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note that in field experiments conducted for ten years at the Ohio Experiment Station, the average value of the increase of crop produced by one ton of fresh manure amounted to $3.44. If 50 cents per ton is allowed. as the cost of applying the manure to the field there
still remains a handsome profit as a result of the application.
A Profitable Calculation.—The easiest way for the farmer to calculate the value of the manure produced per year on his farm is to add together the amounts of fertilizing constituents in all the feeds fed to the various animals, take 80 per cent of this, and add to it the fertilizing constituents of the bedding, and multiply the totals by the trade prices per pound for nitro
gen, phosphoric acid and potash. If the reader will take the trouble to do this for his own farm, using the table at the back of this book to find the fertilizing constituents in his crops, he will find the results extremely interesting, and will be well repaid for his labor, in the better understanding that he will have of his farm resources.
How to Increase the Value of the Manure.-It often occurs that the farmer finds it necessary for one reason or another to supply more plant food to the soil than can be obtained from the manure produced from the crops raised on his farm. Under these circumstances, if he is engaged in animal husbandry, he will find that the most economical way to increase the plant food is by purchasing feeding stuffs rich in the fertilizing constituents, feeding them to his animals and using the manure as a fertilizer. The most successful stockmen find it profitable to reinforce the feeds raised on the farm with one or more of the various mill and other by-products that are sold as cattle feeds. A glance at the table on page 117 will immediately suggest how easily the value of the manure might be increased at the same time that the ration was being materially improved. It will readily be seen that the purchase of a relatively small quantity of some of tre concentrated feeding stuffs would more than replace the 20 per cent of fertilizing value of the crops lost during feeding. The farmer who buys large quantities of concentrates is increasing the fertility of his land provided he is taking proper care of the manure. In purchasing feeding stuffs one should always consider their fertilizing value as well as the feeding value, for, while the substance is bought primarily to feed, it is sometimes possible to buy two different materials which will serve practically the same use as feeds, and yet vary greatly in their values as fertilizers. Even where a number of animals sufficient to consume all of the crops raised on the farm is at hand it is often advisable to sell some of the products, and use the money thus obtained for the purchase of other feeding stuffs. There is scarcely a farm on which such an exchange could not be made to advantage, both from the feeding standpoint, and in order to increase the value of the manure. A study of the market prices of the various farm products and concentrates in any year will readily show how such exchanges could be made at a profit to the farmer. To illustrate what is meant by this statement the following simple example recently used by the writer in one of his classes is given.
At the time mentioned it was possible to buy on the local market seven tons of clover hay for the price of five tons of timothy hay, and five tons of corn could have been exchanged for six tons of bran. The problem was to determine the increase in fertilizing value due to such an exchange. Calculating the value of the different materials in the manner already described the results may be briefly stated as follows:
Fertilizing value of 7 tons of clover . . . $52.85
Total . . . . . . . . .
$126.65 Fertilizing value of 5 tons of timothy . . . $23.00 Fertilizing value of 5 tons of corn . . . . 28.30
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . $51.30
By a simple exchange of products without any cash outlay the fertilizing value of the ration would have been increased $75.35, and consequently the manure produced would have been worth $60.28 more than that resulting from the use of the corn and timothy hay. The increase in value of the manure does not tell all of the story, for the total weight of food has been increased nearly one-third. Its actual feeding value has been increased more than one-third, due to the larger amount of proteid in the ration. It is well known that cattle require less weight per head of a narrow ration than of one that is more carbonaceous. This example is cited merely as a suggestion of the possibilities of exchange. A little careful consideration will show that such exchanges may be made of great practical value.
The value of manure is affected by the quantity of food given the animal as well as by the quality. Other things being equal the manure from animals fed liberally will be more valuable than that from those that are fed insufficiently. This is mainly due to the fact that the latter use a larger proportion of the nitrogen of the food and hence the percentage returned in the manure is smaller. Liberal feeding then produces richer manure.
LOSSES IN MANURE
Relative Value of Solid and Liquid Excrement.The great possibilities of barnyard manure as a means of supplying nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash to the soil have been discussed at some length. While values equal to those mentioned may be realized by any farmer by the exercise of reasonable care, the fact remains that few even approximate these results with their present practices. Barnyard manure is a perishable material, and must be handled with care and intelligence to obtain its maximum value. As manure is handled on the majority of farms to-day it is doubtful if half its worth is realized. The greatest loss that is likely to occur is the waste of the liquid excrement through the use of insufficient bedding to absorb it. The urine is really the most valuable part of the excrement, and unless plenty of bedding is used the value of the manure will fall far below that given in the previous chapter. Apparently few people realize the importance of using plenty of litter, for it is not unusual to see barns constructed in such a way as to cause the urine to run off as rapidly as possible. Doubtless the reader has before now seen holes bored in the barn floor to keep the floor dry by draining off the liquid excrement. The following table gives the composition of the solid and liquid excrements: