Evaluation of the Addition of Commercial Fertilizer to Swine Manure on Transportation Cost, Yield Performance and Nutrient Accumulation

Project: MLMMI 99-01-17


To evaluate the use of commercial fertilizers to supplement the nutrient content in swine manure in order to make swine manure more widely accepted as a source of nutrients for crop production, through efficient use of available nutrients and predictable nutrient levels. In proving the technology it is intended to also demonstrate that this process will reduce the risk of accumulation of phosphorous and potassium in the soil.


Peter Grieger,
Agricultural Management (AGMT) Ltd.


Status: Completed
Started: 1999-03-02
Completed: 2001-01-17

Funding Partners: who have contributed to MLMMI in support of this project:
ARDI - $17,475
Manitoba Pork Council and industry groups - $17,475

Amount Funded: $34,950.00
Performer Funded: $10,000.00
Total Cost: $44,950.00


Interim Reports received September 29, 1999, March 3, 2000, and September 1, 2000.
Final report due December 2, 2000; received December 5, 2000.
Re-submission of final report received Jan 17/01.
Results deemed inconclusive.


Based on test plots conducted over the last two years it has been demonstrated that comparable yields can be achieved from an amended manure application versus commercial fertilizer. In year #1 yields from the amended manure exceeded the commercially fertilized plots by 1.1% and 13.4% in AC Barrie and Hyola 401 respectively. Weather related factors did contribute to the significant difference in Hyola yields. In year #2 the yield of Smart canola 46A73 fertilized by amended manure was 3.2% less than the plot commercially fertilized. Similar research conducted by Curtis Cavers of Manitoba Agriculture’s Soils and Crops Branch using manure only in comparison to commercial fertilizer has experienced similar results in which favourable crop response to one of the two methods of fertilization is random in a particular year.

The research demonstrated that it is also possible to apply manure at rates compatible with crop requirements without the potential for nutrient accumulations. Nitrate, phosphate and potassium levels decreased on the plot which received the amended manure in year #2. In year #1 no nutrient accumulations were noted on the wheat plots, however nutrient levels generally increased on all of the canola plots. This is attributed to the fact that background nutrient levels were determined on an average field basis rather than by individual plot which would have yielded a more accurate comparison. Further research into the long term effect of repeated applications over several consecutive years is required to substantiate that nutrient accumulation will not occur. Annual fluctuations are anticipated as crop uptake is affected by variable climatic conditions. Annual soil testing will identify significant nutrient carryovers and permit the appropriate measures to be taken.

The research conducted concentrated on positive containment structures. It was shown that a homogeneous mixture can be achieved with proper agitation provided the agitation can be maintained throughout the complete cleanout. The nutrient content of manure contained within earthen storages is expected to be lower than those encountered in our tests. For this reason, it is anticipated that the feasible transport distance of manure from earthen storages will be slightly less.

The amendment of commercial fertilizer into manure was shown to be a feasible option to balancing nutrients based on crop requirements. Further development of blending and manure testing equipment is necessary to feasibly implement this technology on a commercial scale. Currently manure can be applied at rates to match the phosphate requirements of the crop to be grown and nitrogen supplemented as required from a commercial source. The development of this blending technology would eliminate the additional expense of an added field operation to apply the supplemental nutrients. More importantly would be the development of equipment to rapidly determine manure nutrient levels in the field. This would permit more accurate nutrient application rates avoiding unnecessary over application or nutrient deficiencies affecting productivity.

Based on the trials conducted it was determined that the feasible transport distance using tankers equipped with injectors varied from six to eight miles from the storage. Similarly, it was determined that the cost to spread manure using pipeline technology to a distance of three miles was less than half of the nutrient value in the manure. These results are specific to the testing conducted and will vary depending on the nutrient content of the manure to be spread.


Final Report

Manitoba Pork represents 614 Manitoba hog farms