University of Maryland Extension

Manure Utilization

Q. I heard from a colleague that manure can be applied on hay and pasture in the fall if the annual nitrogen recommendation has not been met? (Posted May 14, 2012)

A. As a matter of policy, manure may be applied in fall as the final application for the current year’s hay or pasture as long as the total recommended nitrogen rate for the year has not been exceeded.  The fall rate is limited to 50 pounds of plant-available nitrogen (PAN) or the balance of the nitrogen recommendation for the year, whichever is less.  (Source: Jo Mercer, Nutrient Management Program, Maryland Department of Agriculture)


Q.  I have a client that uses horse manure from her operation for enhancing the condition of her riding trails.  Other clients have indicated that they use manure to fill in gopher holes or for “arena footing” in indoor or outdoor riding arenas.  Are these acceptable uses for manure, either fresh or composted?  (Posted June 2016)

A.  No.  Manure can either be used on an area where crops are growing (like hay or pasture) or it can be exported. 

It may not be used on riding trails, to fill in gopher holes, and/or to condition outdoor arenas.  Using manure or composted manure to condition indoor arenas should not be viewed as a long-term strategy for manure management.  (Source: Bryan Harris, Nutrient Management Program, Maryland Department of Agriculture)  

Q. I understand that farm operations with only a limited number of animals do not need a manure analysis for the manure that is land-applied on their farm.  Is this correct? (Posted January 25, 2018)

A. Yes. At the annual Nutrient Management Update in December 2017, MDA officials announced that operations with fewer than 20 animal units (20,000 live weight regardless of animal species or combination of animal species) could forgo a manure analysis if information existed that provided average manure composition.

Plans for such operations can be develop using published average manure analysis information often referred to as "book values". Such information is available on the University of Maryland's Agricultural Nutrient Management Program's website.

If no average manure composition data exist for an animal species from the University of Maryland Agricultural Nutrient Management Program's website, a manure sample is required.

Of course, if a client has a recent (no more than 2 years old) manure analysis, it is preferred to a "book value".

(Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Management Program )

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