Manure application technology in reduced tillage and forage systems: A review

Rory O. Maguire, Peter J.A. Kleinman, Curtis J. Dell, Doug B. Beegle, Robin C. Brandt, Josh M. McGrath, Quirine M. Ketterings

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Managing manure in reduced tillage and forage systems presents challenges, as incorporation by tillage is not compatible. Surface-applied manure that is not quickly incorporated into soil provides inefficient delivery of manure nutrients to crops due to environmental losses through ammonia (NH3) volatilization and nutrient losses in runoff, and serves as a major source of nuisance odors. An array of technologies now exist to facilitate the incorporation of liquid manures into soil with restricted or minor soil disturbance, some of which are new: shallow disk injection; chisel injection; aeration infiltration; pressure injection. Surface banding of manure in forages decreases NH3 emissions relative to surface broadcasting, as the canopy can decrease wind speed over the manure, but greater reductions can be achieved with manure injection. Soil aeration is intended to hasten manure infiltration, but its benefits are not consistent and may be related to factors such as soil drainage characteristics. Work remains to be done on refining its method of use and timing relative to manure application, which may improve its effectiveness. Placing manure under the soil surface by injection offers much promise to improve N use efficiency through less NH3 volatilization, reduced odors and decreased nutrient losses in runoff, relative to surface application. We identified significant gaps in our knowledge as many of these technologies are relatively new, and this should help target future research efforts including environmental, agronomic, and economic assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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