April 6, 2010

Contacts: see list at end

Thankful for Manure: Nutrient Management Info Now Online at www.nnyagdev.org

Efficient use of manure and other nutrient sources, including soil, crop residue and purchased fertilizer, can save farmers money. To help North Country farmers reduce fertilizer costs without comprising crop quality or yield, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a dozen articles and four farmer profiles written by NNY Cornell Cooperative Extension field crops educators, W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Agronomist Eric Young and Cornell University staff at http://www.nnyagdev.org/_agbasedevironmgmt.htm#Fertilizer_Management

Cornell Cooperative Extension Lewis County Field Crops Educator Joseph R. Lawrence, author of several of the articles posted online, says, “Volatility in the commercial fertilizer markets has led to escalating prices and reduced availability issues that have farmers asking just how many nutrients crops need and the best way to get those nutrients to the crops.”

“Be Thankful for Your Manure” author W.H. Miner Agricultural Institute Agronomist Eric Young, says, “In these tough economic times, it is good to estimate the value of liquid dairy manure already on the farm and that does not cost anything. Some people are surprised to learn that a 4,500-gallon load of liquid dairy manure is worth about two cents per gallon ($90/load) considering just its N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) nutrient value.”

Young points out that dairy manure also provides such important nutrients as sulfur, manganese, iron, copper, chloride, molybdenum, zinc, boron and organic carbon.

“The bottom line is we should view manure as the true nutrient source that it is. Our five-million gallon manure pit at Miner Institute represents approximately $100,000 worth of N-P-K value that does not have to be purchased,” Young says.

Lawrence, Young, and Cornell Cooperative Extension Jefferson County Field Crops Educator Michael E. Hunter recommend using the latest tests and tools to determine nutrient availability and nutrient needs.

“By utilizing soil and manure test analysis with farm crop plans, farmers can avoid spending money on unneeded fertilizer,” Lawrence says. “The tests help identify the nutrients you can obtain from on-farm fertilizer sources, which, in turn, promotes good environmental stewardship.”

Young adds, “Recent research by Cornell University has demonstrated promise for using the Illinois Soil Nitrogen Test (ISNT) in New York corn fields. A recently-published study showed that the ISNT corrected for organic matter content was 83 percent accurate in predicting the nitrogen responsiveness of second-year corn fields.”

In “Manure Nutrient Credit Calculators Online,” Hunter suggests using three software-based tools developed by Cornell University’s Nutrient Management Spear Program.

“These computerized programs calculate the available nutrients from manure and plowed sods and the nitrogen requirements to grow corn in New York,” Hunter says. “They provide the user with valuable information needed to make accurate and prudent fertilizer-use decisions on an individual field basis.”

NNY farmers are using the results of crop nutrient management research funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) and conducted by Cornell researchers on NNY farms and at Miner Institute to harvest cost savings.

Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program Director Dr. Quirine M. Ketterings says, “Based on research conducted in Northern New York and combined with similar work elsewhere in New York state, we conclude that first-year corn does not require any additional N beyond
small starter nitrogen application of about 30 lbs. per acre.”

“Given the high price of nitrogen and the continued price uncertainty, using nitrogen tests to fine-turn corn N needs makes economic sense,” Young says.

The nutrient management resources online at www.nnyagdev.org and available from Cornell Cooperative Extension offices and the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute include:
• Do Your Fields Need Lime? – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Estimating the fertilizer value of manure – E. Young, WH Miner Institute
• Fertilizer: So Many Choices – Part 1 – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Fertilizer: So Many Choices – Part 2 – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Fertilizer: So Many Choices – Part 3 – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Liming Materials: Know what you are getting – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Manure Nutrient Credit Calculators Online – M. Hunter, CCE Jefferson County
• Nitrogen Fertilizer 101 – M. Hunter, CCE Jefferson County
• A Second Look at Nitrogen Additives – J. Lawrence, CCE Lewis County
• Soil Nitrogen Testing for Corn – E. Young, WH Miner Institute
• Soil Testing for Corn Nitrogen Needs – E. Young, WH Miner Institute
• Hotlink to Whole farm nutrient balancing resources at Cornell University.

The series also includes profiles on Northern New York farmers:
• Research leads to lower nitrogen rates on corn at Kiechle farm
• Lewis County Farmer Darren McIntyre Participates in Statewide Manure Incorporation Project
• St. Lawrence County Farmer Dan Chambers Sees Promising Results from Manure Incorporation Trials
• Timing is Right for Manure Incorporation Study at Mapleview Dairy LLC in St Lawrence County.

For more information, contact:
• Clinton County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Peter Hagar, 518-561-7450
• Clinton County: W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute, Eric Young, 518-846-7121
• Essex County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Anita Deming, 518-962-4810
• Cornell University E.V. Baker Research Farm at Willsboro, Michael Davis, 518-963-7492
• Franklin County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Stephen Canner, 518-483-7403
• Jefferson County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Mike Hunter, 315-788-8450
• Lewis County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Joe Lawrence, 315-376-5270
• St. Lawrence County Cornell Cooperative Extension: Stephen Canner, 315-379-9192.

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