MANURE: Increasing Feed Crop Productivity Could Be Its Biggest Payoff

Feed Crops

Spring is the season of new life and new growth, and perhaps this year, a new way of looking at the same old manure. Changing up your manure application can help you avoid the potential yield loses associated with low fertility soils. If your feed crops take the biggest bite out of your budget, you are not alone. For many producers, saving money on feed crops would have significant impacts on their bottom line.

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So how exactly is manure the answer to better feed crops?

Segregating manure into two separate fertilizers gives you more control over nutrient application. By separating the nitrogen, sulfur, & potassium into a liquid fertilizer while capturing the organic nitrogen and phosphorus in a solid fertilizer, not only will you save money, but you will ultimately end up with balanced soil conditions – and is there anymore more critical to crop production than healthy soils?!

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Applying the solids free liquid fertilizer on fields close to the dairy will save you money without reaching nitrogen requirements.  Drag lining the liquids close to the barns can cut the cost of hauling manure in half while dropping phosphorus levels in the soil. This practice will also eliminate the need to buy 28% commercial fertilizer!

By reducing the volume of the solid fertilizer, that now consists only of organic nitrogen and phosphorus, this can be hauled away to distant fields that have low phosphorus levels. Not only will this help to regenerate fallow fields, it can also increase corn yields by 3-5 tons per acre.

Treated manure

The LWR nutrient fertilizers were the subject of a growth trial competed by the Olds College Centre for Innovation. The research project evaluated the fertilizer outputs of the LWR System through a series of grow-tests.

The study tested the 2 fertilizer outputs of the LWR System and confirmed that the liquid fertilizer contains adequate amounts of nitrogen and trace minerals suitable for growing plants. The results also confirm that the liquid fertilizer is free of phosphorus, with lab analysis showing phosphorus levels at 0.0000%.

The Old’s study also determined that the nitrogen and potassium in the 50% LWR liquid manure fertilizer is more easily adsorbed by corn than when compared to a commonly used all-purpose plant food.  Corn that was fed the all-purpose fertilizer absorbed 7.958% of input nitrogen and 9.105% of input potassium. When given the 50% LWR liquid solution, percentages of absorption increased to 22.87% and 24.98%, respectively.

Olds
Nutrient Absorption in Corn

The phosphorus that is removed from the liquid nutrient is captured in the dry solid fertilizer. In the dry solid growth test, it was found that when mixed at 25% with soil, corn had the highest recorded heights of all treatments when compared to commonly used all-purpose plant food. This indicates that under the correct mixing ratio, the LWR dry solid fertilizer supports the growth of corn.

Olds 2
LWR treatment (25%) recorded highest growth

Half of all agricultural land is currently used for the production of animal feed, and it is estimated that an additional 280 million hectares will be required to meet the future demand of animal production. This means that increasing the productivity of existing feed crops and regenerating fallow fields will have a tremendous effect on the future of food production.

Newtrient, a company founded by 12 leading milk cooperatives representing nearly 20,000 dairy farmers producing approximately half of the nation’s milk supply, knows the true value of manure – especially at this time of year.  They know that the proper use of manure reduces the reliance on commercially mined fertilizers that often have to travel great distances. They also know that thoughtful use of manure will result in healthier soils, increased crop yields, and improved economics.

Increasing productivity

Increasing the productivity of feed crops through precision nutrient application is an imperative piece of this puzzle, and an exciting benefit of manure treatment technology. Remuneration will come in the form of elevated yields and possibly improved crop quality, especially forages. These returns are measurable and can be valued.

Check out Bucky Organics to learn more about the organic plant nutrients made daily by cows in Wisconsin, and the fertilizer benefits of segregated cow manure!

Bucky

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MANURE CONTAINS THE BUILDING BLOCKS REQUIRED TO REGENERATE OUR SOILS

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Soil is the basis for life as we know it. After all, 95% of the food we eat comes from our soils. Thankfully, livestock producers have always known this, and now consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of soil health.

The UN has warned us that the world’s soils are becoming exhausted. So depleted of nutrients that it is estimated that there are only 60 harvests left before our planet’s soils are too degraded to even support food production.

Soil supports life, and today, on World Water Day, it’s important to recognize that water is an essential component of soil health. The problem is that our soils have become so depleted that the soil simply can’t soak up water like it once did. Instead, water rushes off, leaving creeks and aquifers depleted, and contributing to water quality problems. The good news is that the spongy, thirsty soil can be brought back to life.

World Water Day

Soil scientists report that for every 1 percent of organic matter content, the soil can hold 16,500 gallons of plant-available water per acre of soil down to one foot deep. That is roughly 1.5 quarts of water per cubic foot of soil for each percent of organic matter. Increasing the organic matter content from 1 to 2 percent would increase the volume of water to 3 quarts per cubic foot of soil. One particular study also found that 1 pound of carbon can hold up to 40 pounds of water. In another study, it was found that increasing the water holding capacity of the soil by adding compost helped all crops during summer droughts by reducing periods of water stress.

The fact is that organic matter holds a lot of water, and the amount of organic matter in a soil directly influences the availability of water to a crop over time.

Not only are healthy soils necessary to grow food, we need them to produce enough food to meet the growing demands of the largest population that has ever lived on our planet. Farmers need to achieve maximum efficiency and the only way that this is possible is with healthy soils.

Microorganisms

Not surprisingly, the rates of nutrients found in the soil will affect the quality of the yield. Soil that is low in nutrients, will be, as a result, inefficient at growing healthy crops, so for centuries, farmers have turned to fertilizer.  But just like not enough of something isn’t good, too much isn’t good either!

Excessive use of chemical fertilizers can lead to soil salinity, heavy metal accumulation, water eutrophication and the accumulation of nitrates which can lead to air pollution.  Chemical fertilizers contain mineral salts that plant roots can absorb quickly, but these salts do not provide a food source for soil microorganisms. Over time, soil structure declines and so does its water holding capacity.

This is where the true value of manure comes in. When managed properly, manure can transform soil health and regenerate the fertility of a farmer’s fields with limited environmental and social risks.

Manure is the solution

Animal manure is a true soil “builder” because of its ability to improve soil quality. Compared to chemical fertilizers, manure properly applied to land has the potential to:

  • Increase soil carbon and micronutrient levels
  • Reduce soil erosion and runoff
  • Reduce nitrate leaching
  • Increase crop yields

Used as a natural fertilizer and soil conditioner, the micro-nutrients and micro-organisms that are essential to make soil healthy are found in treated manure. Healthy soils act as natural protectants of our groundwater supply, filtering out contaminants. Manure enzymes also increase bacteria and fungi and microbial activity, which is crucial to soil nutrient cycling and the decomposition of organic matter. Together, microbes and enzymes control the soil’s nutrient availability and organic matter quality and quantity. The microbes found in manure also decrease the abundance of harmful organisms, such as disease-causing pathogens and plant pests.

soil value

“The proper use of manure reduces our reliance on commercially mined fertilizers that often have to travel great distances. Ultimately, thoughtful manure use leads to healthier soils, increased yields, and improved economics.” Newtrient

 

Tune in next week when we talk about how healthy soils can increase crop productivity while decreasing feed crop costs.

 

CLEAN WATER AND EMPLOYEE COMFORT – THE OTHER KEY TO PROFITABILITY

Farm workers feed our families and as farmers strive for growth, efficiency and automation to stay competitive, so must they look for more ways to keep their employees safe and productive. Even on the most state of the art operation, farmers and farm workers are still at risk for injuries and in some cases, workplace fatalities. It is estimated that every single day, approximately 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury in the U.S., and according to UC Davis, agricultural injuries cost the U.S. an estimated $7.6 billion in medical and lost productivity costs.

7.6 billion

Manure is a natural by-product of animal agriculture and it is a valuable crop fertilizer.

It can also be a gruesome hazard to employees.

Everyday risks associated with manure include tractors tipping into a manure pit, slips and falls in a dirty barn, and exposure to toxic gases including hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide and methane. The dangers related to manure on the farm are very real. The good news is that manure treatment can eliminate these deadly risks. With less manure to handle and more access to clean water, farms become both cleaner and safer for employees. Increased safety on the farm will result in a greater sense of achievement for employees which has been found to increase morale. This improved morale can lead to consistently maintaining a higher level of productivity.

Farm workers are valuable, and working conditions on the farm will impact many aspects of an employee’s productivity. It is common practice to make today’s modern barns animal friendly, but it is just as important for them to be employee friendly.

Dangers of Manure

Clean barns will save you money!

While rates may vary, workers’ compensation coverage is required by all states and it can expensive. The good news is that farm owners play a big role when it comes to the amount of these premiums. Farms with good safety performance and return-to-work programs earn lower premium rates and in many cases, the option is available to reduce premiums through programs that create safer workplaces and encourage injury prevention. These premiums keep rising but producers can protect themselves against rising premiums by keeping claims to a minimum.

Equipment handling and exposure to raw manure pose some of the greatest safety risks to farm workers. By implementing manure treatment technology, barns will become cleaner. Clean environments are safe environments and better workplace safety leads to fewer claims. Fewer claims directly affect workers’ compensation rates and manure

Did you know that a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can lead to increased productivity? 

The health of the environment isn’t the only concern when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the farm. Manure storage and land application produces greenhouse gases which can also negatively impact human health. Exposure to manure has been linked to psychological stress and adverse effects on the respiratory system and even heart function.  When considering these risks, it is important to note that the LWR System can reduce ghg emissions by up to 80% which will have an immediate effect on air quality.

100 Workers

One way for livestock producers to improve long-term resilience and competitiveness is to implement manure treatment. When the volume of manure to be handled is dropped by 70%, there is less storage and more clean water which will translate into cleaner barns. By implementing the LWR System, producers are increasing workplace safety, decreasing insurance premiums, improving employee morale, and decreasing employee turnover; all of this combined will result in a positive impact on the bottom line.

Always Be Innovating

Hey guys, Jenkins here.

Did you know that at LWR we’re committed to constant research and product development? We also live by my personal motto: Always be innovating!

It really is true that our team never stops innovating. We are passionate about what we do and driven to offer livestock farmers state of the art manure treatment technology that is cost effective, efficient, and user-friendly!

We have come a long way since our first system was first launched in 2011. Over the past 7 years we have learned a ton about manure. Our team has spent countless hours running the equipment, analyzing the data (courtesy of me, of course!) and listening to feedback from the producers who are actually using the system. By combining all the complaints, kudos and recommendations we have been able to exponentially improve almost every aspect of the LWR System. We’ve taken some stuff out, made a lot of things better and have even found ways to give farmers more control over their nutrients than they’ve ever had before. In fact, we’ve made so many improvements that we needed to give the LWR System a brand-new name!

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the LWR2 (pronounced LWRsquared)!

LWR2

The upgrades to this next generation system include:

  • Drier solids
  • Greater control
  • Reduced capital costs
  • 20% smaller footprint
  • Reduced cleaning cycles
  • Fully automated for reduced labor cost
  • Improved membrane technology to reduce fouling
  • Lower cost of consumables than ever before!

I’m sure you’re thinking that with all of these advancements we’ve had to raise the price. But guess what? We didn’t! And we’re even offering 15% off during World Dairy Expo!

If you happen to be at the show this week, be sure to come by and say hi so I can tell you all about it!

~Jenkins

From Zero to 150 and Beyond…

As Canadians get ready to celebrate their 150th anniversary this weekend, they will also be celebrating over 150 years of farming innovation. A lot has changed since 1867 – most notably I sure wasn’t around back then!

Advances in modern agriculture have allowed farms to expand in size, add workers – or reduce them in some cases, increase production, and even extend the growing season. A farm that used to feed five people now feeds 120 and what used to take an entire day to harvest can be done in just minutes! Even dairy cows have become more efficient. The modern dairy cow, with the help of some automated milking technology, improved genetics, and optimized cow comfort, can produce 8 times more milk than she used to!

Now, I’m a manure expert not a milking expert, but I do know that a comfortable and safe cow is a happy cow. That’s why my personal favorite milking technology is DeLaval’s Voluntary Milking System, or VMS. Its special features allow for increased thermal efficiency, constant health monitoring, and faster visible results! Canadian dairy producers from both sides of the country are using this technology. Heeg Dairy Inc. and Legendairy Farms are just a couple of the many producers who are leading the industry into a new era – way to go Canada!

All of this talk about the past 150 years has got me wondering just what food production is going to look like in another 150 years. Flying combines?? Maybe. More robots?? Definitely!

While we still haven’t seen any flying cars – or combines for that matter, modern farms do use flying drones to identify potential problems before they become an issue. These drones can also calculate the optimum time to fertilize and irrigate to maximize water and nutrient application efficiencies.

Over the past 150 years, advances in agriculture have made it possible to grow more with less, and you can bet that even more innovative technologies will emerge – in fact, we’re working on some pretty cool projects right here at our Innovation Center… but you’ll have to stay tuned for more information on that!

Modern agriculture is definitely ahead of the game when it comes to implementing technology and using flying inventions, and at the rate the world is evolving it’s astonishing to even imagine what could be next.

Who knows, maybe we’ll even grow crops on Mars one day…

Keep innovating and Happy Birthday, Canada!

~ Jenkins out!

Sometimes the best there is can also be the best there ever was! 

I’ve just spent the week in Madison at World Dairy Expo and I can tell you that there is simply no better place in the world to check out the latest and greatest in dairy technology and innovation. While we still have one more day to check out all of the vendors, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about one in particular. Sometimes, the best there is can also be the best there ever was…

LWR’s team of manure treatment experts scours the globe finding the absolute best when it comes to complementary technology to offer our clients. Every now and then I will be highlighting some of that technology on this blog, and today I want to tell you why we stand behind FAN Separators as the #1 screw press on the market when it comes to LWR fertilizer solids.

FAN Separators were the pioneers in separation technology and were the very first to bring the screw press to market. After working with a number of other providers, our product development team has unanimously agreed that there is no better press on the market to handle nutrient loaded materials. Not only does the FAN Separator produce the highest dry matter solids, but it pushes more product through quicker.

With an intricate service network, FAN Bauer ‎is committed to offering their clients outstanding customer service. They are the #1 in their field, and the only screw press recommended by yours truly when it comes to manure sludge.

You’ll find them here at World Dairy Expo in the Exhibition Hall (booth 1115).

Tell ’em JENKINS sent you!