Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 225–235 | Cite as

Fertilizer equivalence of organic nitrogen applied in beef cattle manure

  • Juan Pablo Garcia Montealegre
  • Charles WortmannEmail author
  • Richard Ferguson
  • Timothy Shaver
  • Richard Little
  • James Schepers
Original Article


The fertilizer N equivalent (FNE) value of applied organic N (OrgN) is poorly predicted, often resulting in over-application of fertilizer N. Research was conducted for irrigated, continuous-corn (Zea mays L.) in eastern Nebraska with three rates of beef (Bos taurus) feedlot manure as main plot treatments and five pre-plant fertilizer N rates as sub-plot treatments. The objective was to determine the FNE for the first, second and third successive crops following feedlot manure application with different rates of OrgN and fertilizer N application. The in-season FNE, based on normalized difference crop reflectance for the crop canopy, was less with 74 compared with 37 Mg ha−1 manure applied for crop one after application but the manure rate effect on the subsequent two crops was inconsistent. The mean cumulative full-season FNE, based on grain yield, for the three successive crops, was 0.72 kg N kg−1 OrgN which was twice the in-season estimate of 0.36 kg kg−1 at growth stage V12, indicating significant apparent recovery of OrgN after V12. The full-season FNE varied inconsistently with pre-plant fertilizer N rate and the three successive crops following application. The mean manure N recovery efficiency was 0.139 kg N kg−1 OrgN year−1 for the three crops following application with no significant treatment effects. Manure is a valuable source of N but the N supply is highly variable for the crops following application so prediction of supply for a given season is unreliable.


Manure Organic materials Nitrogen use Organic N recovery 


0-M, 37-M and 74-M

Respectively, were 0, 37 and 74 Mg ha−1 manure applied

0-N, 30-N, 60-N, 90-N and 120-N

Respectively, were pre-plant broadcast N as ammonium nitrate (33% N) applied at 0, 30, 60, 90 and 120 kg ha−1 N


Apparent organic N recovery (kg kg−1)

Crops 1, 2 and 3

Refer to the first, second and third crops following manure application


Growth stage


Normalized difference red edge


Fertilizer N equivalence per kg of applied organic N (kg kg−1) determined in-season from NDRE and for the full season from N uptake


N uptake


Organic N applied in manure


Corn growth stages (Ritchie et al. 1993)



Funding was provided by Nebraska Corn Board (Grant No. 75309).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DisagroGuatemala CityGuatemala
  2. 2.Department of Agronomy and HorticultureUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.LincolnUSA

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