US – Crop and livestock farmers are proclaiming the effects of a manure manager capable of improving productivity and reducing the social impacts of slurry spreading.
A nutrient manager is proving popular across a variety of holdings as it tackles manure odour while making phosphorous and nitrogen work more efficiently.
This is achieved by maintaining nitrogen in the ammonia form and stopping phosphorous being locked in the soil.
Bigger corn ears, more soybeans to the acre and fewer odour problems result from this, especially important for urban fringe farms.
“It doesn’t take people long to start complaining about an odour,” said Gerry Erickson, Farm Manager at North Dakota State University.
Mr Erickson farms near Fargo and has observed odour drop and nutrient management improve.
He added: “What’s unique about us is we are in the city limits. Some fields where we spread manure are a quarter of a mile from residential areas.”
The second reason for adopting the application was to reduce crust in the lagoon. Solids were also reduced after the product was added.
“We pump manure about a mile at 100 psi,” added Mr Erickson. “The manure is really well broken down and this year pumping has been a dream.”
Benefits of the manure additive reach beyond minimising odour, although this is a major positive.
“Being manure it still stinks, but not as bad as in the past,” stated Chad Butt, Agronomy Manager for Landmark Coop Services in Wisconsin.
Mr Butt said manure can be made fit for the farm and suits modern manure management.
“As far as protecting nitrogen and boosting phosphorus availability, the product is a positive fit on many farms," added Mr Butt.
Jeff Thompson, Iowa representative for SFP, the company which makes the product, explains the results of preventing phosphorous lock-up and nitrogen leaching.
“The phosphorous allows crops to put on much larger root systems, resulting in a healthier plant,” added Mr Thompson. “Larger ears and higher bushel weights result from better use of ammonia.”
SFP trials have shown root balls in MTM treated ground are up to 30 ounces heavier, weighing 44 ounces.
Mr Thompson outlined trials demonstrating that an extra thirty bushels to the acre were recorded.
He emphasised that, whether applying to liquid or dry manure, the application needs to be 18 ounces per acre.
This requires calculations taking into account volume of manure and the application rate according to manure nutrient value.
Mr Thompson reassured farmers that application is done simply by adding the SFP manure manager to the pit or lagoon in the right quantities.
Furthermore, in the case of dry lot beef spreading or poultry litter, it can be applied on the fields.
There are no qualms over ecological impacts as the product is non-toxic to humans, livestock and the environment, said Mr Thompson, meaning there are no limits on crop rotation for growers.
“Crop rotation flexibility is important. If we apply in the fall and the weather means soybeans have to be grown instead of corn, there are no restrictions.”
Jake Thostenson produces milk in Broadhead Wisconsin and noted the dramatic change an application made to the appearance of the manure.
This made spreading manure from his 225 cows easier across his 550 acres of corn and alfalfa land.
“I didn’t notice any manure sticking to the back of the tankers,” said Mr Thostenson. “After we got the system empty, people could not believe we used sand bedding, as they had not seen a slurry pit that empty before.”
He added: “Applying it was very easy and it allowed us to get a better spread pattern over the land.”
Top image via Shutterstock