By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

Research at Iowa State University revealed that the application of manure on existing cover crops can keep nitrogen from leaking out.

The researchers applied a hundred pounds of manure onto rye cover crop. This resulted in nearly 60 pounds of nitrogen retained in said cover crop.

Manure, or animal waste used for fertilize land, has a number of nutrients that is beneficial to soil. It contains high ammonia values and also decreases germination when seeding.

In the meantime, cover crops can absorb minerals or keep it from being lost to mineralization. In theory, combining manure and cover crops serve double-duty because the manure nourishes the soil while the cover crops not only absorbs the nutrients for their own growth but also keeps it within the soil.

Additional on-farm research on variety of crops and their conditions in Minnesota indicates using knife-type (directs the manure straight into the soil) or sweep-type (spreads the stimulator throughout the area) applicators for more efficiency in applying manure without damaging the cover crop.

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