Manure is crucial in farming. Without it, the soil simply does not have enough nutrients to grow a successful crop. Usually, to determine how much manure is needed on a given piece of land, core samples are taken from each individual field after the previous crop has been harvested. Samples are then sent to the an agronomist lab where the results tell farmers how much manure is needed based on what is already present within the soil (basically, what has been left, unused from the previous crop after harvest). Typically in our fields we find that corn requires 40 tons/acre; wheat needs 25 tons/acre; and pinto beans need 15 tons/acre. While this process is extremely important and no doubt very helpful, this year, Silver Reef decided to do something a bit out of the box to see if we could get even more out of our harvest.
We came to the decision that for this planting cycle we would abandon the traditional process; instead, we put a blanket of 60 tons on all the corn acres regardless of how much it “technically” needed. Why did we do this? We had been told that once every three years, a rate of 60 tons of manure could potentially be amended into the soil and the corn would not get sick. So we are hoping that this method will result in us having increased tonnage or increased bushels at harvest.
For the last three years, we adhered to the agronomist recommendations. We would place the recommended dosage of manure over our soil and would typically get about 22 tons of silage to the acre. By going down this different route, we’re anticipating that we’ll be able to reach 30 tons of silage per acre. If we don’t reach our goal then this experiment assures us that it’s simply the maximum production capabilities of the soil, and not the amount of manure we’re putting onto it. We look forward to seeing the results for the harvest this fall, and don’t worry; we’ll keep you updated! Stay tuned for late September of 2016!