Field application of processed manure upon water quality and crop productivity

Paul Walker, Walt Kelly, Ken Smiciklas, Tim Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to conduct an applied field study investigating the feasibility of utilizing processed liquid swine manure in crop production. Four treatments were evaluated; unprocessed liquid swine manure, processed liquid effluent, inorganic nitrogen fertilizer and zero-rate control. For shallow subsurface water (as measured by lysimeters), the inorganic nitrogen fertilizer treatment had the greatest levels of nitrate-No However, there were no significant differences for any measured chemical parameter for groundwater (as measured by sampling wells) among the four treatments. In general, the zero-rate control treatment was the lowest yielding treatment for com (Zea mays L.), in contrast to the equivalent response of the other treatments. Nutrient accumulation was similar for the four treatments, with the exception of greater plant manganese content of the inorganic nitrogen fertilizer treatment. For soybean (Glycine max L.), all four treatments responded in a similar fashion. After 5 years of annual treatment application the processed liquid effluent and unprocessed manure treatments were similar for most soil parameters. In addition, soil and plant tissue samples were evaluated for pathogenic organisms (total coliform and Escherichia coli) and non-detectable levels were found for all treatments. The results of this study indicate the processed liquid swine effluent produced in this study, inorganic nitrogen fertilizer and unprocessed manure had similar effects on crop characteristics and subsurface water quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agronomy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Bacteria
  • Grain yield
  • Groundwater
  • Soil quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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