“Manure-ishment” for Your Fields
A few weeks ago I wrote about what is probably the most popular fertilizer there is. Anhydrous Ammonia has been used for many years and quickly became the farmer’s choice over good, old-fashioned manure. 20 or 30 years ago, manure was a liability, but it has quickly become an asset as producers look for ways to reduce their costs, especially in times when corn and soybean prices will be lower. Frank Hopkins is a livestock and grain farmer in Illinois who uses pig and cow manure in his operation which includes corn, soybeans and wheat on approximately 3,000 acres of owned and rented land. He says manure is the best natural fertilizer and a good resource – and has found that his savings over commercial fertilizer has ranged from $20 all the way to $80 per acre depending on the year. He keeps water quality and the environment in mind when following a plan for manure application by adhering to certain rates and using maps that show setbacks for wells, risers and creeks.
Tim Maiers, Illinois Pork Producers Association Director of Public Relations, says that in some cases crop farmers have gotten into pork production, not only for the benefit of manure, but also to create diversity on their farms. He sums up the use of manure as fertilizer saying:
It’s common to analyze the manure to know the nutrient content and apply it according to results of soil testing and yield mapping, making it a more valuable resource. Gone are the days when farmers put the manure on the closest fields. Now, the “valuable commodity” is spread across as many acres as it can be using modern tools to plan the distribution. It takes a while to get everything planned and figured out, but it’s (the system) worth the time.
How many of you are using manure as fertilizer? Do you see any other advantages/disadvantages when comparing it to Anhydrous Ammonia? For those of you considering manure or those already using it, in the near future I’m going to cover some helpful safety tips when you’re pumping your pits. Stay Tuned!
-Terry Olson, Titan Outlet Store Team
Resource: www.IowaFarmerToday.com – Jan.31, 2015 Edition