Input costs are always a concern for farmers, even when it involves an output.
Though manure is a valuable resource, it still costs money to get it to the field so its nutrients can make the crops grow this summer.
Iowa State University’s Daniel Andersen, aka Dr. Manure tackles the cost of getting manure to the field in his May 9 “The Manure Scoop” blog.
Looking at costs and application methods are all part of a producer developing a manure application plan, and Andersen looks at data from 41 Iowa commercial manure applicators that were gathered in the fall of 2013 in response to a survey.
Andersen says the survey asked commercial manure applicators in Iowa what they were charging to apply liquid manure, and he admits that the method of application being used was not indicated, merely how that price varied with some different hauling distances. “We have 41 businesses reply with responses (my best guess is there are around 550 commercial manure application businesses in Iowa, at least that is how many are currently certified). Fewer companies did give responses for the further distances — our response rate was: 1 mile, 41 responses; 1-3 miles, 38 responses; 3-5 miles, 25 responses; 5-10 miles, 11 responses, and greater than 10 miles, four responses). Within each distance category I calculated the average application price and standard deviation of the price.”
Andersen reports the survey showed at one mile the average price was $0.013 per gallon of manure applied. A regression equation fit the data well indicating that the manure application cost was about $0.01 per gallon and indicate that there would be a cost of about $0.0035 per gallon per mile the manure is hauled.
Saying this pattern generally held true, he admitted there was greater variability in price at greater transport distances. He advises to remember that these are approximate prices, and the actual price also depends on the specific farm’s application rate, travel path to the field, and hauling equipment used.