Site-specific Manure Management for Improving Soil Quality

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2006: $131,332.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Raj Khosla
Colorado State University

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, soil quality/health


    Precision manure management is a multidimensional concept that converges the best manure management practices along with precision agricultural techniques. Our three years of project work indicate that the variable rate application of animal manure across productivity level management zones has potential to enhance grain yield of low producing areas of the spatially variable farm fields. There are also positive improvements in the soil quality parameters that are highly correlated to grain yield and productivity and sustainability. Extension workshops and meetings indicate significant interest among farmers and practitioners in learning about precision manure management.

    Project objectives:

    1. Demonstrate and compare manure management strategies applied across site-specific management zones delineated on farmers' fields to assess impact on productivity and soil quality.

    2. Demonstrate and compare the improvement in soil quality parameters (as measured by organic matter content, bulk density, aggregate stability, water retention, organic matter content, etc).

    3. Demonstrate and make economic comparisons of site-specific management zone based manure management strategies to estimate differences in economic returns among the strategies.

    4. Evaluate the impact of manure management strategy on water quality risk, through the use of P Index and the N Leaching Index.

    5. Develop a network of farmers to conduct on-farm trials, provide hands-on training via field days, farm tours and extension workshops in the design, implementation and analysis of field-scale farm trials using innovative site-specific management zone techniques.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.