Soil Science Society of America

Barley yield and nutrient uptake for soil amended with fresh and composted cattle manure

Limited research exists on the long-term effect of fresh (FM) versus composted manure (CM) from beef cattle on barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) yield and nutrient uptake. Barley was grown (1999–2007) as silage on an irrigated clay loam soil in southern Alberta where organic amendments and fertilizer were annually applied for 9 yr in the fall of 1998 to 2006. The treatments were three rates (13, 39, 77 Mg ha–1 dry wt.) of FM or CM containing either straw or wood-chip bedding, one inorganic fertilizer treatment, and a nonfertilized control. Nine years of annual application of FM and CM resulted in similar aboveground dry matter yield, and total N and total P uptake compared with inorganic fertilizer. However, apparent nitrogen recovery (ANR) and phosphorus recovery (APR) were significantly lower for FM and CM (5–9%) than inorganic (22–47%). Barley dry matter yield, ANR, and APR were similar for FM and CM. Manure type influenced N and P uptake, but the effects varied with bedding type and year. The N and P uptake were greater for CM with straw than the other three treatments except FM with straw. The DM yield was similar for straw and wood bedding, but ANR was greater for straw (10%) than wood (7%). Bedding influenced N uptake, P uptake, and APR, but the effects varied with manure type, rate, and year. Based on the results of this study, producers converting from FM to CM, or from straw to wood-chip bedding, should suffer no loss in barley silage production.

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