US - An extension professor with University of Missouri says over the past decade we have seen a shift in thinking from minimizing the cost of disposing of livestock manure to maximizing the value of livestock manure, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"How to Extract More Value From Manure" was discussed as part of the 2016 Manitoba Swine Seminar in Winnipeg.
Dr Ray Massey, an Extension Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri, says over the past 10 years we have seen manure go from what was considered a waste to a resource.
Dr Ray Massey-University of Missouri:
In other words it is much more highly valued now than it was 10 years ago.
A couple of factors have influenced that.
The biggest 1 is fertilizer prices took a huge jump in 2008.
They've come back down but they're still not down to the levels that they were and so a lot of farmers have recognized "hey, I can reduce my fertilizer bill by using manure so it is increasing in value because people recognize its worth.
People are also recognizing that their management of it can increase its worth considerably.
Again, 10 years ago we used to think of manure from a cost minimization perspective, meaning I want to get rid of it as cheaply as possible.
Now farmers are beginning to recognize it has value and they want to look at it from a net income.
"Can I increase its value, even if it costs a little bit more to apply it?"
Dr Massey expects producers to continue to find ways to increase the value of manure so that it becomes a co-product of their production.
He acknowledges the major production is swine but, if farmers can get an extra 10 percent of income by managing their manure, they'll do it and they'll become swine and manure producers.
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