(Central Square) – With rising fertilizer prices, old-fashioned manure is a bargain.
Harvesting high-yielding crops for the third year in a row, farmers are trying to replenish their soil. Crops have pulled out nutrients, and farmers need to replace them. Austin Omer, deputy director of natural resource policy for the Illinois Farm Bureau, said the manure could boost microbial activity in the soil.
“Manure is an excellent source of nutrients – great for soil health,” Omer told The Center Square. “There are many benefits to applying manure, especially in areas where there has been no manure before.”
This year lucky farmers with a local manure source. Chemical fertilizer anhydrous ammonia sells for $ 1,500 per tonne. Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) has just exceeded $ 1,000 per tonne. By comparison, manure is inexpensive.
It’s a great resource for growers who have access to livestock, Omer said.
Only 10% of Illinois farmers typically use manure in their fields. Farmers who use it do so year after year, so prices don’t fluctuate.
However, this year rising fertilizer prices have added manure, Omer said.
“Per hectare manure can cost from $ 25 to $ 250 per acre if prices are so high,” he said.
Over the last two decades, the way farmers use manure has changed. Many different technologies have been introduced for more efficient manure application.
Manure is injected into the soil so that it stays in place until a crop is needed.
“That’s really what we want,” Omer said. “We want this manure to sit there and stay in that field until the crop is planted.”
The vast majority of ranchers see manure as a value, he said. Most livestock producers in Illinois use their manure and use it. Manure is easier to store and apply than it was in the past.
“We’ve significantly expanded our storage capabilities across the state,” Omer said.
Better storage gives farmers a bigger window for manure application when they are working in weather and delays.