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Dairy Manure-Derived Fertilizers for Use in Raspberry and Blueberry Cropping Systems

Manure applicator in raspberry rows (video has no audio). Video by Whatcom County Extension

Context

With ongoing increases in herd productivity and concentration over the last half century, the dairy industry has had to manage increasing concentrations of manure. Handling, storage and application of these manures and the associated nutrients to soils have in some areas contributed to air and water quality impairment. The distribution of these nutrients to adjacent horticultural farms, where nutrients are needed, has been limited due to costs of handling and transport, problematic nutrient balance, and food safety concerns.

This project:

  • Assessed the commercialization of new nutrient-recovery technologies that aim to recover nitrogen, phosphorus, and other nutrients in a concentrated form that can be easily transported off farm.
  • Utilized red raspberries and blueberries as the test crop by using manure-derived fertilizer products, facilitating movement of nutrients from “dairies to berries” to improve watershed nutrient balance, soil quality, and horticultural production.
  • Tested whether these products might exacerbate food safety risks through on-farm trials.
  • Quantified the willingness to pay for such products to support local watershed-level marketing of manure-derived fertilizers.
  • Explored the ability of such products to meet nearby crop demands through an analysis of county-wide nutrient flows.

Major Products

Project Report

Benedict, C, Yorgey, G, Zhu, MJ, Zhang, Y, Tsai, H-C, Stacey, N, Su, Y, Sheng, L, Shen, X, Schacht, E, Kruger, C, Hills, K, Drennan, M, Cook, J. 2020. Dairies to Berries: Dairy-Manure Derived Fertilizers for Use in Raspberry and Blueberry Cropping Systems – Evaluation for Agronomic, Soil Health and Food Safety Efficacy. Final Report. Washington State University Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Food Safety

Sheng L, Shen X, Benedict C, et al. Microbial Safety of Dairy Manure Fertilizer Application in Raspberry Production. Front Microbiol. 2019; 10:2276. Published 2019 Oct 2. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2019.02276.

Shen, X, Sheng, L, Benedict, C, Kruger, CE, Su, Y, Schacht, E, Zhang, Y, Zhu, MJ. 2020. Evaluation of Pre-harvest Microbiological Safety of Blueberry Production With or Without Manure-Derived Fertilizer. Frontiers in Microbiology. 10:3130. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.03130

Extension

Approaches to Nutrient Recovery from Dairy Manure. Frear, C., J. Ma, G. Yorgey. 2018. Washington State University Fact Sheet. EM112E.

Stacey, N. 2019. Approaches to nutrient recovery from dairy manure. A companion webinar to WSU Extension Publication EM112E. Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, Puyallup, WA. (Companion funding through an Applied Bioenergy Program Internal Competitive Grant from the Agricultural Research Center, Washington State University College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.)

Nutrient Recovery: Products from Dairy Manure to Improve Soil Fertility. Benedict, C., J. Harrison, S. Hall, G. Yorgey. 2018. Washington State University Fact Sheet. FS305E.

Stacey, N. 2019. Nutrient Recovery: Products from dairy manure to improve soil fertility. A companion webinar to WSU Extension Publication FS305E. Center for Sustaining Agriculture & Natural Resources, Puyallup, WA. (Companion funding through an Applied Bioenergy Program Internal Competitive Grant from the Agricultural Research Center, Washington State University College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.)

Can fertilizer derived from dairy manure be used to produce raspberries with minimal food safety risk? Hills, K. 2019. Blog article posted by Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Economics

Hills, K., Yorgey, G., & Cook, J. 2020. Demand for bio-based fertilizers from dairy manure in Washington State: a small-scale discrete choice experiment. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1017/s174217052000023x

Watershed Impacts

Stacey, N, Hills, K, Yorgey, G. 2020. Estimating and comparing cropland nitrogen need with dairy farm nutrient recovery: A case study in Whatcom County, WA. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742170520000198

Agronomics

Two papers in preparation.

Funding

Project funding was provided by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Conservation Innovation Grants program and the Washington State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, except as noted above.