Substituting Commercial Fertilizer with Manure a Focus of Annual Manure Training Events

Substituting Commercial Fertilizer with Manure a Focus of Annual Manure Training Events

It’s that time of year again and I’m here to help you stay on track for that New Year’s resolution to “Manure Better”. That wasn’t your resolution? I’m sorry, but it would be a great resolution and an achievable one at that, so add it to your list. My New Year’s resolution is to help crop farmers “Manure Better”. The annual land application (manure) training events are coming up soon and may be just the ticket to “help me, help you”.

manure training and liquid spreaderTraditionally, these programs have targeted livestock producers that have permitted operations because of their requirements to attend, but over the last few years, the manure team has been trying to “even our distribution pattern”. While we still meet all those requirements for both initial and recertification of our permitted animal feeding operations, we welcome and encourage crop producers that are using the manure to attend. The manure source doesn’t matter; it can be from their own livestock or from someone else’s critters. The information learned during these manure training events focuses on using the manure on the land to reduce commercial fertilizer prices, thereby increasing your potential profit margin, all while minimizing risk of environmental pollution.  

Highlighted Topics

  • Manure and Soil Sampling
  • Accounting for Nutrient Content
  • Stockpile & Setback Considerations
  • Choosing an Application Rate
  • Manure Value
  • Soil Health Benefits
  • Transportation Costs
  • Environmental & Neighbor Impacts

The event is essentially two programs in one, an initial workshop and a recertification session. The initial workshop will last most of the day (9 am – 4 pm) and includes the recertification session as well as LUNCH! It gets into the nitty gritty of collecting manure and soil samples and then what to do with that information. It builds on that information to help you decide how much manure is needed for a particular field to sufficiently supply the next crop and beyond. During the recertification session (from 1 pm – 4 pm), we use the information learned in the morning workshop to put a value on the manure for a particular field and consider environmental implications of that manure application as well as other barriers and benefits to using manure on a particular field.

All sessions are highly interactive and participant-led using a scenario to describe the manure source and individual fields and crops with different needs. Like all farming decisions, the scenario seems straight forward, but there’s a whole bunch of considerations that can change the outcome. There is limited seating at all locations so we can break each piece down step-by-step and so you can take the information (and the worksheets) home with you to use on your own farming operations.

Sessions include:

  • February 12 – Columbus
  • February 13 – Geneva
  • February 19 – Scottsbluff
  • February 20 – Lexington
  • February 29 – Norfolk
  • March 5 – West Point
  • March 6 – Ord

Pre-registration is required, and you can pay in advance or at the door. For those requiring certification or recertification, fees are $75 per operation. We encourage you to bring as many staff per operation as you wish as long as they’re registered. For those that do not need certification, the fee is $25 per person for the full day program which includes lunch. For more information about these and other locations, or to register for the program, please visit And as always, if you have a manure question you can contact any of the manure team.

This article was reviewed by Agnes Kurtzhals.

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