Battle for Lake Erie includes debate over manure-based phosphorus concentration

8/31/2020
BY TOM HENRY / THE BLADE

A major agronomic debate is being played out in Columbus now, which has potentially large ramifications for western Lake Erie and goes beyond simply looking at the staggering volumes of liquid and solid excrement produced by northwest Ohio cows, hogs, and chickens.

It focuses on the minutia of agricultural science, right down to the parts per million of phosphorus applied to soil in the form of manure.

One of the many groups raising questions is the Lake Erie Foundation, a consortium of Lake Erie-area business and environmental interests. That group and others, including Lake Erie Waterkeeper, want manure-based phosphorus applications dialed down to roughly the same concentration as commercially made, synthetic fertilizers, which is about 40 to 50 parts per million. Manure has for years been applied on northwest Ohio crop farms at much higher concentrations, usually 150 ppm. Some critics, though, claim the application rate has, in reality, gotten as high as 200 ppm to 250 ppm.

From information gathered in a public records request, the foundation believes the state of Ohio has rejected a recommendation from an independent consultant, McKinsey & Co., to promote 50 ppm as a limit for manure, even though Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture director, showed support for that in 2019. The firm was paid $1.5 million to provide advice to the DeWine administration for its H2Ohio program, which aims to improve water quality statewide through better farming techniques, more and improved wetlands, better pipelines, and other measures. Continue reading

Poultry Litter Application

Loading poultry litter

By Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Stockpiles of poultry litter can be seen in farm fields across Ohio. While common each year in wheat stubble fields, there also many stockpiles in soybean fields. Poultry litter is an excellent source of plant nutrients and readily available in most parts of the state.

Poultry litter can be from laying hens, pullets, broilers, finished turkeys, turkey hens, or poults. Most of the poultry litter in the state comes from laying hens and turkey finishers. Typical nutrient ranges in poultry litter can be from 45 to 57 pounds of nitrogen, 45 to 70 pounds of P2O5, and 45 to 55 pounds of K2O per ton. The typical application rate is two tons per acre which fits nicely with the P2O5 needs of a two-year corn/soybean rotation. Continue reading

Application of Manure to Double Crop Soybeans

By Glen Arnold, OSU Extension

Wheatfields have been or will be harvested in Ohio soon and some farmers will plant double-crop soybeans. In recent years there has been more interest from livestock producers in applying manure to newly planted soybeans to provide moisture to help get the crop to emerge.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted soybeans. It’s important that the soybeans were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating soybean seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so soil phosphorus levels are kept an acceptable range. Continue reading

Ohio Pork Producers and Soil or Manure Samples

From the Ohio Pork Council

The Ohio Pork Council is pleased to announce its partnership with Brookside Laboratories to provide discounted soil and manure samples for all Ohio pig farmers. In an effort to help your operation, Brookside Laboratories has generously offered to provide soil samples for $3/sample and manure samples for $20/sample for all Ohio pig farmers. Continue reading

2019 North American Manure Expo

The 2019 North American Manure Expo is being held on July 31st and August 1stat Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. This event is a great opportunity to see new manure technology, gain knowledge through educational sessions, and see equipment being demonstrated.

The Expo kicks off on Wednesday, July 31st with tours in the morning followed by liquid manure agitation demonstrations, special industry presentations, and the trade show in the afternoon.

Continue reading