No significant differences in corn yield were found between organic and chemical sources of nutrients, but a Texas AgriLife research economist said manure generates higher economic returns than anhydrous ammonia.

Seong Park, AgriLife research economist, recently had his research published in the Agronomy Journal. The work was from studies he conducted in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

The long-term experiment involved the use of pig and beef manure on irrigated corn fields, he said. The testing was conducted in part due to a rapid growth of animal population and density in that region, as well as the northern part of the Texas Panhandle.

Animal manure, he says, benefits producers by reducing waste management costs and the need for chemical fertilizers because it contains multiple essential crop nutrients, according to previous research. Park saysthe key between animal manure transitioning from a cost (for disposal) to a benefit (as a fertilizer) is determined by agronomic and economic factors such as chemical fertilizer costs and equipment and labor needed to apply each.

Park warns that site-specific conditions such as weather, animal waste management practices and soil properties would need to be taken into consideration when adapting this information to locations outside the Oklahoma Panhandle.

"This is a unique economic study on various nitrogen fertilizers using rare and valuable data from a long-term field experiment from 1995 to 2007," Park says. "The next step is to determine best nutrient practices based on this experimental data."

More information.

Source: Texas AgriLife