Manure Sampling Program Initiated
A Little Bit Country
Livestock manure has value. It can provide valuable nutrients to crops grown on land where it is applied. However, the exact amount of nutrients can be highly variable. According to data archived at the NDSU Soil Testing Laboratory the nitrogen content of manure from beef cattle ranged from 6.7 to 64.8 pounds per ton. Similar ranges were also found for phosphorus and potassium. These variations in nutrient content are associated with diet, age and storing practices.
With such variation in nutrient content it is easy to understand manure can be under and over-applied. With this in mind, two NDSU Livestock Environmental Management Specialists have initiated a Manure Nutrient Sampling Program. They want to sample and test manure of cattle, swine, sheep, horses, poultry and other livestock. This will be done free of charge for any North Dakota livestock owner.
Participating producers can expect to be asked a few questions regarding animal diet and storage of manure. The test results will be shared with the participating producer. The data will be used to create a publication covering nutrients found in North Dakota manure; however, participant information will remain anonymous.
Assessing Winter Injury of Wheat
Last year’s winter wheat yields were phenomenal. This was encouragement to make another planting last fall. Because of the dry soil moisture conditions, the wheat plants were slow to germinate and had below normal growth going into the winter. Within a few days we will be able to make a good assessment as to the extent of injury and possible death of the plants resulting from the cold temperatures of winter.
Because winter has the ability to produce more productive tillers than spring wheat, low plant populations of winter wheat can still produce significant yields. Research conducted at the USDA Ag. Research Station near Mandan shows that winter wheat at 8 plants per square foot can still produce 88 percent of the maximum yield and that even stands as low as 5 plants per square foot can produce close to 70 percent of the maximum yield.
Providing added nitrogen fertilizer to their stands has been a good practice to stimulate tillering of winter wheat. This should be done as soon as possible after the wheat breaks dormancy. If a substantial amount of nitrogen was applied in the fall at seeding or before the soil was frozen, 25 pounds of nitrogen per acre is generally adequate to stimulate tillering. Urea is the likely choice for a broadcast application of nitrogen. This should be done just prior to a rain forecast to prevent nitrogen loss through volatilization. Urea treated with Agrotain will help to minimize the potential for nitrogen loss.
On The Move
We have moved again. The Williams County/NDSU Extension Office has relocated to the new county building located across the street southeast of the courthouse/law enforcement complex. Although we have a new address, 302 East Broadway, we retained the same phone number 701-577-4595. Our office is conveniently located on the ground floor along with planning/zoning and the building department.