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Spring applied organic manures as a source of nitrogen for cereal crops: experiments using field scale equipment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 1999

F. A. NICHOLSON
Affiliation:
ADAS Gleadthorpe Research Centre, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG20 9PF, UK
B. J. CHAMBERS
Affiliation:
ADAS Gleadthorpe Research Centre, Meden Vale, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG20 9PF, UK
K. A. SMITH
Affiliation:
ADAS Wolverhampton, Woodthorne, Wergs Road, Wolverhampton, WV6 8TQ, UK
R. HARRISON
Affiliation:
ADAS Boxworth, Boxworth, Cambridge, CB3 8NN, UK

Abstract

The effects of spring top-dressed applications of broiler litter, pig slurry and cattle slurry on winter wheat and winter barley yield and quality were investigated on a field scale at three UK sites between 1992 and 1994, using commercially available application equipment. Broiler litter was applied at rates ranging from 5·3 to 8·8 t/ha, and slurries from 54 to 89 m3/ha. Few practical problems were encountered when spreading broiler litter, but when spreading cattle slurry there was some crop damage and soil compaction from the tanker wheelings adjacent to tramlines. Coefficients of variation for manure spreading using commercial spreaders ranged from 20 to 32%. Spring applied manures increased yields of winter wheat and winter barley, and lowered optimum inorganic fertilizer nitrogen (N) rates. When the N efficiency of the manures was compared to that of inorganic fertilizer N, broiler litter N efficiencies ranged from 10 to 49%, cattle slurry was c. 30% and pig slurry c. 50%. The experiments demonstrated that poultry litters and slurries can be applied successfully to growing cereal crops in spring as part of an integrated policy for N supply.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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