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Replacing conventional N sidedressing with liquid hog manure sidedressing may be a money-saving answer for conserving N and boosting corn yields.

John Vogel, Editor, American Agriculturist

April 25, 2016

2 Min Read

One great thing about being a semi-retired farmer is that it gives you a business excuse to travel, investigate and bring home innovative ideas. That’s exactly what Virgil Gutshall, Sr., of Blain, Pa., did.

During a compost workshop at Ohio State University, the retired high school ag teacher learned about the ag college’s annual Manure Science Review, and took a money-saving lesson home from the 2013 and 2014 events. After closely studying corn field research trials incorporating liquid manure as a sidedressed treatment versus 28% liquid nitrogen, he and son Virgil, Jr., designed a manure injection system with an air seeder to underseed cover crops into knee-high corn on Beaver Ridge Farm.

In brief, five years of replicated data at the Ohio Ag Research and Development Center at Wooster indicated that corn yields were approximately 20 bushels per acre higher with sidedressed and incorporated hog manure than with incorporated 28% N. (See table) As noted in “Boost corn yields up to 15 bushels”, the Gutshalls lowered their yield gain expectations to 10 to 15 bushels per acre.

That yield gain meshes well with new research evidence from Purdue University and University of Illinois that today’s corn hybrids can respond to late-season N applications. And DuPont Pioneer research confirms that corn takes up 37% of N needs at tasseling or later.

Manure sidedressing benefits
Moisture from the manure proved especially beneficial during the three dry years, according to Glen Arnold, Ohio State Extension nutrient management specialist. Post-emergent manure applications were made at the V3 corn growth stage. The manure didn’t appear to reduce plot stands in any year.

The 28% UAN and swine manure rates were calibrated for 200 pounds of N per acre. The manure application rate was 5,200 gallons per acre.

The dairy manure application rate of 13,577 gallons per acre put down 130 units of N per acre, requiring an additional 28% UAN to reach the 200-pound N goal. Liquid hog manure has a much higher N content than liquid dairy manure.

2011-2015 Manure Sidedressing Research Plots

Pre-emergent treatments

Corn yield ave 

Incorporated 28% UAN


Incorporated swine manure


Surface applied swine manure


Incorporated dairy manure + 28% UAN


Surface applied dairy manure + 28% UAN


Zero nitrogen check


Post-emergent treatments


Incorporated 28% UAN


Incorporated swine manure


Surface applied swine manure


Incorporated dairy manure + 28% UAN


Surface applied dairy manure + 28% UAN


Source: Ohio State University

About the Author(s)

John Vogel

Editor, American Agriculturist

For more than 38 years, John Vogel has been a Farm Progress editor writing for farmers from the Dakota prairies to the Eastern shores. Since 1985, he's been the editor of American Agriculturist – successor of three other Northeast magazines.

Raised on a grain and beef farm, he double-majored in Animal Science and Ag Journalism at Iowa State. His passion for helping farmers and farm management skills led to his family farm's first 209-bushel corn yield average in 1989.

John's personal and professional missions are an integral part of American Agriculturist's mission: To anticipate and explore tomorrow's farming needs and encourage positive change to keep family, profit and pride in farming.

John co-founded Pennsylvania Farm Link, a non-profit dedicated to helping young farmers start farming. It was responsible for creating three innovative state-supported low-interest loan programs and two "Farms for the Future" conferences.

His publications have received countless awards, including the 2000 Folio "Gold Award" for editorial excellence, the 2001 and 2008 National Association of Ag Journalists' Mackiewicz Award, several American Agricultural Editors' "Oscars" plus many ag media awards from the New York State Agricultural Society.

Vogel is a three-time winner of the Northeast Farm Communicators' Farm Communicator of the Year award. He's a National 4-H Foundation Distinguished Alumni and an honorary member of Alpha Zeta, and board member of Christian Farmers Outreach.

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