Cihacekj’s Weblog

September 21, 2008

Grass is Certainly Greener on the Other Side

Filed under: Economy — Jessica Cihacek @ 6:31 pm

People generally think I’m crazy when I tell them I live in a house where at any given moment there’s typically more dogs residing than girls.  A chocolate lab by the name of Moose, a Yorkie by the name of Ollie and now, a Westie by the name of Riley occupy the majority of my roommates’ time.  Now that two of them are becoming potty trained (the dogs, not my roommates), I’m noticing patches of greener, more plush grass in our front yard.

This stuff really does work, huh?  In a suffering economy, more farmers and landowners are turning to, not necessarily dog poo, but manure in general, as a more cost-efficient mean to fertilization.  I see why.  So does UNL.  On the manure management page of the University’s website, it provides information on air quality, environmental planning, manure value, and hey, for those interested, storage and handling techniques!  Thanks to a manure management team, this information is available to those concerned with rising oil prices and the effect this has on cultivation in a predominantly agricultural state.

A lot goes into spreading manure though, including inspection of the cow/calf/ranch operation, application fees, regulations, nutrient management plans and assured air quality.  So is the change from petroleum-based fertilizers to “enriched” fertilizers really worth a few bucks?  Perhaps this is a question for someone knee-deep in it and understands just how much manure a few cows can generate.  A study conducted out of Oregon State University says that one cow can fertilize 1.5 acres.  If you’ve ever been to a farm, ranch, or acreage, you know there is typically more than one cow per acre.  At this rate, manure starts to pile up pretty fast.  Pollution begins to be the obvious downfall.  But there are ways to get around it, and UNL’s manure management website is there to help.

With this said, the majority of soil scientists around the area can safely agree that if you’re spending money on fertilizer, stop.  If you’re spreading manure, do it carefully, to see that the grass just really may be greener on the other side.

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