Extension Ag Update
March/April 2008
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Research

High Yields and a Cost Savings with Swine Manure

Candace Pollock, Ohio State University, pollock.58@cfaes.osu.edu, (614) 292-3799; Glen Arnold, OSU Extension, arnold.2@cfaes.osu.edu, (419) 523-6294

Sidedressing pre-emergent corn in the spring with swine manure produces yields comparable to applying commercial fertilizer, according to Ohio State University Extension research. Coming off of several years of research that showed that applying swine manure to post-emergent corn produced comparable or higher yields to commercial urea, OSU Extension educators in Putnam and Hancock counties hoped to find the same results in treating pre-emergent corn. “We want to find out if a farmer could plant corn and then use a dragline manure application system to sidedress before the corn even comes up out of the ground,” said Glen Arnold, an OSU Extension educator in Putnam County. “In 2007, we completed research on three pre-emergence corn plots using liquid swine manure as the primary nitrogen source. Two of the three plots yielded the same or higher compared to urea.”

“At today’s fertilizer prices, using manure from livestock could easily save farmers $75 to $100 per acre in purchased fertilizer,” said Arnold. Not only can springtime manure application potentially fatten a farmer’s wallet, but it can also benefit the environment.

“There is less chance for nutrient loss in the spring as opposed to the fall, because the manure is actually going to a growing crop that will utilize its nutrients,” said Arnold. “We’ve always known that manure provides good nutrients for the soil. The idea is to find a way to make better use of it than applying it to bare fields in the fall.”

He added that farmers could potentially be throwing away an economically valuable resource if a spring or early summer application to growing crops is not a consideration. In Putnam County, for example, if farmers fully utilize the ammonia nitrogen in their liquid swine manure they could save over $500,000 annually through reductions in purchased nitrogen, said Arnold. Putnam County is the fourth-largest swine-producing county in the state.