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Report Evaluates Intelligent Use of Manure

26 June 2009

US - The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to evaluate the role of animal manure as a source of fertilizer, and its other uses.

According to the Economic Research Service (ERS), about 5 per cent of all U.S. cropland is currently fertilised with livestock manure, and corn accounts for over half of the acreage to which manure is applied.

Expanded environmental regulation through nutrient management plans will likely lead to wider use of manure on cropland, at higher production costs, but with only modest impacts on production costs, commodity demand, or farm structure.

There is widespread interest in using manure as a feedstock for energy production, says the ERS. While current use is quite limited, expanded government support, either direct or indirectly, could lead to a substantial increase in manure use as a feedstock.

However, current energy processes are unlikely to compete with fertilizer uses of manure, because they leave fertilizer nutrients as residues, in more marketable form, and because manure-to-energy projects will be most profitable in regions where raw manure is in excess supply, with the least Manure Use for Fertilizer and for Energy.

Further Reading

- You can view the USDA ERS report by clicking here.

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