By Deanne Meyer, Ph.D. Livestock Waste Management Specialist, Department of Animal Science, UC Davis and UC ANR

The wet winter has given way to peak activity for harvest. Do remember to take appropriate representative samples for analysis. Sampling forage from each field where manure was applied is an important component of nitrogen management. A composite sample from each field consists of grab samples from multiple truckloads. To get best results take multiple grab samples from truckloads throughout the field. The more variable the field the more loads to grab samples from for the composite. Chill or refrigerate individual grab samples until you’re able to make the composite. Mix these together on a tarp or in a bucket and remove a composite. Store composite samples in an ice chilled area and deliver to the analytical laboratory as soon as possible. Keeping records of each field’s yield is also important. Record the amount of forage harvested from each field where manure was applied. Your consultant will use this information to calculate how many pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium were removed by each crop harvested. The Regional Board staff are out doing inspections. Your lab results from your composite are very important. Maintain up-to-date records of applications and harvests so any water board inspection will run more smoothly.

May the 2024 harvest make great silage!