November 4th 2014

Sidedressing Manure Into Crops 

Sidedressing crops with manure is an emerging practice that could save farmers money on fertilizer and provide another opportunity to use manure in the spring.

Side Dressing Crops with Conventional Fertilizer

What is Sidedressing?

Sidedressing is applying liquid manure to crops after they’ve already started growing. Often, the manure is injected into the soil (called “incorporation”) using a modified tanker with a toolbar and dragline. It can also refer to applying manure to soil after planting but before crops emerge from the ground.

Though, obviously a serious disease for pork producers, PEDv is not a threat to the food supply or to humans. It is also not a reportable disease for the World Organization for Animal Health or currently a regulated disease in the U.S.


For farmers who have both hog and crop operations, sidedressing is another chance to empty the manure pits AND apply nitrogen to their crops, a win-win.

Sidedressing can also provide a way for farmers to get corn planted right away during a short planting season due to cold or rain. Farmers can get the crops in the field and apply manure as a fertilizer later.

Though they don’t need the same amount of nitrates that corn does, sidedressing soybeans is another opportunity to make use of the hog manure already available. (Farmers should just be sure to use incorporated manure because it may burn off soybean leaves.1)

Yield Results

A 3-year study, from 2011 to 2013, conducted by the Northwest Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center showed a 172 bu/ac average yield for corn crops sidedressed (injected 5 in. into the soil at growing stage V3). The 3-year average yield for 28% UAN was 143.5 bu/ac.2

The same study compared incorporated manure on pre-emergent plants and found a similar increase.

A study published in 2008 found that, nitrogen levels being equal, sidedressing hog manure could replace commercial fertilizer for corn.3


Sidedressing manure by injecting it between the corn rows is easily done by a tractor with automatic guidance and GPS. Following the line for planting ensures the crops aren’t covered or uprooted.4 Additionally, some recommend modifying a 5,200 gallon tanker to use 18 in. tires.5 Several tool bars have been used, including Dietrich, Veenhuizen, and Peecon.

Sidedressing manure is an emerging practice, so best practices are still being researched and developed.


Sidedressing manure into corn is an emerging practice that could become standard practice in the future. Sidedressing can save farmers money on fertilizer, save planting time during a short planting season, and increase yields.


1. Lane, Mick. “Sidedressed Manure Benefits Soybeans.” Corn and Soybean Digest. 15 Feb. 1998. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

2. Arnold, Greg. “Sidedressing Manure into Corn has Promising Results.” Ohio’s Country Journal. 03 Sep. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014. . .

3. Deen, William, Amal Roy, and Greg Stewart. “A Comparison of Side-dressed Liquid Hog Manure to Urea Ammonium Nitrate in Corn” Plant Management Network. 3 Nov. 2008.

4. May, Jerry. “Technology Makes Sidedressing Crops with Manure Easier.” Michigan State University Extension. 02 Sep. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

5. 5. Arnold, Greg. “Applying Liquid Manure to Wheat and Corn Meeting Planned.” C.O.R.N. Newsletter. 21 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.