Dairy manure great for corn

Manure from dairy cows is great for corn, says Darren Hefty, who farms with family members near Baltic, S.D., and co-hosts the TV show “AgPhD.”

Besides nutrients, manure adds carbon and microorganisms to the soil, he says.

The Heftys, who get manure from Krogstad Brothers Dairy, use manure as the fertilizer base for some of their corn acres. They typically put enough manure on to supply about half the nutrients the corn needs to reach yield goals. Then they precision-apply commercial fertilizer during planting.

Darren says there are several key steps to getting the most bang for the buck with manure. They include:

Test the manure to see how much nitrogen it contains.

Test the soil so you know what nutrients are in the soil.

Make sure the manure storage basin or barn pit is stirred, so that manure is uniform.

Calibrate the applicator so you are actually applying what you think you are applying.

Inject manure into the soil or incorporate it immediately after spreading.

This article published in the June, 2011 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.