Value of manure dependent on crop being grown

January 25, 2016
By Farmscape

January 25, 2016, Winnipeg, Man – An extension professor with University of Missouri says the economic value of livestock manure will depend very much on the crop that it's being used to fertilize.

How to Extract More Value From Manure will be discussed as part of the 2016 Manitoba Swine Seminar, February 3 and 4 in Winnipeg.

Dr. Ray Massey, an extension professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, says livestock manure provides primarily nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium that are valued as fertilizer as well as organic matter and micronutrients.

“Many times people want to value manure on a per ton or per thousand gallons basis, which is appropriate and so, when I look at manure, I can get its value per thousand gallons to go anywhere from $25 to $60 and it's all the same manure,” says Dr. Massey. “The reason that it changes is because, if I apply it to a crop that needs all of the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, it has more value than if I apply it to a crop that does not need the nitrogen, phosphorus or potassium.”

“So really, the value of the manure depends on what nutrient the farmer is looking for and I encourage farmers to speak of it in dollars per acre rather than dollars per thousand gallons because that puts it back on what nutrient is actually being sought.

If you can apply manure to a crop like corn, which needs nitrogen, instead of soybeans, which does not need nitrogen, you'll increase its value and so the value of manure is dependent on the crop which you're applying it to.”

Dr. Massey says, with regards to region to region, some areas have more productive cropland and will need more nutrients where as an area that does not have productive cropland, perhaps mostly grass, won't have as great a need for nutrients and the manure will not have as great a value.

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