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How to apply manure in the fall and protect nitrogen in the applicationHow to apply manure in the fall and protect nitrogen in the application

The best management practices for fall-applied N apply to manure, too.

Tom Bechman 1

October 6, 2016

2 Min Read

If you are one of the Indiana farmers who will apply manure this fall, agronomists have a few tips for you. First and foremost, recognize that you are applying fall nitrogen. It just happens to be in manure.

“Manure is a great source of fall application [of N] for many producers,” says Brian Shrader, accounts manager for DuPont Pioneer, Marion. He is also an Indiana certified crop adviser.

“Most nitrification inhibitors also carry a label for use with manure,” he adds.


For commercial N applications, nearly every agronomist, including Shrader, recommends use of an N inhibitor in the fall. He acknowledges that N inhibitors haven’t been used as much traditionally with manure, but sees it as a good option.

“Be sure to work with your local CCA on the option that best works for your situation and application practices,” he says.

Betsy Bower, an agronomist with Ceres Solutions, Terre Haute, and a CCA, also emphasizes that it’s time to think about the N in manure as you would any other N when making fall applications. “We need to consider the N in fall- and winter-applied manure as well,” she says. “The N in manure is a valuable resource that we should try to protect in our fall and winter applications”

One option if you’re planning to fall-apply manure is to consider seeding a cover crop before the application, she says. While it may be too late to seed certain species this fall, there is still time to seed others, particularly cereal rye.

“A cover crop does a great job of scavenging some of the immediately available N,” she says. “If it’s terminated on the early side, and depending upon the cover crop, N can be given back to the following corn crop. Remember that corn following cereal rye needs extra management. It’s not suggested if you are new to growing cover crops.”

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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