Manure has two shades of green, so to speak - the green of greater farm crop yields and the green of a cleaner environment.
"Manure is an excellent product for improving soil quality and increasing crop yields when handled correctly," says Glen Arnold, field specialist in manure nutrient management systems with Ohio State University Extension. "As new manure application equipment becomes available, manure application methods change and farmers can better utilize the nutrients in manure."
Farmers and others attending this year's Manure Science Review, held Aug. 14 in Wayne County learned farmers saw firsthand how manure can benefit their business when properly handled. "It's a great place to learn this cutting-edge information," Arnold says.
The program took place at Rupp Vue Farm in Sterling. It featured talks and demonstrations on manure handling, storage and application. Speakers came from the college, the farming community, and state and federal agencies.
The emphasis was keeping lakes, rivers and streams clean, says David White, executive director of the Ohio Livestock Coalition, a sponsor of the event.
Experts say farm nutrient runoff, especially phosphorus, is a cause of the algal blooms plaguing Lake Erie, Grand Lake St. Marys and other Ohio bodies of water.
Farmers at the event learned "how to adopt and utilize management practices and technologies that will help them do an even better job of protecting and conserving precious natural resources," White said.
Sessions looked at the Rupp farm's practices, manure's economic value, nutrient variations in liquid manure, the benefits of using manure to side-dress corn, a new device for subsurface application of poultry litter and the effectiveness of setbacks in preventing winter nutrient runoff.
Field demonstrations featured the new poultry litter applicator, a mobile solar unit, cover crops' benefits to soils, calibration of solid manure spreaders, effects of manure application rates on yields, and applicators for injecting liquid manure, side-dressing liquid manure and dragline systems on corn.
"Nutrient management and water quality are critical issues," White says. "Understanding their importance has never been more important."
Source: OSU Extension