When making fertilizer decisions for this growing season, farmers should consider the benefits of using hog manure.
Business development manager for The Maschhoffs Chad Heisdorffer noted that a producer can get all of their nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus needs from hog manure. In addition to those nutrients, they also get organic matter by using hog manure.
“Depending on the value of the manure in the pit, the pounds of nitrogen, potash and phosphorus per thousand gallons depends on how many gallons you’re going to put on per acre of manure,” he said.
In today’s prices, a farmer could put on enough manure to cover their corn needs for $60 to $100 per acre. With commercial fertilizer, they are looking at $250 to $300 per acre to do the bare minimum.
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Before pumping out the pit, however, Heisdorffer recommends that pork producers take a manure sample. They can send that sample to any number of labs across the Midwest. Once they have those results, they know exactly how much manure to apply per acre.
“If you’ve got a pork producer that can’t utilize the manure and you’ve got a crop producer that’s interested in taking the manure in today’s market, what I see is a fair value is taking that analysis and figuring out what that analysis would cost compared to commercial fertilizer, subtract the hauling cost to apply it and then split the difference,” he said.
Heisdorffer said the crop farmer is saving money on fertilizer and getting a better product and the pork producer is getting a little extra money for his manure.
When pork producers are figuring out their cash flow on a hog barn, they need to look at it with hog manure values built into it, along with the cost of getting it applied.
When pork producers sit down with grain farmers, they need to relay the nutrient value of the manure and benefits of using it over fertilizer. In his experience as a row crop farmer, Heisdorffer said the ground he applied hog manure to has performed better than the acres with commercial fertilizer. He has also seen farmers who are using hog manure run corn on corn longer.
“I’ve got a couple of production partners that I work with today. He ran out of hog manure and was going to switch a field over to beans. That farm that’s going to be switched to beans this year, that’s the first time beans have been on it in 12 years,” he said.