Boosting Corn Silage Yield with Rabbit Manure and Fertilizer

Jenn Hoskins
13th March, 2024

Boosting Corn Silage Yield with Rabbit Manure and Fertilizer

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a study from the University of Siedlce, mixing rabbit manure with mineral nitrogen improved maize yields
  • Maize absorbed more nitrogen when higher levels of both rabbit manure and mineral nitrogen were used
  • The best results for maize yield and nitrogen uptake were with 60 tons of manure and 100 kg of mineral nitrogen per hectare
In the quest for sustainable agriculture, scientists are continuously exploring ways to maximize crop yields while minimizing environmental harm. A recent study by the University of Siedlce[1] has shed light on how combining organic and mineral fertilizers can achieve this delicate balance, specifically looking at the cultivation of maize. Maize, a staple crop with global significance, requires adequate nutrition to flourish. Traditionally, farmers have relied heavily on chemical fertilizers to meet this need. However, the overuse of such fertilizers can lead to nutrient runoff, polluting waterways and causing ecological damage. To address this issue, the use of organic fertilizers, such as animal manure, has been proposed as a more environmentally friendly option. The study investigated the impact of rabbit manure (RM) and mineral nitrogen (Nmin) on maize's dry matter (DM) yield, nitrogen content, uptake, and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Dry matter yield is the mass of the crop after removing water, an important measure of crop productivity. Nitrogen content and uptake indicate the amount of nitrogen the crop has absorbed from the soil, essential for its growth. NUE reflects how effectively a plant uses the available nitrogen to produce yield. Researchers applied varying levels of RM (0, 20, 40, and 60 tons per hectare) and Nmin (0, 50, 100, and 150 kilograms per hectare) to maize crops. The results showed that increasing the amounts of both RM and Nmin led to higher yields and greater nitrogen uptake. Notably, the combination of 60 tons per hectare of RM with 100 kilograms per hectare of Nmin was found to be the most effective for DM yield and nitrogen uptake. Conversely, the highest NUE was achieved with a lower level of RM (20 tons per hectare) combined with the highest level of Nmin (150 kilograms per hectare), suggesting that a balance between organic and mineral fertilizers can optimize nitrogen use. These findings align with previous research indicating that substituting synthetic nitrogen fertilizers with organic alternatives like animal manure can enhance crop yields and NUE[2]. In a meta-analysis, replacing synthetic nitrogen with manure was shown to increase the yield of wheat, maize, and rice modestly and improve nitrogen use efficiency. Moreover, the benefits of organic amendments extend to soil health, as organic fertilizers have been found to enrich soil with nitrogen, phosphorus, and organic carbon, which in turn can support more diverse and abundant soil bacterial communities[3]. Further supporting the benefits of organic amendments, another study highlighted that the combined application of organic manure and chemical fertilizers significantly improved soil fertility and rice grain yield compared to the sole application of chemical fertilizers. It also positively affected the soil fungal community structure, which is crucial for nutrient cycling and overall soil health[4]. The impact of organic and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers on vegetable productivity and environmental outcomes has also been assessed through meta-analysis. It was found that appropriate rates of combined applications could enhance vegetable yields, reduce reactive nitrogen losses, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, thereby contributing to more sustainable vegetable-livestock systems[5]. The University of Siedlce's study adds to this growing body of evidence, suggesting that integrating organic and mineral fertilizers, such as rabbit manure with mineral nitrogen, can be a viable strategy for improving crop yields and nutrient use efficiency while potentially reducing the negative environmental impacts associated with heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers. In conclusion, the integration of organic and mineral fertilizers presents a promising approach to sustainable agriculture. By optimizing the use of these resources, farmers can achieve higher crop productivity, improve soil health, and mitigate environmental risks. This research underscores the importance of developing tailored fertilization strategies that consider specific crop needs, soil conditions, and environmental factors to ensure agricultural practices are both productive and sustainable.

EnvironmentPlant ScienceAgriculture


Main Study

1) Increasing silage maize yield and nitrogen use efficiency as a result of combined rabbit manure and mineral nitrogen fertilization.

Published 11th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Effect of replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer with animal manure on grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency in China: a meta-analysis.

3) Effects of organic fertilizers on yield, soil physico-chemical property, soil microbial community diversity and structure of Brassica rapa var. Chinensis.

4) Combined Application of Manure and Chemical Fertilizers Alters Soil Environmental Variables and Improves Soil Fungal Community Composition and Rice Grain Yield.

5) Combined applications of organic and synthetic nitrogen fertilizers for improving crop yield and reducing reactive nitrogen losses from China's vegetable systems: A meta-analysis.

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