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Side-dressing Manure into Corn

Side-dressing Manure into Corn

By Glen Arnold 

With great planting conditions last week. Corn fields are emerging across the state. For livestock producers, especially pork producers, the application of manure to corn can make better use of the available manure nutrients. Incorporating manure into growing corn can boost crop yields, reduce nutrient losses, and give livestock producers or commercial manure applicators another window of time to apply manure to farm fields.

It is important to know the nutrient content of manure if a livestock producer is counting on using the nutrients to replace commercial fertilizer. Various swine integrators use different feeding rations so a recent manure analysis it important.

Numerous livestock producers have adapted manure tankers for side-dressing corn into emerged corn by modifying rims and wheels for traveling down corn rows. Even with the soil compaction concern, corn yields from side-dressing with manure are similar to side-dressing with commercial fertilizer. Using a manure tanker also allows the corn to be taller, providing a wide window for manure application.

Other livestock producers are using drag hose systems to apply manure. The drag hose travels across the corn, flattening it in the process. Livestock producers using this process have found that manure outyields their commercial fertilizer treatments by more than 12 bushels per acre.

To use a drag hose, the field must be firm enough to support the hose. Spring tilled fields that were worked deeply are generally too soft to support the hose unless there were compacted by heavy rainfall. No-till and other systems where the field was not deeply tilled in the spring generally work well. The other limit to the use of a drag hose is the maturity of the corn. Drag hose damage is minimal until the corn gets beyond the V4 stage.

A YouTube video created from 2021 Conservation Tillage and Technology virtual Conference on side-dressing corn with liquid manure can be found here:

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