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Sampling Liquid Manure Systems

July 19, 2011
August 18, 2010, University of Ohio
What happens to the nutrient content of liquid manure in outdoor storage when you get 10 – 20 inches of rain over the summer? That’s a question that producers with liquid manure storage systems might want to evaluate during the year. In Wisconsin the book values for liquid dairy and beef manure are:


N-Surface Applied
*Nutrient values measured in lbs/1,000 gallons
^Nutrient values measured in lbs/ton
Nutrient losses during handling and storage are accounted for in these guidelines so that these numbers represent the minimum amount of nutrients available to a crop during the first growing season after application. For producers with new manure systems we suggest that they use these values to credit manure that has been spread in the fall or winter before the cropping year.
Normally producers with liquid systems should test the manure for a few years to determine the typical nutrient content for their farms. After a number of years, if your farming system doesn’t change or the environmental conditions are typical, you can use your past history as a good indication of nutrient content. However, if there was a lot of rain in your area, this might affect not only the nutrient concentration but also the percent solids.
There are a number of good publications available on line on how to take samples from a liquid manure system. The key is to know whether you are going to take samples as the manure is being applied or try and get samples prior to application (there are challenges in getting a good sample unless agitation is occurring). Taking samples off the top of the storage system is another method.
Edit: Catherine Ruscigno



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