Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Monograph
Publication Acceptance Date: April 3, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Manure production is expected to increase with the increase in livestock production throughout the United States. Coupled with the increase in livestock numbers is a decrease in the number of operations, which leads to more concentrated generation of manure. Changes over the past 20 years have also separated livestock production from crop production areas, which has further increased the potential problem of over application of manure in areas with a limited crop production area. Manure contains valuable sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; however, the value of manure as a soil amendment is in the organic nutrient content. Addition of manure to the soil increases the cation exchange capacity, decreases the bulk density, increases the infiltration of water, increases the water storage capacity, decreases the erosion potential, and links the nutrient availability more closely with crop uptake patterns. These effects on soil have been shown for a range of soils throughout the world. Utilization of manure as a plant nutrient can both supply the nutrients as well as improve soil productivity over time. Management of manure as a plant nutrient can be accomplished with a nutrient management plan that utilizes the nutrient content contained in the manure along with the long-term changes within the soil. These management practices allow a cropping-livestock system to be developed that is both economically and environmentally efficient.