Research Report  1.1

Current State of the Art on Manure/Nutrient Management

Dr. Michael Goss, Dept. of Land Resource Science,
U. of Guelph, Guelph, ONT, N1G 2W1
COESA Report No.:  RES/MAN-001/94

Objectives & Expected Outputs
Executive Summary

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Objectives and Expected Outputs


To establish the current state of the art of Manure/Nutrient Management in North America and Europe by summarizing the current scientific and applied literature and by identifying pertinent research projects in other jurisdictions while commenting on their relationship to the Ontario experience.

Expected Outputs:

A report with a detailed literature review, bibliography and consensual information as an overview of the present state of our knowledge, helpful in identification of apparent gaps in our current knowledge which may be addressed under the Green Plan.


S.S.C. Contract, University                            

Spending Profile:

 1992-93: $20.0 K


Completed, Available Sept. 1994


Executive Summary

This report has been prepared to determine the current state of the art of manure management in Ontario in relation to concerns in the farm community and amongst the general public. It is intended to serve as a guide for coordination of the research, extension and implementation programs needed to overcome current problems in manure management. A draft report was reviewed by Agriculture Canada, and this final version takes account of their comments. This version also includes the results of the assessment of priorities for research made by the University of Guelph Expert Evaluation Panel for Manure Management on 17 September 1993.

Following an introductory chapter, a detailed assessment of current knowledge is presented using a framework that follows manure from the point of excretion to the point of utilization in crops.

The third chapter presents areas of actual or recently completed research in Canada. The fourth chapter is a review of three manure systems workshops held at Woodstock, Port Perry and Kemptville. The workshops were intended to gather information on the views of the agricultural community on the perceived problems associated with manure management, and to solicit solutions.

The current knowledge base, together with the on-going research projects and the input from the agricultural community, provides the basis for identifying priority needs for research and extension. A prioritized assessment of these needs is presented in Chapter five.

Twelve key objectives were identified for research and extension needs on manure management in Ontario over the next five years:

  1. Develop extension packages to assist farmers in making more effective use of nutrients in manure.

  2. Establish a research program involving engineers, animal scientists, agronomists, soil scientists and economists to develop a comprehensive framework by which alternative manure management systems can be compared.

  3. Establish the relation between environmentally safe and most profitable rates of manure application to cropland, taking account of the method and timing of applications. This also requires the development of more acceptable manure application methods in conservation tillage systems.

  4. Develop the means of predicting the composition of the major types of poultry, pig and cattle manures, based on feeding regimes.

  5. Improve nitrogen application recommendations for different crops based on a soil N test, taking into consideration the losses of NH3 with different times and methods of manure application.

  6. Develop practical cost-effective methods for managing manure odours from farm systems. This should include seeking means by which the hazard to human or animal health from toxic gases, such as H2S, can be relieved in different manure systems, and developing better engineered and economic manure management systems that minimize gaseous losses from manure.

  7. Investigate the transformations of manure N following addition to soil to provide more accurate estimates of the denitrification (NOx gas losses), mineralization and immobilization processes that are agronomically and environmentally important.

  8. Investigate and develop the ability to predict the transformations of manure N during storage and/or composting to characterize the impact on availability of N to crops, the potential for nitrate leaching, and gaseous losses of NH3 and NOx, together with CO2 and CH4.

  9. Examine the potential for reducing the nutrient content of manures using improved feeding programs, including use of feed additives.

  10. Assess on-farm economics of different manure management systems in direct association with research on storage, application and utilization of manure.

  11. There is a need to assess off-farm costs due to environmental impacts, but this should not be developed solely with respect to manure management. However, the information on environmental degradation associated with alternative manure management systems must be quantified to allow the costs to be determined.

  12. Develop the means by which the deterioration of livestock facility structures by gases produced from manure can be minimized.


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