Water quality benefits of weather-based manure application timing and manure placement strategies

Arghajeet Saha, Raj Cibin, Tamie L. Veith, Charles M. White, Patrick J. Drohan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The timing of manure application and placement of manure significantly affects manure nutrient use efficiency and the amount of nutrient lost from a field. Application of manure prior to a minimal precipitation period, and manure application through incorporation, reduces risks associated with nutrient loss through surface runoff. The current study aims to explore potential water quality impacts related to manure application strategies on the timing of application and approach (surface broadcasting or incorporation). The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) was used to represent manure application scenarios and quantify potential water quality impacts in Susquehanna River Basin located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. A baseline (business-as-usual) scenario was developed with manure application based on crop planting date and manure storage availability, and surface broadcasting as the application approach. The baseline was compared with a strategically timed manure application considering weather forecasting and manure incorporation. The strategic, weather-based manure application approach reduced TN and TP loading at the outlet by 4% and 6%, respectively. Manure incorporation simulations considering low-disturbance injection showed significant reduction of about 19% for TN and 44% for TP at the watershed outlet. Winter closure of manure application could reduce organic nutrient loss. Winter application of manure in 21% of row cropped areas (2% of whole watershed area) increased organic N and P loading by 10% and 4%, respectively, at watershed outlet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117386
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - May 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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