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Identifying Manure and Compost Export Markets in Montana: to Improve Nutrient Balance on Animal Feeding Operations Background: The current model of animal.

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Presentation on theme: "Identifying Manure and Compost Export Markets in Montana: to Improve Nutrient Balance on Animal Feeding Operations Background: The current model of animal."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identifying Manure and Compost Export Markets in Montana: to Improve Nutrient Balance on Animal Feeding Operations Background: The current model of animal feeding relies heavily on imported nutrients in the form of feed, replacement stock, and commercial fertilizer. Nutrient exports are primarily represented by animals, food, fiber or crops sold, and sometimes exported manure. However, animal feeding operations (AFOs) often have a positive nutrient balance; ie: more nutrients than they can use (figure 1.). Additionally, long term land- application of manure based on nitrogen rates can result in high soil phosphorus, thereby restricting manure use until phosphorus levels can be reduced through crop harvest and export. It may take many years to draw down soil phosphorus levels in this manner. The nutrient management planning process can identify an operation’s nutrient balance. Many AFOs may be in need of manure management options that not only focus on agronomic use of manure on-site, but also manure export to other enterprises. In 2010 MSU Extension, the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, and a private custom manure services company identified and tested markets for exporting compost and raw manure within the region. Transportation distances varied; a separate aspect of these case studies will examine economics. The initial work simply identified and worked with introducing regional manure resources to users external to AFOs. Summary and Discussion: Both the MSU feedlot and the manure services company successfully brokered manure and manure compost during Between the two entities, all of the markets identified in Table 1 were accessed. For the feedlot, a contract was established with a local commercial landscaper before the manure compost was prepared at the lot. The manure services provider engaged in extensive marketing, demonstration and education to access new markets. They custom applied 12,000 tons of raw manure on crop land for multiple clients. Since they have all the necessary equipment and training, they can provide custom services from lot cleaning to transportation and agronomic application in accordance with best management practices and individual producer’s permits. The service provider also provided custom composting services on-site, and then aggregated compost to deliver necessary amounts to a variety of clients. They composted 1,500 tons of manure in 2010, and obtained contracts for additional services and material for A business plan was developed to recover equipment investments over a 2-5 year period, at which time profits will be greatly enhanced. The economic sustainability of these scenarios will be examined. Though success in accessing all of the markets here was found, it is not yet known how much exported manure these markets will support, nor the cycles that demand will follow. Export Strategies: The goal of efficient on-site use of manure nutrients and/or export is to bring a feeding operation back into appropriate nutrient balance (figure 2.). In a best case scenario exports can provide additional income. Education for potential export markets is imperative; they must understand the nutrient values and soil enhancement benefits of manure, in addition to proper usage and the role of best management practices. It can be difficult to successfully market manure and compost in the rural and unpopulated west. Table 1. outlines markets accessed by Montana cattle feeders and manure brokers in 2010, and initial barriers to cooperation. Table 2. outlines the considerations for marketing raw compost versus manure, based on the end user or market. Table 2. User Considerations: Raw Manure versus Compost Use/ApplicationManureCompostNotes Use on fields for conventional crop production X Raw manure will have a higher nitrogen component than compost Use on fields for organic crop production XX Compost has more flexibility for certified organic growers For use in gardens, pots and beds XConsumer friendly Use in commercial nurseries, sod farms, and sports fields XManure odor a concern Erosion control and land remediation X Compost preferred due to reduced weed content Need to reduce manure bulk for export XReduction in volume Value added business opportunity; compost may have enhanced benefits X Markets must exist in area for compost; premium price must be acceptable Neighbors sensitive to raw manure field application X Land applied compost will have little to no odor Need to export manure due to nutrient balance XX Depends on opportunity for use Need to export manure due to nutrient balance and transportation distance is great X Composting reduces overall volume and some nitrogen; concentrates phosphorus Table 1. Market Barriers Excluding Transportation Potential MarketBarrierSolution Conventional Crop Production Fear of weeds; lack of knowledge Education; documentation of weed content or composting temps to destroy weeds Organic Crop Production Fear of weeds; distrust of conventional animal feeding; fear of ag chemical residues Education; documentation of weed content or composting temps to destroy weeds; documentation of ag chemical use; discussions between feeders and organic growers Commercial Horticulture and Sod Farming Fear of residual herbicides Documentation of herbicide use/residues Golf Courses & Sports Fields Unaware of option/lack of knowledge Education, demonstration and marketing Construction E&S Control Standards for Use; lack of knowledge Education of standards for manure and compost use; marketing Remediation Fear of weeds; often need very large amounts Documentation of weed content or composting temps to destroy weeds; broker aggregates supply from multiple sources Farm Boundary Nutrient Outputs Feed Manure Nutrient Inputs Environmental Losses or Soil Storage Nutrient Outputs Nutrient Inputs Farm Boundary Figure 2. Desirable Nutrient Balance Figure 1. Poor Nutrient Balance Thomas Bass*, Julia Dafoe** and Darrin Boss** Montana State University *Animal and Range Sciences Extension **Montana Agricultural Experiment Station - NARC Nutrient Balance Images credit: LPES Curriculum


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