• Cover crop;
  • fertilizer replacement value;
  • manure;
  • mineral concentrate;
  • nitrate leaching;
  • separation;
  • slurry


Resource use efficiency requires a correct appreciation of the nitrogen (N) fertilizer replacement value (NFRV, percentage of total N applied) of manures. We assessed the NFRVs of the liquid fraction originating from separated pig slurry (MC), untreated pig slurry (PS), untreated cattle slurry (CS), the solid fraction from separated pig slurry (SF) and solid farmyard manure from cattle (FYM) in two consecutive years in silage maize grown on a sandy soil. Maize yields responded positively to each of these N sources applied at rates up to 150 kg of mineral fertilizer equivalents per ha per year (i.e. NFRV × total N rate). The observed NFRVs, relative to calcium ammonium nitrate fertilizer, amounted to 78% for MC, 82% for PS, 79% for CS, 56% for SF and 34% for FYM when averaged over both years. NFRVs were positively related to the ammonium-N share in the total N content. Rye cover crop establishment after the harvest of maize reduced nitrate concentrations of the upper groundwater by, on average, 7.5 mg nitrate-N/L in the first year and 10.9 mg/L in the second year, relative to a bare soil. Regardless of the presence of a cover crop, nitrate concentrations responded positively to the applied rate of effective N (total N × NFRV) but less to postharvest residual soil mineral N.