Any farmer can tell you that manure is invaluable as a soil amendment, but exactly how valuable is it? Dr. Brad Joern, Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University, urged farmers to take a closer look at the real value of manure during his presentation at 2014 World Dairy Expo.
Dr. Joern, a self-proclaimed “crap-ologist”, explains that there are many factors that can determine the true value of manure. Among the factors to consider are:
- Manure Nutrient Content: Nutrient content must be determined to ensure manure application will meet crop needs. Manure composition can vary greatly, so it’s best to collect several samples for an accurate representation.
- Assessing Optimal Application Sites: The value of manure depends on where you put it – where will you get the most bang for your buck? While soil samples will help determine the optimal application sites and rates for your valuable nutrients, it’s also important to consider field location and distance to manure storage.
- Application Rates: Manure nutrients should meet, not exceed, the crop’s nutrient requirements. By determining the crop’s needs and manure nutrient content, application rates can be calculated and equipment can be calibrated appropriately.
- Equipment Size: Is your equipment adequately sized? An undersized manure spreader can mean extra loads to haul – which translates to more time wasted, more fuel used, and more soil compaction.
- Hidden Costs: Many factors must be considered when calculating the real value of manure. Additional costs may include labor, fuel, hauling, and equipment maintenance.
Joern explains that determining the true value of your manure allows a farmer to use the nutrients more effectively and more profitably.
To learn more about assessing your manure’s value, and the future of nutrient management algorithms, check out Dr. Joern’s recorded presentation here!
Make the most of your manure – look to Patz for all of your manure handling needs!