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Manure Slurry Seeding of Cover Crops

Slurry seeding in wheat
Slurry seeding rye with 5,000 gpa dairy manure
Seed laden slurry delivers seed
Forage turnip 2 months after slurry seeding

In late 2009, a team of researchers and educators from Michigan State University and Purdue University, lead by Dr. Tim Harrigan, was awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant by the Natural Resources Conservation Service to demonstrate a new, no-till compatible manure application and cover crop establishment method--manure slurry seeding-- which was first developed at MSU.  Manure slurry seeding combines low-disturbance aeration tillage, liquid manure application and the seeding of cover crops in one efficient operation.  In one pass, cover crop seed that has been mixed with liquid manure in the spreader tank is delivered through drop-tubes to the fractured and loosened soil behind the aeration tines.  A cover crop soon emerges, capturing nutrients and forming a vegetative barrier to overland flow.  Farmers, educators and technical service providers from Michigan and Indiana will collaborate on this three-year project to increase awareness and use of manure slurry seeding in the Great Lakes Region.


  1. Provide agricultural producers with a new, cost effective and resource efficient option for soil quality improvement and environmentally sensitive manure use in no-till and diverse cropping systems.
  2. Increase the use of manure and cover crops on no-till ground in livestock-based cropping systems.


  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of slurry seeding of cover crops on a range of soils and cropping systems in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
  2. Increase the scope of farmer involvement in developing practical, efficient and cost effective slurry-seeding protocols and guidelines.
  3. Provide answers to grower's questions about slurry seeding by monitoring such performance indicators as biomass yield, nutrient cycling and ammonia loss following slurry seeding; no-till plant-ability and subsequent crop yields.
  4. Develop and incorporate alternative management options for manure slurry-enriched seeding in the NRCS Nutrient Management (590), Cover Crop (340), Waste Utilization (633), and Residue Management (329A) standards.



  • Cover Crops, manure, no-till cropping Blight Farms (Albion, MI)- 2011
  • Manure slurry seeding rye cover, Bloom Dairy (Coldwater, MI)
  • Slurry seeding cover crops at Blight Farms (Albion, MI)
    **Extended version September 2010**


  • Manure slurry seeding of forage and cover crops (Tim Harrigan)
  • Slurry seeding equipment set-up
  • Slurry seeding Q&A

Contact Information:

Farm Cooperators:

  • Blight Farms (Albion, MI)
  • Bloom Dairy (Coldwater, MI)
  • Bakerlad's Dairy (Clayton, MI)

Funding provided by:

NRCS logo


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