2005 - 2007

Distribution uniformity and emission reduction potential of a precision applicator for surface and sub-surface land application of poultry manure

Principal Investigator: Claude Laguë, P.Eng., Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan (Dr. Laguë is currently Dean and Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Ottawa)
Co-investigator: Joy Agnew, P.Eng., M.Sc., Ph.D. candidate, Department of Agricultural and Bioresource Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan; Hubert Landry, P.Eng., Ph.D., Project Leader, Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute
Collaborators: G.E. Hultgreen, P.Ag., M.Sc., Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute; M. Roberge, P.Eng., Ph.D., Head Office, CNH Canada Ltd.
Status: Completed


The main objective of this project was to engineer a precision land applicator adapted to a variety of solid and semi-solid manures (including poultry manure) and other organic fertilizers. The performance goals of the applicator included application and subsurface incorporation in a single pass, uniform distribution, and low odour and greenhouse gas emissions.

Research Progress

Several improvements were made to the original prototype applicator that had been previously developed by the University of Saskatchewan, especially the design of an innovative subsurface application system adapted to solid manure products. A flexible auger system was developed to feed manure into a tube that injects the material directly behind a disk opener. Another disk closes the trench, effectively incorporating the manure.


Not only does the new prototype incorporate manure, it distributes it very uniformly. Uniformity of distribution, measured using beef cattle manure compost (similar in physical characteristics to poultry manure), was demonstrated by a coefficient of variation (CoV) of approximately 7% (CoV gives an indication of how evenly manure is applied – the smaller the number, the more uniform the manure is spread. CoV’s for commercial solid manure spreaders typically range from 30% to 110%. A spinner-type spreader broadcasting poultry manure over a 40 ft width has a CoV of about 50%). The current prototype (with 6 injectors) requires an estimated 72 kW (~100 hp). By comparison, spreaders with vertical or horizontal beaters require about 40 kW (~55 hp), while spinning disc type spreaders require about 60kW (~80 hp). Although a larger tractor is required, manure is simultaneously spread and incorporated, which represents time and energy savings versus separate spreading and incorporating operations. When the prototype is adjusted to achieve maximum coverage of material, subsurface application of solid manure will significantly reduce odour emissions. There is, however, a trade-off in that greenhouse gas (CO2, CH4, N2O) emissions increase with injection - the increase is about 30% for solid manure injection compared to surface application and about 45% for liquid manure injection compared to surface application.


$504,743 (CPRC $12,935, NSERC/AAFC $25,866, Sask (in kind) $55,500, NSERC (IRF) $60,000, PAMI (in kind) $21,800, SAFRR $103,318, ACAAF $225,324)


Karmakar, S., C. Laguë, J. Agnew and H. Landry. 2007. Integrated decision support system (DSS) for manure management: A Review and Perspective. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 57: 190 - 201. Laguë, C., J. Agnew, H. Landry, M. Roberge and C. Iskra. 2006. Development of a Precision Applicator for Solid and Semi-solid Manure. Applied Engineering in Agriculture 22 (3): 345 – 350.

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