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Published March 17, 2010, 03:20 PM

Manure has value for crops

Manure has tremendous value in crop production that goes beyond the usual N-P-K needs of the crop. While the value of manure is usually calculated using these typical elements, manure also provides most of the necessary micronutrients. This is why deficiencies seldom show up on farms that routinely use manure.

By: JIM STORDAHL, DL-Online

Manure has tremendous value in crop production that goes beyond the usual N-P-K needs of the crop. While the value of manure is usually calculated using these typical elements, manure also provides most of the necessary micronutrients. This is why deficiencies seldom show up on farms that routinely use manure.

The nutrient level of manure can vary considerably across animal species and to some degree, across farms.  It’s important, therefore, to have it tested to determine the actual values. However, in many cases, the average values may be all you need as a place to start.

The nitrogen component in manure tends to be quite volatile; this is especially true with liquid manure, where most of the nitrogen is in the ammonium form and subject to loss to the air if not incorporated quickly. The value of liquid manure can be reduced by almost half if the manure is left on the surface of the soil.

To learn more about the value of manure, or to get a verbal dose of it, contact me at 800-450-2465, or e-mail at stordahl@umn.edu.

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