Final Report for FNE97-176
Notes to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE97-176
Mr. Kreher and his family have a chicken farm which, in addition to eggs, produces on the order of 15,000 tons of manure annually. The Krehers have been composting this manure, and attempting to sell it, with mixed success. The purpose of this SARE project was to demonstrate that their compost is an effective and economical source of nutrients.
Mr. Kreher enlisted the cooperation of four other farmers, who applied his compost to their crops of barley, apples, and field corn at rates up to two tons per acre. Two of the cooperators gave additional applications of commercial fertilizers. The other two, both of whom are organic farmers, provided no other nutrients.
Yield measurements showed, not surprisingly, that the manure had a salutary effect. Application of compost at rates up to 1000 lbs/acre was definitely justified by the greater yields that resulted. A rate of 2000 lbs/acre appeared to be justified in some cases. Even 2000 pounds/acre did not fully satisfy crop N requirements, but application at still higher rates failed to produce an additional increment of yield sufficient to justify the greater expense. Mr. Kreher stresses, however, that yields obtained from the first harvest after applying the compost do not give a fair picture. It is not until after three years, or even more, with substantial applications of compost each year, that the rate of mineralization of nitrogen in the compost can be expected to approach a level sufficient to satisfy the full needs of the crop.