Nutrient and sediment losses under simulated rainfall following manure incorporation by different methods

J Environ Qual. 2005 Sep 8;34(5):1883-95. doi: 10.2134/jeq2005.0056. Print 2005 Sep-Oct.


Incorporation of manure into cultivated soils is generally recommended to minimize nutrient losses. A 3-yr study was conducted to evaluate sediment and nutrient losses with different tillage methods (moldboard plow, heavy-duty cultivator, double disk, and no-incorporation) for incorporation of beef cattle manure in a silage barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) cropping system. Runoff depths, sediment losses, and surface and subsurface nutrient transfers were determined from manured and unmanured field plots at Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. A Guelph rainfall simulator was used to generate 30 min of runoff. Sediment losses among our tillage treatments (137.4-203.6 kg ha(-1)) were not significantly different due to compensating differences in runoff depths. Mass losses of total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) in surface runoff were greatest from the no-incorporation (NI) treatments, with reductions in TP loads of 14% for double disk (DD), 43% for cultivator (CU), and 79% for moldboard plow (MP) treatments. Total N load reductions in 2002 were 26% for DD, 70% for CU, and 95% for MP treatments compared to the NI treatments. Nutrient losses following incorporation of manure with the DD or CU methods were not significantly different from the NI treatments. Manure treatments generally had lower runoff depths and sediment losses, and higher phosphorus and nitrogen losses than the control treatments. Subsurface concentrations of NH4-N, NO3-N, and TN were greatest from the MP treatments, whereas subsurface phosphorus concentrations were not affected by tillage method. Tillage with a cultivator or double disk minimized combined surface and subsurface nutrient losses immediately after annual manure applications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Alberta
  • Linear Models
  • Manure / analysis*
  • Nitrogen / analysis*
  • Phosphorus / analysis*
  • Rain
  • Regression Analysis
  • Soil / analysis*
  • Time Factors
  • Water Movements*


  • Manure
  • Soil
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen