OSU Demonstrates New 'Subsurfer' Injector that Puts Solid Manure into Soil without Disturbing Ground Cover


WOOSTER, Ohio – A new method of injecting poultry litter into the soil allows growers to reap the extensive benefits of this type of manure while promoting water quality by lessening the potential for agricultural runoff. Ohio growers will have the opportunity to view the technology firsthand during Ohio State University’s 2013 Manure Science Review Aug. 6.

The new subsurfer injector will be demonstrated at the Review, an educational program for farmers, livestock managers, certified crop advisers, professional engineers and others. The Review features speakers from industry, livestock groups, conservation agencies, and Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, including Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which are the college’s outreach and research arms, respectively.

The subsurfer allows crop growers to benefit from the use of poultry litter, which is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and has been shown to increase yields without increasing the potential for negative environmental impact, said Amanda Douridas, an OSU Extension agriculture and natural resources educator. 

“The machine creates eight rows of trenches that are 2 inches wide, 3 feet deep and about 12 inches apart, using rotating augers to deposit the litter below the surface and covering the trenches,” she said. “The augers help break up large chunks of litter into a fine material that is better deposited into the soil.

“The method improves water quality because it results in less phosphorus in groundwater and also lessens the amount of nitrogen that is released into the air. Until now, solid manures could only be surface applied, with or without tillage, which increases runoff risks.”

Created by scientists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, the subsurfer has been found to lower nutrient runoff and ammonia emissions by some 90 percent while increasing forage yields, the agency said in published reports. It has also been found to lower phosphorus runoff and ammonia loss and increase corn yields, according to USDA.

Still in the prototype phase, the machine is used in pastures and no-till fields. It can also use composted cattle manure, according to USDA.

“To be able to demonstrate it in Ohio so area growers can see it and learn more about it is very exciting,” Douridas said. “Poultry litter is very popular with crop producers who don’t have livestock because it’s easy to transport and has very high nutrient content.”

The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hord Livestock farm south of Bucyrus. The nearest street address is 1961 State Route 294, Marion. The site is about a quarter mile west of the street address on the north side of the road and will be marked with signs.

The subsurfer demonstration is between 1-3 p.m. during the Review, Douridas said.

Registration for the Review, which includes a continental breakfast and lunch, is $30 per person by July 29 and $35 per person after July 29.

To register, participants should send their name, affiliation, address, e-mail address, telephone number and payment (with checks made payable to OARDC/OSU) to Mary Wicks, OARDC/OSU, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691.

For more information, contact Wicks at 330-202-3533 or wicks.14@osu.edu.

An agenda and registration form may be downloaded at http://go.osu.edu/MSR2013 (pdf).

Participants will be eligible for the following credits: 5.0 Ohio Department of Agriculture Certified Livestock Manager continuing education hours, 3.0 Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) Nutrient Management continuing education units, 2.5 CCA Soil and Water Management continuing education units and 2.0 Professional Engineer continuing professional development hours.

The Review is sponsored by Ohio State, the Ohio Livestock Coalition, Ag Credit, and the Ohio Soybean Council. Collaborators include Hord Livestock, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Soil and Water Resources, Ohio’s soil and water conservation districts, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Amanda Douridas