability to absorb liquids and gases is important. The quality of manure depends largely on the nitrogen and ash content of the litter. The highest nitrogen content is characteristic of peat litter and legume straw, the latter also contains the highest amount of phosphorus.

The best litter material is highland peat. It has a small ash content (1.5-3%), a high ability to absorb liquids and gases: 1 kg of highland peat can absorb 9-18 kg of water, 15-30 g of ammonia, while 1 kg of straw – 2-3 kg of water and 2-5 g of ammonia. The use of peat litter in livestock yards reduces the concentration of ammonia and carbon dioxide in the air by 2.5 times and reduces the relative humidity of the room from 100 to 75%. Peat litter improves zootechnical conditions of cattle housing and increases manure yield, reduces nitrogen losses. An increase in litter up to 8-10 kg per day increases the yield of manure and nitrogen losses are reduced to zero; 1 ton of dry peat litter provides an additional 5-7 tons of manure with high nitrogen content.

It is better to use chopped straw for litter up to 10-15 cm, as it contributes to better absorption of urine, homogeneity of manure, its uniform distribution in the field and ploughing. Efficiency of manure on chopped straw litter is 20-30% higher than manure on whole straw litter. If there is a shortage of straw and high-moor (sphagnum) peat, dry peat crumbs of transitional or lowland peat with a degree of decomposition not exceeding 25% and humidity not exceeding 40-45% are used as litter.

Using sawdust as litter produces low quality manure with little nitrogen content, but large amounts of slowly decomposing fiber. Such manure is better suited as biofuel in indoor vegetable production, the following year for field crops.

Litter is part of the manure, increasing its quantity, and affects, depending on the type and quantity on the chemical composition and loss of nutrients. Litter absorbs liquid excreta of animals and ammonia formed during decomposition of urine, reducing the loss of nitrogen, potassium and other soluble substances and gases. Litter reduces the moisture content of excreta, making them more friable, which facilitates their microbiological decomposition, facilitates loading, transportation, application and embedding.

Litter materials differ in nutrient content and absorption capacity.

Table. Average content (%) of water, nutrients and absorption capacity of litter materials[6]Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Y.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Вид подстилки
H2O
N
P2O5
K2O
CaO
Absorption
H2O, т/т
NH3, г/кг
Straw of:
- cereals
14,3
0,5
0,25
1,0
0,30
1,8-3,0
0,8-3,7
- legumes
16,0
1,50
0,35
0,6
1,60
2,8-3,3
5-8
Peat:
- lowland
25,0
2,30
0,26
0,15
3,00
4,0-7,5
8-18
- raised
30,0
1,00
0,10
0,06
0,25
9,0-18,0
15-30
Tree leaves
14,0
1,10
0,25
0,30
2,00
2,0-4,0
-
Sawdust wood
25,0
0,20
0,30
0,74
1,08
4,2-4,5
2-4

Peat and straw have the highest absorption capacity, and peat contains more nitrogen than cereal straw. Manure on straw litter is called straw litter, on peat litter – peat (peaty) manure.

When peat and straw are scarce (or absent), and for hygienic and economic reasons, leaves and sawdust may be used as litter. The quality of manure deteriorates: fiber and lignin content increases, with sawdust additional nitrogen content decreases. Such manure takes longer to decompose and is less effective in the first year after application.

The best litter is high-moor peat with a degree of decomposition up to 25-30% and moisture content of 30-40%. More decomposed and moist peat absorbs less liquid secretions, drier peat absorbs poorly and takes a long time to be wetted. The advantage of high-moor peat over transitional and low-moor peat is also due to its more acidic reaction, which suppresses pathogens (anthrax, brucellosis, paratyphoid, E. coli pathogens).

Average daily norms of litter materials per 1 head of livestock depends on the type of animals, quantity and quality of feed consumed and logistical capabilities.

Table. Average daily doses of bedding (kg) per 1 cattle (data from All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry)

Animal species
Cereal straw
Raised peat
Peat crumb (transitional, lowland)
Sawdust, wood shavings
Cattle
- adults
4-6
3-4
10-20
3-6
- calves
2-3
1,5-2
5-10
2-3
Pigs
1-3
0,5-2,0
2-3
1,5-3
Sheep, goats
0,5-1,0
-
-
-
Horses
3-5
2-3
8-10
2-4

With an increase in the ration of succulent feed, such as green mass, root crops, silage, the amount of litter increases, with an increase in the proportion of concentrated feed – reduce. The amount of manure depends on the type of animals, length of stabling period, quantity and quality of feed and bedding materials, terms and methods of manure storage.

Calculation of litter manure yield

The amount of manure accumulated on a farm is determined by the number of livestock, the length of stabling period, and the amount of litter and feed. Low manure yields are often associated with low application of litter, poorly organized collection and storage of manure. The use of straw for litter leads to increased accumulation of manure, increasing its quality and improving zoohygienic conditions of animal housing. With abundant feeding cows with an average annual milk yield of 4000-4500 kg of manure with daily use of 20 kg of lowland peat in the litter is 11-12 tons of one cow per year.

According to the data of the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry, during 200-day stabling period 7 t of straw manure and 8 t of peat manure are received from 1 cattle head at daily dose of 2 kg of litter. At the same time, nitrogen losses for 3.5 months of storage from the first one amounted to 44%, from the second one – 25%. With an increase in daily litter norms to 4 kg for the same period the yield of straw manure was 8 tons, peat manure – 9 tons, nitrogen losses for the period of storage from the first was 31%, from the second – 14%. Increasing daily litter rates to 6 kg increased the yield of straw manure to 9 tons, peat manure to 10 tons, reduced nitrogen losses during storage from the first to 13%, from the second to 3%.

The amount of manure decreases as the stable period decreases.

Total yield of fresh manure in the farm is approximately determined according to the table with further recalculation on the number of animals.

Table. Approximate yield of straw manure (t) from one head of cattle at different duration of stabling period[7] Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Yu.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Animal species
Duration of stable period, days
240-220
220-200
200-180
less than 180
Cattle
9-10
8-9
6-8
4-5
Pigs
1,5-2,0
1,2-1,7
1,0-1,5
0,8-1,2
Horses
7-8
5-6
4-5
3-4
Sheep, goats
0,8-1,0
0,7-0,9
0,6-0,7
0,4-0,5

The yield of manure H can be calculated using Wolf’s formula:

Wolff's formula

where K/2 is half of the dry matter of fodder transferred to manure; W is the dry weight of litter; 4 is a coefficient showing that the water content of manure is 4 times greater than the dry matter of fodder and litter.

There are also other ways of calculating manure yield. For example, in France, the amount of manure is determined by multiplying the weight of the herd by a coefficient of 25.

The amount of manure varies depending on how and how long it is stored. When manure is loose, in 3-4 months manure loses 33-50% of dry matter, when it is tight – only up to 10%. Volume weight of manure also varies depending on method of stacking and degree of decomposition: without compacting fresh weight of 1 m3 is 300-400 kg, in compacted state – 700 kg/m3, half-decomposed manure – 800 kg/m3 and highly decomposed – 900 kg/m3.

Manure storage times

Manure, depending on the terms and conditions of storage, the degree of decomposition of organic components acquires the appropriate appearance and consistency.

There are four stages of straw manure decomposition: fresh, half-decomposed, decomposed and humus.

Fresh, or slightly decomposed, straw manure slightly changes color and strength.

Half-decomposed manure – straw becomes dark brown in color, loses strength, and tears easily. From decomposition, manure loses 10-30% (on average 25%) of its weight and dry organic matter.

Decomposed manure is a homogeneous mass, straw decomposition reaches a state where individual straws cannot be detected. Weight loss from decomposition reaches 50% of weight and dry organic matter.

Humus – loose dark mass, losses from decomposition are up to 75% of the original weight and dry organic matter.

Table. Content of nitrogen and phosphorus in cow manure prepared on straw litter, depending on the degree of its decomposition, %[8]Agrochemistry. Textbook / V.G. Mineev, V.G. Sychev, G.P. Gamzikov et al. - M.: Publishing house of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, 2017. - 854 p.

Indicators
Degree of manure decomposition
fresh
half-decomposed
decomposed
humus
Nitrogen (N)
0,52
0,60
0,66
0,73
Phosphorus (P2O5)
0,25
0,38
0,43
0,48
Losses of organic matter
-
29,0
47,2
62,4

Manure should not be reduced to decomposed manure or humus because long-term decomposition reduces the amount of organic matter by a factor of 2 to 3, while the percentage of nitrogen and phosphorus increases much less.

The best manure for plowing is half-decomposed litter manure.

Table. Chemical composition of half-decomposed litter (State Agrochemical Service Centers and Laboratories)

Type of manure
Content at natural humidity, %
Humidity, %
рН
C:N
nitrogen (N)
phosphorus (P2O5)
potassium (K2O)
organic matter
ashes
Cattle
0,54
0,07
0,28
0,60
21
14
65,0
8,1
19
Pig
0,84
0,15
0,58
0,62
21
17,4
60,7
7,9
13
Horsey
0,50
0,09
0,26
0,59
22,6
8,4
69,0
7,9
21
Sheep
0,86
0,14
0,47
0,88
28,0
23,0
49,0
7,9
17

Manure storage methods

Depending on the methods of accumulation and storage of manure prior to application to the soil, the processes of decomposition of organic matter and the extent of loss of nutrients vary.

There are the following ways of manure storage:

  • loose, or hot, in which manure is not compacted;
  • hot-pressed, or the Kranz method, when loose manure is compacted after heating to 50-60°;
  • cold, or dense.

Table. Average losses of organic matter and nitrogen at different methods of manure storage for 4 months (data from All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry and Research Institute of Fertilizers and Insectofungicides), %

Manure storage method
Manure on straw litter
Manure on peat litter
organic matter
slurry
nitrogen
organic matter
slurry
nitrogen
Loose
32,6
10,5
31,4
40,0
4,3
25,2
Hot-pressed
24,6
5,1
21,6
32,9
3,4
17,1
Dense
12,2
1,9
10,7
7,0
0,6
1,0

Dense (cold) method of manure storage

Dense, or cold storage, is stacking manure in a manure storage facility or in field stacks in layers 5-6 m wide and 1 m high, the length depending on the size of the storage facility and the quality of the manure, with immediate compaction. On top of the compacted layer, subsequent layers are stacked and compacted until the height of the layers reaches 2.5-3.0 m. The compacted stack is covered with a layer of 8-15 cm of peat, chopped straw or soil on top. On the side, close to the first one, lay and compact the second stack until the whole manure storehouse is filled. The width of the stack should be at least 5-6 m.

The dense method of storage is the best because the greatest amount of nutrients is retained.

In compacted manure in winter the temperature does not rise above 15-25 ° C, in summer – 30-35 ° C. All pores of manure are maximally saturated with carbon dioxide and water, which slows down microbiological activity and prevents loss of ammonia, water and carbon dioxide. Free ammonia is bound by carbon dioxide solution (carbonic acid) and organic acids. Due to this, the best preservation of organic matter and nitrogen is achieved and the amount of slurry in this storage method is minimal. Half-decomposed manure is stored in winter in 3-4 months, and decomposed manure is stored in 7-8 months after stacking.

This storage method requires manure storage facilities.

Storing manure under livestock is a kind of dense storage method. It is used when animals are kept without restraint in field pens, in the paddocks and in livestock buildings. For this purpose, peat or straw is spread over the entire area with 30-50 cm layer. Litter is mixed with animal excrements and compacted by them. If the top layer is sufficiently moistened, the next layers of litter are added. By abundant and timely addition of litter materials, liquid excreta (and slurry) is preserved in manure, which reduces nitrogen and organic matter losses. This method of accumulation and storage during winter time keeps animals warm and makes it easier to care for them. It also reduces the cost of manure because it reduces the cost of manure removal, construction and maintenance of manure storage and slurry collectors. Half-decomposed manure can be removed and applied to the soil 2-3 times a year.

Manure in dense storage contains a significant amount of ammonia nitrogen, but in straw litter it is somewhat less. Protein nitrogen content increases as a result of its binding by microorganisms.

Loose-dense (hot-pressed) storage

It is used for rapid decomposition of, for example, high straw manure, or for biothermal destruction of weed seeds and gastrointestinal pathogens, which are often found in pig and sheep manure.

Fresh manure is placed in manure storehouses in a loose layer up to 1 m high; it is covered with straw or peat for the winter to keep warm. Microbiological processes in aerobic conditions result in rapid decomposition of organic substances, and when temperature rises to 60-70 ° C (usually on the 4th-6th day), it is compacted, then the next loose layer is placed on it, which also when reaching 60-70 ° C is compacted, and so on. Stacking continues until the height of the stack of 2-3 m. After compaction, the temperature drops to 30-35 ° C, and decomposition corresponds to the dense storage.

This storage method produces a large amount of slurry, half-decomposed manure is formed in 1.5-2 months, decomposed manure – in 4-5 months.

Loose (hot) storage

Loose, or hot, storage is rarely used because it is accompanied by large losses of nitrogen, organic matter, and slurry. The poor quality of manure during such storage is due to the unevenness of decomposition: usually it is strongly decomposed inside the piles, but it dries out at the edges and remains poorly decomposed.

Biochemical processes occurring during manure storage

During the storage of manure, numerous biochemical processes take place in it under the influence of microorganisms. Liquid excreta of animals contain easily mineralizable nitrogenous compounds – urea, hippuric acid and uric acid, the rate of decomposition of which decreases from the first to the last.

Under the action of urease enzyme produced by urobacteria, urea is converted into ammonium carbonate:

СО(NН2)2 + Н2O → (NН4)2СO3,

then, to ammonia, carbon dioxide, and water:

(NН4)2СO3 → 2NН3 + СO2 + H2O.

Hippuric acid decomposes into benzoic acid and aminoacetic acid:

C6H5CONHCH2COOH + H2O = C6H5COOH + CH2NH2COOH,

the latter into oxyacetic or acetic acid and ammonia:

CH2NH2COOH + H2O = CH2OHCOOH + NH3.

Uric acid, often already in the mammalian body, is broken down to release carbon dioxide and allantoin (glyoxyldiureide):

C5H4N4O3 + 0,5O2 + H2O = CO2 + C4H6N4O3,

the latter decomposes to form glyoxylic acid and urea:

C4H6N4O3 + H2O = HCOCOOH + 2CO(NH2)2.

Мочевина – по ранее описанной схеме.

All nitrogen compounds of liquid excreta separately (in slurry) and as part of the manure decompose to ammonia. Peat, due to its increased acidity and exchange-absorption capacity, significantly reduces nitrogen losses by absorbing the resulting ammonia:

[Peat]H2 + 2NH3 → [Peat](NH4)2.

Nitrogenous compounds of solid animal excreta and litter undergo ammonification, but much slower due to the content of fiber and easily degradable carbohydrates (pectin, pentosans, starches, sugars), which serve as energy material for microorganisms. The rougher the animal feed and the more straw it contains, the more easily decomposed nitrogen-free compounds and fiber, respectively, the more nitrogen is fixed by the microorganisms.

Decomposition of nitrogen-free organic matter in aerobic conditions proceeds with an increase in temperature to 50-70 °C. Fiber under the action of bacteria in aerobic conditions decomposes into carbon dioxide and water:

6Н10O5)n + nН2O + nO2 = n(6СO2 + 6Н2O),

under anaerobic conditions to carbon dioxide and methane:

(C6H10O5)n + nH2O = n(3CO2 + 3CH4).

The content of fiber in manure can reach 30-36% in terms of dry matter, pentosans – 14-16%, which decompose during storage of manure. In case of loose manure storage, cellulose is decomposed by half, in case of dense manure – insignificantly. During manure decomposition oil, acetic acid and other organic acids are also formed.

Speed of decomposition of organic matter in manure depends on humidity, temperature, access to oxygen, i.e. degree of aeration, chemical composition of manure. The higher the aeration, the faster and at higher temperature decomposition occurs. A higher content of easily degradable organic matter promotes faster fermentation processes.

Nitrification and denitrification of nitrogen in manure does not occur because nitrification bacteria in aerobic conditions die at high temperature and cannot exist in anaerobic conditions. Also, high concentrations of ammonia and increased content of soluble organic compounds have a detrimental effect on them. In the absence of nitrates, denitrification does not occur.

Nutrient losses during manure storage

During manure decomposition there are losses of nitrogen and phosphorus, especially during loose storage. The amount of water-soluble phosphoric acid in this case increases from 7 to 25-30%, and soluble in 0.05 N HCl – from 30 to 80-85% of the total content. Phosphorus as a part of organic compounds in the decomposition of manure passes into mineral form. Under anaerobic conditions, the decomposition of manure may be accompanied by the formation of phosphorus hydrogen, or phosphine, (PH3), a gaseous phosphorus, an analog of ammonia, with which phosphorus losses are partially associated.

Potassium of manure is almost not lost during storage. Thus, during loose storage in a water-soluble state, it contained 85%, mixed – 91%, dense – 93% of the original content in fresh manure. During decomposition in the soil, potassium is consumed in small amounts by microorganisms and remains in compounds available to plants. Calcium and magnesium are bound by acids formed during the activity of microorganisms.

It is possible to reduce the loss of organic matter and nitrogen during storage by adding 2-3% by weight of simple powdered superphosphate.

Adding phosphate meal during manure storage is a way to effectively use the fertilizer on neutral soils, where phosphate meal alone is ineffective. Under the influence of carbon dioxide solution (carbonic acid) and organic acids formed during the decomposition of manure, three-substituted phosphates are converted into weak acid soluble and plant-accessible forms:

Ca3(PO4)2 + 2H2O + 2CO2 → 2CaHPO4 + Ca(HCO3)2.

In experiments of the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry with different crops on sod-podzolic loamy soil, application of manure enriched in storage (composted) with phosphate flour (3% of weight) under potatoes and winter rye in action, and under spring wheat and perennial grasses afterwards, provided increased yields of these cultures compared with their joint application in the same doses without premixing (composting).

Phosphorite meal in an amount of 1-4% of the weight of manure (10-40 kg/t) or according to the needs of the crop, can be added to the manure at any time from the moment of its receipt, but the earlier, the better. For maximum effectiveness, it is most effective to add it in the stalls before harvesting or, in loose housing, immediately after the first layer of bedding material is applied. In the process of manure removal, transportation and stacking, complete mixing and interaction of flour with manure is achieved, in loose housing this process is facilitated by the animals themselves.

Peat litter and dense manure storage methods are the main methods of reducing losses of organic matter, slurry and nitrogen.

An available technique to increase manure yield while reducing losses of organic matter, slurry and nitrogen even during dense storage is increasing doses of bedding materials, manure storage facilities with slurry collectors, chopping straw and using peat.

Table. Losses of organic matter and nitrogen in 4 months after the beginning of manure storage with the addition of phosphoritic flour and superphosphate (%)

 
Organic matter
Nitrogen
Manure
58,1
19,6
Manure + 3% phosphoritic flour
42,6
5,4
Manure + 2% superphosphate
41,4
3,3

Manure storages

Litter manure can be stored in manure storages and on special sites in stacks.

Manure storages can be:

  • above-ground type, used when groundwater is close to the ground;
  • excavated type.

The above-ground type is preferred because it is not flooded by precipitation and meltwater.

The requirements for manure storage facilities are:

  • The manure storehouse must be located on elevated, non-floodable, preferably surrounded by trees and approved by the sanitary and epidemiological stations of the relief.
  • It should have a waterproof bottom and walls which can withstand the pressure of loading and unloading machines, watertight slurry collectors located taking into account bottom slopes, convenient access, entry and exit with appropriate slopes, usually on narrow sides of the storehouse.
  • Dimensions depend on livestock population, volume of manure per cubicle period and stacking height. For 1 cattle, when stacked at a height of 1,5 m for 3 months, the manure storage area for cattle – 2,5 m2, including young cattle – 1,5 m2, for horses – 2,0 m2, pigs – 0,8 m2, sheep and goats – 0,3 m2.
  • When manure is removed twice during the winter period the area is halved. The volume of slurry tank shall be not less than 3-4 m3, their number shall be determined on the basis of 1,3 m3 per every 100 tons of manure.
  • Manure storehouse shall be located 50 m away from livestock yard; away from other buildings and drinking water sources – at least 200 m.
  • To collect the slurry a well is made at the distance of 1,5-2 m from the manure storage. The walls are lined with bricks on cement. The well must be equipped with a hatch with two wooden lids. 
    If there are infectious diseases of animals or if the manure contains seeds of quarantine weed plants, storage and use of the manure is allowed according to instructions of veterinary and quarantine services.

Stacks are stacked so that manure with different degrees of decomposition is not mixed. For this purpose they are stacked at one end across the storehouse, then at one end there will be stacks with decomposed manure (first stacks), further to the other end – all less decomposed stacks.

There are 8 variants of open manure storages with capacities of 3,20 and 4,25 thousand tons of litter manure with two sumps and two slurry collectors of 20 m3 capacity designed for six months of storage. For regions with excessive moisture content and precipitation of more than 600 mm, there are 4 variants of covered two-sectional storages for 2,2 and 3,1 thousand tons of litter manure. Two sections are provided for quarantine curing of manure for 5-6 months.

There are also some variants of on-farm concrete sites for solid storage of manure in stacks of 5-6 m width and 2,5-3,0 m height divided into sections: for manure, peat, for their mixing and solid storage of mixture (compost).

All projects envisage mechanization of works on removal, mixing, transportation, stacking and compaction of manure. For organizational and economic reasons, storage of manure in field stacks is also practiced.

Manure is removed to the field in winter because machinery is freer at this time. However, it is possible to remove manure in the field at any time of the year. The manure is removed from manure storages, barns, and farms and stacked in the field in winter for 1 day, otherwise it will freeze, which reduces the fertilizer value. Select areas in the field on high ground, cleaned of snow, covered with peat or chopped straw layer of 20-25 cm, top manure is covered with peat or straw. Stacking is carried out in stacks 3-4 m wide, 1.5-2.5 m high, which are arranged in rows at distances (D, m):

where 10000 – area of 1 ha, m2; Q – quantity of manure, t/ha; W – working width of the spreader; C – carrying capacity of the spreader, t.

Distance between stacks in a row D2:

where S – stack mass, t; W – working width, m; C – carrying capacity of the spreader, t.

In order to destroy germinating seeds of weeds, the surface of the piles is treated with herbicides.

One should not store manure in small piles, as this causes nitrogen losses up to 35-40 percent, it freezes, is washed by meltwater in spring, the field is fertilized unevenly, and spring treatment is complicated.

If cattle are not tied down and there is sufficient litter, manure is removed from farms, yards and grounds with simultaneous application to crops. More frequent removal when stored under livestock is carried out only when there is a lack of litter materials.

After spreading manure over the field, its embedding is carried out, because when stored in a scattered form, it dries out and nitrogen losses increase sharply.

Manure application

Manure in crop rotation

Manure application is distributed by crop rotation and non-rotation plots in the order of:

  • vegetable;
  • forage (on-farm);
  • field, taking into account specialization on the most valuable crops and remoteness from farms, pastures and grounds.

Within each agrocenosis, doses and place of application are determined taking into account unequal responsiveness of crops and aftereffects, organizational and technical possibilities for application and embedding into the soil, economic efficiency and environmental safety.

Vegetable crops are characterized by the greatest demand for soil fertility (5th class). Stemming cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, melon, as well as onions, garlic, cabbage, cauliflower, green crops and radishes respond better to organic fertilizers than minerals.

Forage crops are most often located near farms (in on-farm rotations), so transportation and application costs are minimal. Responsiveness to organic fertilizers compared with mineral fertilizers is higher in corn, annual and perennial grasses, fodder root crops.

In field crop rotations corn for grain and sugar beet respond better to it. In field crop rotations, manure is also used for potatoes and winter cereals. However, according to long-term (over 50 years) field experiments Dolgoprudny agrochemical experimental station, at equivalent doses of nutrients, manure and mineral fertilizers for potatoes are of equal value, with winter and spring cereals manure inferior to mineral fertilizers.

In the Non-Black Soil zone, a good place to apply manure in the crop rotation is winter cover crops. At the same time, productivity of crop rotation increases from increasing the yield of winter, perennial grasses and following crops.

On acidic sod-podzolic soils in the main application of manure is combined with liming and the application of mineral fertilizers. It is better to apply manure under row crops, if spring cereals with undersowing of grasses are placed behind them in the rotation. On black fallow in the southern part of the Non-Black Soil zone, manure is applied during the plowing of fallow at a depth of 15-20 cm in early fallow – before tillage.

On sod-podzolic soils, when applied to sugar beet and fodder, potatoes, corn and other crops, manure is supplemented with nitrogen fertilizers, light sandy and sandy loam soils – nitrogen and potassium, irrigated ordinary black soils and chestnut soils – phosphorus fertilizers. The combination of manure and mineral fertilizers in the rotation creates more favorable conditions for plant nutrition and improves soil properties. Organic and mineral fertilizers are of equal value when used in equivalent doses of nutrients. On sandy soils some advantage has manure, as it helps to improve their properties. Therefore, when distributing to the fields, it is advisable to apply manure to the near field, mineral – to remote fields.

In crop rotation, it is better to apply manure under fallow-seeded crops, especially if it is a row crop. It is applied in autumn by plowing. If a fallow-seeded crops is early harvested, the manure is applied after it is harvested by plowing, and the field is prepared for sowing of winter crops as half-fallow. Manure is applied to spring crops in autumn under autumn plowing.

On light sandy and sandy loamy soils, especially in areas with sufficient moisture, a good effect gives a spring application of manure. However, in steppe areas, application in spring reduces the efficiency by 1.5-2 times compared with the application under autumn plowing.

With the increase of the share of row crops in the crop rotation the payment of manure as an additional yield increases. The place of manure application in crop rotation has little effect on productivity. However, it is slightly higher when applied to highly productive row crops such as sugar beets, potatoes, corn, because these crops most fully use the nutrients of manure in the first year.

The most qualitative application and incorporation of manure of crop rotation is carried out in bare and seeded fallows, as well as after early harvested predecessors.

Manure application rates

To determine the norms for the application of manure for the planned yield in the rotation or under the crop to calculate the balance of nutrients using the average data on the content in the half-decomposed litter manure: nitrogen – 0,5%, P2O5 – 0,25% and K2O – 0.6%, that is, 1 ton of manure – 5 kg of nitrogen, 2.5 kg of P2O5 and 6 kg K2O.

Norms of manure application depend on quality, methods of application, biological characteristics of crops and planned yields, soil and climatic conditions. Thus, in the northern, northwestern cold and humid areas, on poorly cultivated soils use higher doses than in the south, south-east, on the highly cultivated black soils. The rates should be economically profitable and environmentally friendly.

Table. Yield increments of the first and subsequent crops of the crop rotation at different doses of manure (according to the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry)

Crop
Norm of manure application for the first crop, t/ha
Increase in increment with growth of manure application norm, %
20
40
Winter wheat
0,56
0,72
29
Potato
2,7
4,6
67
Spring wheat
0,32
0,56
75

Minimum rates of manure application on poor (poorly cultivated) soils at pre-sowing (main) application by continuous method with embedding to the depth of tillage in areas of sufficient and excessive moisture are 20 t/ha, on fertile cultivated soils and in areas of insufficient moisture – 10 t/ha. At local main application in furrows or rows the minimum doses are reduced by 2 times, at local application in wells – by 4 times. Localization and reduction of doses at any method of application increases payment for the unit mass of manure by yield increase of the first fertilized crop in all soil and climatic zones.

On light poor soils the increase is 1.5-2.0 times and the payment per ton is 2-3 times higher than on loamy more fertile soils. Local application of twice smaller doses provides under the first crop the same increase in production as a twice larger dose at continuous application, the payment of manure in this case increases by 2 times.

With the increase of application rates the payback decreases. Thus, the greatest effect will be obtained by applying manure on 2 hectares at 30 tons/ha than on 1 hectare at a dose of 60 tons/ha.

With the increase of manure application rates the increment of both the first and subsequent crops increases. Therefore, evaluation of manure dosage effect is carried out for all years of reliable effect on all crops of crop rotation. In all soil and climatic zones with increasing doses of manure the effect is more significant than the direct effect.

Systematic application of small and increased doses in any crop rotation from rotation to rotation increases the difference in application efficiency due to increasing aftereffect of increased doses.

With any provision of manure and other organic fertilizers within the agrocenosis optimal doses are set after a preliminary assessment of the cost effectiveness of possible options.

The poorer the soil and the higher the planned yield and productivity of the rotation, the more effective high doses of organic fertilizers.

Cereal crops require lower doses of manure compared to row crops such as potatoes, corn, sugar and fodder beets. Hemp, silage crops, cucumbers, and late cabbage varieties respond well to higher doses.

Таблица. Средние дозы органических удобрений (т/га) под овощные культуры (Научно-исследовательский институт овощного хозяйства)

Crop
Sod-podzolic loamy soil
Floodplain loamy soil
5th grade
6th grade
5th grade
6th grade
Cucumber
80
60
80
60
White cabbage (medium and late)
60
40
60
40
Cauliflower
40
30
40
30
Onions
40
30
30
20
Greens
40
30
40
30
Radish
30
20
30
20

Rates for applying organic fertilizers increase with the growth of the planned yields. For the central regions of the Non-Black Soil zone of Russia differentiated by yield levels doses of organic fertilizers for the most responsive crops are recommended.

Table. Rates applying of organic fertilizers (t/ha) depending on the planned yield of crops on non-black earth soils of Central Russia[9] Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Y.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Crop, production
Planned yields, t/ha
Rate of application of organic fertilizers
средняя
интервалы
Root crops
< 25
30
20-40
25-50
40
30-50
> 50
50
40-60
Medium and late cabbage, cabbage heads
< 40
30
20-40
40-60
40
30-50
> 60
50
40-60
Silage crop, green mass
< 25
25
20-30
25-40
35
30-40
40-60
45
40-50
Potato, tubers
< 16
20
15-25
16-20
30
20-40
20-30
40
30-50
Winter cereals, grain
< 3,5
20
15-25
> 3,5
30
25-35

The maximum application rates in a particular case should be economically justified, i.e. should provide the planned yields of good quality and expected profit, and environmentally safe, i.e. the amount of nutrients should meet the needs of cultivated crops while maintaining optimal soil fertility properties, contamination of adjacent environments is not allowed.

Fractional doses of manure for several crops in a crop rotation do not show advantages over a single application for one crop. In multi-row crop rotations with several row crops the efficiency increases if high doses calculated for deficit-free or positive humus balance are applied under 2-3 intensive crops of the rotation.

Various spreaders are used for manure application.

Organic fertilizer spreader РОУ-5
Organic fertilizer spreader РОУ-5: 1 - chain-plank conveyor; 2 - shredding drum; 3 - spreading drum; 4 - protective gear casing; 5 - overhang of the body; 6 - support; 7 - crank; 8 - suspension

Efficiency of manure

In all agricultural zones of Russia, the most effective is half-decomposed manure obtained by the dense method of storage. Bringing manure to humus is inexpedient because it is associated with large losses of nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter. Fresh manure is also not used as it contains seeds of weeds and disease-causing agents, a large number of undecomposed nitrogen-free compounds which strengthen the immobilization of nitrogen, phosphorus and other elements, thus acting as a competitor of plants. Therefore, crops sown on fresh manure in the first year can reduce yields due to nitrogen-phosphorus starvation at the beginning of the growing season. It is unacceptable to apply fresh manure to sugar beets, corn, and winter wheat if it is not sown on bare fallow.

As you move from the northwestern and western regions of European Russia to the eastern and southeastern regions, the efficiency of organic fertilizers decreases, although it remains high. In the arid southeastern zone, the effect of manure is often higher than the direct effect.

If a farm has manure with different degrees of decomposition, more decomposed manure in areas with sufficient moisture is introduced in the spring for row crops, less decomposed – in the fallow for winter crops. In arid steppe regions all types of manure are applied under autumn autumn plowing. In areas of excessive moisture, especially on light soils, the effective application of manure for spring crops in the spring pre-sowing tillage.

In the Non-Black Soil zone, half-decomposed manure is used more often; when applied in the fall, fresh manure is also effective.

In different soil and climatic zones each ton of manure when properly used in all years of rotation provides an additional production of 100 kg per grain. Under irrigation conditions on black and chestnut soils, yield increases proportionally to doses of manure because plants use nutrients more fully when sufficiently supplied with moisture.

Early varieties responsive to organic fertilizers and crops with short growing season in all zones fertilize with more decomposed manure, late – less decomposed.

Effectiveness of manure under the first crop is greatly reduced with increasing time between application and incorporation into the soil as scattered and not incorporated manure loses its ammonia within 10-20 hours.

Depending on soil-climatic conditions and degree of decomposition, the depth of manure incorporated into soil during pre-sowing application varies from 15 to 30 cm. Shallow embedding in wet soil promotes decomposition of manure. If there is a lack of moisture in dry conditions, shallow incorporation slows decomposition and dries out the soil even more. On soils with a heavy granulometric composition, relatively shallow embedding is necessary, on light soils, deeper embedding is necessary.

On sandy soils, which are highly permeable to water and air and warm quickly, the manure decomposes intensively. In this case, some of the nutrients may be washed away. On these soils, manure is applied in small doses to several crops in a crop rotation. Higher doses are applied on clay and loamy soils, because on such soils it decomposes slowly and increases the yield over a number of years.

After-effects of manure

The effectiveness of manure on the first and following crops of the crop rotation decreases with the transition from poor to fertile soils, as well as with a decrease in moisture availability.

Table. Increase in yield (t/ha grain unit) of cultivated crops depending on the effect and aftereffect of manure[10]Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Yu.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry / Edited by B.A. Yagodin. - Moscow: Kolos, 2002. - 584 p.: ill.

Zone
Effects on the first crop
After-effect
Amount for 3 years
on the second crop
on the third crop
Non-Black Earth
0,65
0,34
0,25
1,24
Black Earth
0,45
0,40
0,32
1,17
Southeast
0,22
0,35
0,20
0,77

The duration of after effect within each soil and climatic zone depends on the granulometric composition of the soil. For example, on clay soils, manure decomposes slowly, so the effect on the crop lasts up to 7 years, sometimes up to 16 years. On sandy soils, due to rapid decomposition, the effect on the crop lasts 3-4 years, on light and medium loamy soils – 6-8 years.

On sod-podzolic and gray forest soils, 1.5 times the after-effect in crop rotation without tilled crops and with tilled crops – 3 times exceeds the direct effect on the first (non-row) crop. With the saturation of the crop rotation with row crops, the effect increases. This pattern persists even with increasing doses of manure.

On black soils the effect is 4-5 times higher than the direct effect on the first non-row crop. When manure is applied to row crops as well as under favorable weather conditions the direct effect sharply increases. When crop rotation is saturated with cereal crops, the after-effect decreases, while when saturating with highly productive row crops it increases. This is explained by the fact that row crops more effectively use the direct effect and after-effect of manure.

Table. Effect of manure and equivalent amounts of mineral fertilizers on the productivity of crop rotations (t/ha grain unit) on different soils (according to the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Agrochemistry)

Soils
Number of rotations of crop rotation
Yield of the control
Yield increase
Difference (more +, less -)
by manure
by mineral mixes
by manure
Sod-podzolic sandy and light loam
26
1,54
1,13
0,94
+0,19
Sod-podzolic sandy and light loam, limed
15
1,46
1,49
1,21
+0,28
Heavy and medium loamy sod-podzolic
26
1,41
0,96
0,98
-0,02
Black earths
11
2,57
0,57
0,69
-0,12
Soils with a high state of cultivation (according to foreign data)
90
1,80
1,68
1,85
-0,17

The advantage of manure on light soils is also preserved on calcareous sod-podzolic varieties. On soils provided with organic matter positive effect of organic matter of manure is not observed, but the advantage of mineral fertilizers does not exceed 5-10%.

Aftereffect of manure is also explained by the improvement of physical, chemical, physical and biological properties of the soil. The aftereffect depends on the quality of the manure. Weakly decomposed straw manure in the first year may have a weak effect, later in the second and third years can provide a higher increase in yield.

The duration of effect is also determined by soil and climatic conditions. For example, in the northern areas the direct effect is greater, in the southern areas – the after-effect. In southeastern arid zone the after action exceeds the action in the first year. Peculiarities of manure application in southern and arid regions are related to the fact that manure decomposes slowly due to the lack of moisture and is low effective in the first year.

The highest effect is noted under all crops and on all soils when combining organic fertilizers with mineral. Even in half doses of joint application always provides an increase in yields is higher than the separate application of double doses of fertilizers. However, in practice, due to the lack of organic fertilizers have to make manure for one or two crops of the rotation, for subsequent – taking into account the after effects to add only mineral fertilizers.

Sources

Yagodin B.A., Zhukov Y.P., Kobzarenko V.I. Agrochemistry/Under ed. B.A. Yagodin. – M.: Kolos, 2002. – 584 p.: ill.

Agrochemistry. Textbook / V.G. Mineev, V.G. Sychev, G.P. Gamzikov et al. – M.: Publishing house of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute named after D.N. Pryanishnikov, 2017. – 854 с.

Fundamentals of Agronomy: Tutorial/Y.V. Evtefeev, G.M. Kazantsev. – M.: FORUM, 2013. – 368 p.: ill.