AgroOne6Manure Analysis

Properly managing manure is rapidly becoming an integral facet of farm management. A typical cow produces 120 lbs. (54 kg) of manure per day. A 100 cow herd will produce 2190 tons per year making manure management a major farm enterprise. Environmental and water concerns will continue to place greater emphasis on nutrient composition, storage, handling, and time and place of spreading.

Analyzing manure for its nutrient composition is required to effectively manage it. Determining N, P, and K provides information regarding its fertilizer value. Utilizing this information in conjunction with soil analyses will facilitate the development of nutrient management plans in accordance with state and federal regulations. This will lead to the efficient and effective application of manure to fields where it will provide the most value.

A Dairy One manure analysis provides the following information to use as a basis for developing sound nutrient management plans.

Total Nitrogen (N)
Ammonia Nitrogen
Organic Nitrogen
Phosphorus (P)
Phosphate Equivalent as P2O5
Potassium (K)
Potash Equivalent as K2O
Total solids (dry matter)

Results are reported as percentages, lbs./ton, and lbs./1000 gallons.

A Dairy One manure analysis should be an integral part of your farm management strategy. Manure kits are available free of charge by contacting the lab. Refer to the Manure Sampling section below for instructions on obtaining a good sample.

Manure Sampling
The proper management of manure can greatly offset your commercial fertilizer costs. Four important steps are required to use manure effectively in a soil fertility program: 1) a complete soil analysis to determine nutrient needs, 2) a manure analysis to determine nutrient content, 3) an estimate of nutrient availability in manure, and 4) estimation of an application rate to supply a prescribed amount of available nutrients. For more information go to the nutrient management section of the following websites: or

Sample Collection – The sample should be representative of the entire material being sampled. Storage areas should be sampled each time they are emptied. Daily spread operations should be sampled four or more times per year throughout the year to obtain a good average nutrient value. Where bedding is used, samples should include both bedding and manure. Sampling is best done from the spreader when manure is being loaded from the barn or storage. This will provide the most representative sample of the nutrient content at time of spreading.

  1. Liquid storage – Agitate and thoroughly mix before sampling. Make a dipper by fastening a plastic cup to a broomstick and take a sample or two from the tank spreader and place in a pail. Do this for multiple loads as the storage is being emptied.
  2. Non-liquid storage – Use a garden trowel and pail to collect a sample of manure from various spots on a load. Do this for representative loads as the storage is emptied.
  3. Daily spreading – Use a garden trowel and pail to collect a sample of manure from various spots of the spreader. Sample the load(s) for 2 to 3 consecutive days.
  4. Immediately after sampling the load, thoroughly mix contents of the sampling pail, remove a small amount with a spoon and place in the plastic jar provided, then cap tightly and freeze immediately. Collect several subsamples from different loads on different days and add each new subsample to the jar of frozen material and refreeze immediately. Do this until you feel that you have a representative bulk sample. Be sure that the bottle is at least ¾ full, but no more, to allow room for expansion. Properly preparing the sample is very important to prevent ammonia loss.
  5. Wipe container to remove any manure that may have spilled down the sides. Outside of container should be clean prior to shipping. Secure lid firmly. Tape if necessary to prevent spillage.

Handling and Shipping

  1. Fill out the information sheet completely and accurately.
  2. Payment options.
    • Include a check for $38.
    • Bill to herd code or agriservice account number.
    • Bill to VISA or MasterCard. Include card number, expiration date, name as it appears on the card and signature.
  1. Send by express service (FedEx, UPS, etc.) or drop off at your nearest Dairy One pick-up point . Contact your Dairy One Region Manager for details regarding pick-ups.

All fields should be regularly soil tested. Testing is essential to meet plant nutrient requirements for maximizing economic yields. Use the information from the soil and manure analyses to develop your nutrient management plan. For additional information, contact your local Cooperative Extension Agent.

Manure Statistics

As sampled basis%+/- 1sdu
Nitrogen (N).390.18-0.61503
Organic N.240.08-0.41503
Phosphorus (P).080.01-0.16503
Phosphate Equiv. (P2O5).170.01-0.36503
Potassium (K).270.12-0.42503
Potash Equiv. (K2O).330.15-0.51503
Total Solids12.23.9-20.5503
Density, kg/L.980.91-1.06503
Copper, ppm2925

As the amount of bedding (straw, wood shavings, sawdust) in the sample increases, Total Solids increases and Density decreases. If sand is used as bedding, Total Solids increases and Density increases.