Developing a Strategy For Utilizing Yard Waste Compost In A Corn And Soybean Rotation To Increase Soil Quality

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2014: $15,736.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Project Coordinator:
Ryan Schweihofer
Schweihofer Farms

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: general grain crops


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Production Systems: general crop production
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil quality/health

    Proposal summary:

    Compost has been used in many different types of farming operations primarily in horticulture and vegetable production; however in this area there has not been a source of compost large enough to supply the needs of grain crop farmers in the area.  The objective of this grant is to find out how much compost should be applied in a corn/soybean rotation to see a sustainable response and then consider the economic sustainability.  If this project is successful, farmers will be able to reduce material entering the landfill, increase their yields and net farm income, increase soil quality such as organic matter, water holding capacity, and increase nutrient levels.  Once farmers gain confidence and experience in the use of compost for grain crops, compost suppliers will need to increase compost availability that can be used on a large scale basis. 


    This research may result in an economical, sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to using yard waste compost for field crops production and serve as a model for other partnerships in metropolitan / agriculture areas of the North Central Region.


    Each farmer cooperator will be applying two rates of compost (2.5 tons/acre and 5 ton/acre) plus a control (3 treatments total) for two years.  The compost will be applied in the same field at each of the three farms with a corn/soybean rotation. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The goal is to try to build soil quality and soil organic matter through the use of yard waste compost in a corn/soybean rotation while possibly reducing commercial fertilizer usage.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.