Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE02-438.
The two sets of forage sample analysis (one set each of alfalfa and of clover from the June 10th cutting and one set of alfalfa and clover from the August cutting) show nitrogen content of 2.2%. Using the annualized establishment costs (determined in last year’s final report (see Farm-Grown Nitrogen Costs, Flying Ewe Farm 2002 spreadsheet)) of $180.36 added to our 2002 custom harvest costs equals $418.56. Our yield shows we had 245 bales weighing on the average 23# each, giving 5635# total air dry weight harvested. When multiplied by percent total dry matter (Average of 91%), we garner a total of 1988.35# of total dry matter (TDM). When TDM is multiplied by the 2.2% nitrogen analysis, it is determined that 112.81# of total nitrogen was grown. Dividing total 2002 costs of $418.56 by 112.81# figures of the cost per pound of nitrogen grown is $3.71 (see price comparison to store-bought organic nitrogen amendments such as blood-meal, alfalfa meal and fish-meal, prices obtained from calculations using the 2002 Fedco Seeds, Waterville ME, catalog). Compared to our cost per pound of nitrogen at $6.49 in 2001, we see last years conclusions being confirmed regarding our cost per # of nitrogen decreasing, and quite dramatically. Even figuring that we may have additional costs next year of reseeding the one acre of alfalfa with clover seed, it makes good economic sense to grow my own hay for a high nitrogen mulch.
With our 2002 cost per pound of nitrogen now determined, we figure that for Treatment 1 with 66 lb of hay at 91% DM, we applied 60.6# total dry weight (TDM), multiplied by 2.2% N equals 1.32 lb of nitrogen at a cost of $4.90. Using the same formula, Treatment 2 with 132 lb of hay, translates to 120 lb TDM, equaling 2.64 lb nitrogen at the cost of $9.97. Treatment 3 with 198 lb of hay mulch becomes 144 lb TDM, equaling 4 lb nitrogen applied at a cost of $14.83.