When it comes to manure application of field crops, corn acres are the main target. In 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 90.8 million acres were planted to corn, more than any other field crop. Of all the acres that received manure, 78% of them were planted to corn. A larger percentage of corn acres — 16.3% — receives manure than any other crop.
According to USDA’s “Increasing the value of animal manure for farmers” report, corn also had the highest manure application rates, at 92 pounds of nitrogen per acre. In all, those corn acres received 410,000 tons of manure nitrogen, which was 81% of the total applied nitrogen from manure that year.
For the field crops, soybean followed in second place, representing 9.9% of all manured acres, but just 2.3% of the nearly 83.1 million acres planted with soybeans received manure. Peanuts followed corn in terms of percent of acres manured, with 12.2% of the almost 1.7 million acres planted receiving manure application. Oats followed right behind, with 12% of almost 3 million acres receiving manure.
Overall, just under 19 million acres planted to field crops in 2020 received manure as fertilizer. In addition to these field crops, manure is obviously also applied to hay and grassland. USDA data from 2006 showed that 26% of manured acres were planted to hay and grass.