Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version

June 2002


Published in Agron. J. 94:128–135 (2002).


Manure or compost application based on N needs of corn (Zea mays L. ) may result in soil accumulation of P, N, and other ions, since the manure or compost N/P ratio is usually smaller than the corn N/P uptake ratio. This study was conducted from 1992 to 1996 to evaluate the effects of annual or biennial application of N- and P-based composted and noncomposted beef cattle (Bos taurus ) feed- lot manure on soil properties. Fertilized and unfertilized checks were also included. Soil surface (0–15 cm) pH significantly increased with N-based manure (MN) or compost application (CN), but decreased with NH4–N fertilizer application as compared with the check. Soil bulk density was unaffected by manure or compost application. After yr of manure and compost applications, soil surface (0–15 cm) and N concentrations and quantities were greater for N- than P-based management systems. About 25% of applied manure C and 36% of applied compost C remained in the soil after 4 yr of application, indicating greater C sequestration with composted than noncomposted manure. No significant difference was observed between fertilizer and check plots for soil total C or N. Soil properties in the 15- to 30- cm increment were unaffected by the applied treatments except soil electrical conductivity (EC). Residual soil NO3 to a depth of 1.2 m was greater for inorganic fertilizer than manure and compost treatments in drier years. Soil property changes were greater for the annual or biennial N-based than P-based manure or compost applications, reflecting the differences in application amounts.