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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Can Manure be Incorporated in No-Till Sytems

I am catching up on some very old reading material today.  May-June 2011  edition of Crops and Soils magazine has an article on Using Incorporation in No-Till Farming Systems.  There are compelling reasons to incorporate manure.  One is to reduce nutrient volitilization.  Another is to prevent nutrient and coliform runoff.  Those reasons seem to be compelling, but what if you are using No-Till to control soil erosion? The authors discuss some of the innovations that people are experimenting with to incorporate manure with minimal disturbance.  I have no problems with the ideas presented in the article as far as they go.  They seem to be a little shallow on understanding the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2).  Erosion control is not synonymous with No-Till with RUSLE2.  There is a lot of tweeking available in the equation for different incorporation tools and also for the manure application itself that might allow for some disturbance without creating an erosion problem.  Another alternative is to quickly establish cover crops after manure application.  The added benefit would be that the cover crops would help absorb some of the nutrients and make them less subject to losses. 

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