Ron and Maria Rosmann, Harlan, are moving their farm toward organic production. They compared their own composted hog manure (at a total rate of 14+14+19) to purchased chicken manure (44+54+33) on a field with very high soil test potassium and soil phosphorus testing in the low range (Table 1). Leaf tissue samples taken at silking showed no significant differences between the two practices for any of the major nutrients. At the end of the season the yields were almost the same. Taking into account a $3 per ton charge for making the compost, the economics of the trial still favored the home-composted hog manure by $15.65 per acre.
Tom and Irene Frantzen, Alta Vista, also evaluated an approved organic fertilizer, a pelleted turkey manure marketed under the brand name Sustane® and containing approximately 4-6-4 nutrient value (Table 2). They compared 225 pounds and 375 pounds of Sustane, a zero check treatment, and starter fertilizer (3+8+50). All the treatments yielded similarly, so the zero-rate check represented the most profitable practice.