Good effects of manure 0
Josh Chalmers Standard Reporter - Mellisa McWilliam, of Western Feedlots, addresses a crowd of about 25 at the Strathmore Travelodge on Thursday, Feb. 17. Western Feedlots was hosting an information session about the value of manure with speeches by Dr. Frank Larney of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Matt Gosling of Premium Ag Services.
It may be a smelly subject but at an information session held by Western Feedlots on Thursday, Feb. 16 the message was clear, manure is a good thing.
With presentations by Dr. Frank Larney of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Matt Gosling of Premium Ag Services and Melissa McWilliam, Farming and Resources Manager for Western Feedlots, the session provided information on the long term effects of manure versus fertilizer.
One of the main points brought up by all the speakers is the fact that, due to negative connotations, manure has become undervalued.
"If it (manure) is managed properly it's a really good source of nutrients for crop production," said Larney.
Those practices rely on proper testing of both soil and manure to make sure that the right amount is applied based on the crop being put in. This will help minimize any adverse environmental effects.
"You match the application rates to what you expect the crop to take up," said Larney. "Theoretically if you follow that you should have no nutrient leakage from the system and you should have no environmental issues."
Larney pointed to several studies that showed that manure actually will often outperform fertilizers in cases where erosion has reduced the amount of topsoil available. This is primarily due to its' abilities to act as a binding agent for the soil and allowing for water to be absorbed more readily.
Gosling said that manure actually releases its' nutrients over a longer period of time allowing the benefits of it to be seen several years after application. Although increased crop yields will see the largest benefit in the first few years of use.
In the past one of the problems for manure usage has been transportation costs, since it has so much water content it can be heavier with less actual nutrient content. This has prohibited producers outside of 10 kilometres from a feedlot, or manure producer, from purchasing the product. But with increasing fertilizer prices and producers able to get a more accurate reading on how much plant nutrition is in the product that is changing quickly, according to all of the speakers.
For more information on Western Feedlots manure program, or to become a buyer, see their website at www.westernfeedlots.com.