Synergy of Cover Crops with Manure Application
Yield and quality of an oat cover crop was evaluated with and without an application of digestate. The study was conducted in two years on two separate fields. The oats were hand harvested and 3 samples were collected for each of the triplicated treatments. The results were evaluated based on harvested crop value (yield and quality) and how that would compare to potential feed value for milk production, as well as soil organic matter contribution if the crop had not been harvested.
The results show the synergy of feeding the cover crop and the soil microorganisms that enhance nutrient cycling and biomass production. A few highlights shown in Table 1 and Table 2 below.
Table 1: Cover Crop Oats with and without Digestate - Yield and Quality of Harvested Material (harvested Oct 13, 2016 and Nov 1, 2017)
Yield and Quality*
*using Wisconsin MILK2013 and milk value = $0.78/L
Table 2: Cover crop Oats with and without Digestate - Biomass impact on Soil Quality
** 1,685 lbs/acre (6" depth) of carbon from 8 wk oat growth (J. Environ Qual 30:1911-1918 (2001))
Digestate@ 3,600 gal/ac (4.2% DM; 2.6% OM, 0.35% N, 1866 ppm NH4-N; 0.07% P; 0.2% K 4:1 C:N) = 56-46-78 lbs/ac avail N-P-K
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