Manure Saves More Dollars Than Commercial Fertilizer

CANADA - A southwestern Manitoba area grain and oilseed producer reports he saves dollars per acre by replacing commercial fertilizer with liquid swine manure to fertilize his crops, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 21 May 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Expanded hog production in western Manitoba has increased the availability of swine manure fertilizer.

Newdale area farmer Bruce Dalgarno accesses liquid swine manure from a neighboring sow barn, which is custom applied according to the barn's manure management plan.

Dalgarno admits using swine manure requires increased management in terms of planning crop rotations and getting the manure applied in a timely manner but he's found swine manure to be as effective as commercial fertilizer.

Bruce Dalgarno-Newdale Area Grain and Oilseed Producer

I would say there's essentially no difference from the hog manure that's been applied to the commercial fertilizer that's being applied.

The first couple of years we did it on one field, we did fairly extensive soil samples both before it was applied through the manure management plan and then my agronomist, during the summer and fall, did more soil samples to compare the field.

We had applied some commercial fertilizers on that same field and had test strips and there really wasn't any difference in the build-up of nutrients.

They had all used it according to what they should have so that worked out quite well.

The crop quality and yield, we could see no difference.

We've got a yield monitor on our combine and map the yield as we go across and there was no difference when we went across the area that had the commercial fertilizers applied compared to the manure that was applied.

So yield, there was no difference and quality was the same.

Dalgarno notes the cost effectiveness of using manure will vary from farm to farm.

He estimates in his case, where he pays based on the percentage of the nitrogen that's applied and the swine operation covers application costs, he has saved dollars per acre by displacing commercial fertilizers.

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