March 20 workshop to explain how to capture dollars from leftover manure, nitrogen

By Dan Martens
University of Minnesota Extension

Fertilizer expenses for growing corn in 2011 ranged from a bottom 10 percent average of $26/acre to a top 10 percent average of $188/acre. This is based on Farm Business Management Records sorted for Stearns, Benton and Morrison counties.

The University of Minnesota Extension will host a workshop Wednesday, March 20, at the Cornerstone Restaurant in Melrose from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its purpose will be to address two major keys for managing crop production costs related to nutrients already available on the farm: manure and nitrogen left from a previous alfalfa crop.

Extension Educator Randy Pepin works with special projects for nutrient management. Randy will lead a discussion in the morning part of the workshop, looking at soil grid sampling from several on-farm case studies. The information helps to identify strategies for making better use of manure nutrients and working with practices and variables that affect how manure nutrients work for the crop — while taking care of soil and water resources and staying in compliance with manure application rules.

In the afternoon, state Extension Corn Specialist Jeff Coulter and research assistant Matt Yost will share information from on-farm field trials checking the reliability of nitrogen available from an alfalfa crop being planted next to corn. Minnesota research shows that 150 pounds of nitrogen can be available for use by corn crop planted next. Farmers and crop advisers have some questions about that. The field trials help to answer some of those questions.

Registration is free for the first 30 RSVP’s and $5 after that. Pre-registration is appreciated as helpful for meal plans. For registration or other information, call Stearns-Benton-Morrison County Extension Educator Dan Martens at 1-800-964-4929, or if a local call to Foley 968-5077.