Suddenly, manure smells like money

IOWA - Rising fuel prices have pushed up the value of hog manure, making the unpleasant byproduct of hog production a bit more palatable.

The value of hog manure has increased 50 percent in the past two years, prompting more farmers to consider raising hogs, the Cedar Rapids Gazette reported in a copyright story.

Farmers who have concentrated on growing corn and soybeans are now interested in raising livestock, said Greg Brenneman, an Iowa State University ag engineering specialist from Iowa City.

The 1,000 gallons of hog manure that was worth $20 just a couple of years ago is now valued at $30, he said.

The increase coincides with the increase in commercial fertilizer prices, pushed up by the costs of natural gas, which is used to make commercial nitrogen fertilizer, Brenneman said.

Wayne Gieselman, Department of Natural Resources environmental services administrator, said the expansion of the hog industry is evident in the 203 permits issued last year to build confinements with a capacity of 2,500 or more hogs.

“That’s twice as many permits as were recorded in any other year,“ he said.

Aaron Putze, executive director of the Coalition to Help Iowa Farmers, said a profitable market, a friendlier regulatory climate as well as the value of manure are contributing to the growth in the hog industry.

The number of hogs marketed in Iowa grew from 28.2 million in 2003 to 29.6 million in 2004, according to the Iowa Pork Producers Association. A similar gain is expected in 2005.

Source: The Quad-City Times
calendar icon 6 March 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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