Manure application technology in reduced tillage and forage systems: a review

J Environ Qual. 2011 Mar-Apr;40(2):292-301. doi: 10.2134/jeq2009.0228.


Managing manure in reduced tillage and forage systems presents challenges, as incorporation by tillage is not compatible. Surface-applied manure that is not quickly incorporated into soil provides inefficient delivery of manure nutrients to crops due to environmental losses through ammonia (NH3) volatilization and nutrient losses in runoff, and serves as a major source of nuisance odors. An array of technologies now exist to facilitate the incorporation of liquid manures into soil with restricted or minor soil disturbance, some of which are new: shallow disk injection; chisel injection; aeration infiltration; pressure injection. Surface banding of manure inforages decreases NH3 emissions relative to surface broadcasting, as the canopy can decrease wind speed over the manure, but greater reductions can be achieved with manure injection. Soilaeration is intended to hasten manure infiltration, but its benefits are not consistent and may be related to factors such as soildrainage characteristics. Work remains to be done on refining its method of use and timing relative to manure application, which may improve its effectiveness. Placing manure under the soil surface efficiency by injection offers much promise to improve N use efficiency through less NH3 volatilization, reduced odors and decreased nutrient losses in runoff, relative to surface application. We identified significant gaps in our knowledge as manyof these technologies are relatively new, and this should help target future research efforts including environmental, agronomic, and economic assessments.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / instrumentation
  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Ammonia / metabolism
  • Crops, Agricultural
  • Fertilizers
  • Manure*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Soil*
  • Water Pollutants / chemistry
  • Water Pollutants / metabolism


  • Fertilizers
  • Manure
  • Soil
  • Water Pollutants
  • Phosphorus
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrogen