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Deseret farmer. [volume] (Provo, Utah) 1904-1912, December 12, 1908, Image 2

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010218520/1908-12-12/ed-1/seq-2/

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I 2 THE DESERET FARMER Saturday, December t 1908. I
I AGRONOMY
H Edited by Prof. J. C. Hogcnson.
H STARTLING FACTS ABOUT MA-
H NURE.
H Vast Losses Through Lack of Knowl-
ft edge in Handling Several Timc-
1 Honored Beliefs Disprovcn
H't by Official Experiments.
H American farmers lose between ioo
and 125 million dollars a year through
H wasteful practices in the handling of
H manure, according to authorities on
H agriculture and fertilizers. The great
H bulk, if not all, of this waste could be
H easily saved; in fact, it would be saved
H if American farmers were German
H farmers, or at least it would be snved
H by the farmers of Germany or any
H other of the old countries where every
I ounce of soil fertility is scrupulously
H conserved.
I The average successful farmer who
H may read this statement will say very
H complacently: "Why, I wonder how?
I It doesn't strike mc, anyway, for I
H know the value of good manure and
H I use every bit of it that I can get."
I But just a. minute. Arc you certain
that you make the best use of all your
I manure? When you haul a ton of
H manure onto the field, is its fertilizing
I content all that it should be and arc
you sure that from 10 to so per cent
of its fertilizing value has not been
I dissipated through leaching, firc-fang-I
ing or lack of provision to absorb or
conserve the animal urine? Take as
H an instance the case of urine alone:
H A cow will produce 40 or 50 pounds
I of solid manure a day, but she will
I also make from 20 to 30 pounds, of
I urine and fully one-half of the nitro-
gen in her ration goes into that urine.
I So it is important to conserve the
I urine.
Prof. Taliaferro of the Maryland
w1 Agricultural Station says that even
B;' though manure is highly regarded by
I all farmers in sections where fcrtiliz-
crs arc needed, nevertheless there is
I probably no product of equal value
I which is so much neglected and so
I poorly cared for. The first great
I source of loss, he says, Is through the
incomplete absorption of the urine
I and that it is not infrequent to see no
I attempt being mad cto save this por
I tion of the manure in spite of the fact
that it is richer in both nitrogen and
potash than is the dung and that
these fcrilizcrs arc more available for
the plant in the urine than in the
dung.
Great Loss, Through Leaching.
The second greatest source of waste
of manure is the loss incurred by
leaching. If manure is piled against
the side of the stable where the water
from the oaves can drip on it, or if it
is piled on a slope or other exposed
places, every heavy rain washes out
large quantities of nitrogen and pot
ash. These leached chemicals arc the
most valuable portions of the pile,
the most available for plant forcing.
The third common source of loss is
that incurred by heating and ferment
ing. When manure is put in piles it
soon heats and throws off more or
less gas and vapor. The fermenta
'tion which produces these gases is
caused by the action of bacteria or
minute organisms. The bacteria
which produce the most rapid fermen
tation in manure, in order to work
their best, need plenty of air, or, more
strictly, oxygen. Therefore fermen
tation will be most rapid in loosely
piled manure. Heat and some mois
ture arc necessary for fermentation,
but if the manure is wet, fermentation,
is checked because the temperature is
lowered and much of the oxygen ex
cluded from the pile. The odor of
ammonia, common around a stable,
is a simple evidence of the fermenta
tion and loss which is going on.
Surprising Losses in Weight and
Strongth. 1
Fresh manure loses in the process
of decay from 20 to 70 per cent of its
original weight. An 8o-ton heiap of
cow manure left exposed for one year
lost 66 per cent of its dry substance.
Some tests conducted by the Cornell
Experiment Station showed that 2
tons of horse manure exposed in a
pile for five months lost 57 per cent
of its gross weight, 60 per cent of its
nitrogen, 47 per cent of its phosphojric
acid) and 76 per cent of its potash.
Five tons of cow manure exposed for
the same length of time in a compact
pile lost, through leaching and dissi
pation of gases, 49 per cent in gross
weight, 41 per cent of its nitrogen, 19
per cent of its phosphoric acid and 8
per cent of its potash. Here was a
waste, veritably, yet no greater than
is to be found in much common farm
practice. What would it reduce to in
dollars and cents?
Take the horse manure, as showing
the greater waste. A' ton -of average
fresh horse manure, from, animals fed
an ordinary balanced ration, contaiiij
about 10 pounds of nitrogen, 5 pounds
of phosphoric acid and 10 pounds of
potash. Of course the quantities of
these fertilizing chemicals in manure
vary with the animal's ration. A cow
pea or clover ration, for instance, is
much richer in nitrogen than one of
timothy or corn fodder. But taking
these figures as a basis:
One Ton of Average Manure.
Nitrogen, 10 lbs., 60 percent loss,
or 6 lbs., at $0.15 ......$0.90
Phosphoric acid, 5 lbs., 47 percent
loss, or 2.4 lbs., at $0.06 14
Potash, 10 lbs., 76 percent loss,
or 7.6 lbs., at $0.04 34
Total loss in value per ton .$1.38
Here was a loss of $1.38 per ton out
of a total estimated value of $2.25 per
Jon, which is a fair valuation for a
ton of average fresh horse manure.
The remedy for such greater or
loss losses is simple. The first step
to prevent the loss of the fertilizing
elements in manure is to provide
plenty of bedding or litter in the
stable to absorb and save all the liquid
parts. The losses due to fermentation
can be greatly checked by mixing
horse manure with cow manure and
making the piles compact so as to ex
clude the air, and by thoroughly wet
ting the manure, which will assist in
excluding the air and also reduce the
temperature. The use of chemical or
mechanical absorbents, such as plaster
(gypsum), kainit, finely ground phos
phate rock (raw), etc., in the stable,
o'r sprinkled over the manure, assists
in preserving the manure, absorbing
the liquids and preventing loss of
gases. Loss from washing or leach
ing may be prevented by piling ma
nure under cover or in basin-like de
pressions where there is a clay foun
dation; or still best of all, by hauling
out directly to the field and spreading
it as soon as produced.
"There were no better manure sav
ers than some of the thrifty old
Scotch farmers," said Secretary Wil
son, of the Department of Agricul
ture, in speaking of manure waste.
"Their practice was to dig n consid
erable hole in clay and put the cows 1
down into this. The animals tramped 1
everything down compactly, and when I
the hole was finally full, the manure I
was in almost ideal shape. It had re- I
taincd practically tall of its strength j
and fertilizing value. However," con
tinued the Secretary, arid in this he is
supported by the consensus of agri
cultural practice and opinion, "the
ideal way on the average farm is to
follow the plan, all through the year,
of hauling -manure directly from the
stable to the field and spreading it at
once, at the same time providing
plenty of straw or other bedding ma
terial in the stable to retain all the
urine."
"How's that?", can be heard from
several sides. "Surely Secretary Wil
son, who is a most practical farmer,
as well as a "professor," certainly
didn't say to haul your manure out
any month during the year. Why,
Miybody, most, knows that if manure
is hauled and spread, in midsummer,
the sun will scorch it to a tinder and
burn out ajl the good."
Well, it docs, perhaps, look reason
able to suppose that it would be better
practice to put the fresh manure into
the Scotch pit and have it tramped 1
down to spread it out on the field I
and have it burnt up by an August I
sun; but the facts arc otherwise, and
while the manure pit way is second
best, Mr. Wilson knew just what he
was talking about and has plenty of
support for his statement that the
ideal way to handle manure is to haul
it directly onto the field and spread
it, at any time during the year. The
government agricultural station in
Maryland, just outside of Washing
ton, decided to determine this matter
accurately and its experiments have
exploded two very common beliefs,
the summer burning theory being one
of them. The other common belief
which has been proven wrong is that
it is better to .plow manure under in
the fall than to leave it exposed on the
land's surface during the winter and
then plow it under in the spring. In
the first instance manure spread in
July and allowed to stand until the
following spring gave better results
than that spread in October and still
better results than that spread in the 1
following spring just before plowing. 1
In the second experiment better yields I
were secured after allowing the ma- I
nurc to lie on top of the land all win- I

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