On-the-go N, P, K sampling adds value to hog manure.

Kevin.Schulz, senior content specialist

June 19, 2019

3 Min Read
John Deere’s Manure Constituent Sensing system monitors nutrients that are in manure as it is being applied to a field, all
John Deere’s Manure Constituent Sensing system monitors nutrients that are in manure as it is being applied to a field, allowing the applicator to adjust the amount of manure being applied based on the needs of the crop.Deere & Co.

Hog producers and crop farmers have long understood the value of manure. For hog producers, it has become a byproduct commodity of their operation, a potential revenue source to sell to neighboring crop farmers. For hog producers who also grow row crops, manure can provide a cost savings of reduced commercial fertilizers.

But, just how much nutrient punch does your farm’s hog manure provide for nutrient-hungry corn and soybeans?

Awaiting nutrient results from manure samples sent off for laboratory testing takes a little time, time that might be precious as the soil conditions and the availability of the custom applicators may align sooner than later.

John Mishler feels John Deere has the product that may make it possible for producers to know exactly the nutrient content of the farm’s manure, without even having to send off manure samples, let alone wait for the results.

“Everyone gets busy doing things and sending off manure samples to the lab for testing may get put off, and then the custom applicator calls and they’re coming to your place tomorrow,” says Mishler. “A lot of, or all of the manure, may already be applied before you get the results back.” That can result in overapplying, or wasting nutrients, or underapplying and not giving the crop the needed nutrients.

In June, John Deere announced that the HarvestLab 3000 with Manure Constituent Sensing will be available in August. Mishler, precision ag tactical marketing manager for John Deere, says this new technology analyzes liquid manure 4,000 times per second to provide lab-quality values for nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, as well as real-time values for ammonia nitrogen and dry matter content of the manure as it is being applied to the field.

“This enables the producer to manually adjust speed and volume, or automatically with John Deere Tractor Implement Automation adjust the volume applied based on the nutrient values to meet specific nutrient limits, targets or goals for their fields. This means they can precisely control what they apply and possibly save on commercial fertilizers,” he says.

John Deere’s Manure Constituent Sensing system can be plumbed onto a variety of tanker or dragline equipment for the application of liquid manure.

Mishler says the Manure Constituent Sensing activation works with the HarvestLab 3000 technology that was introduced two years ago to monitor nutrients in forages as they were being harvested for beef and dairy producers. “Producers who have a HarvestLab 3000 are able to now install it on a variety of tanker or dragline equipment for the application of liquid manure,” he says. “The only requirement is that they need to use a John Deere precision ag display. If they aren’t running John Deere equipment, they can easily retrofit their machines of other colors with our 4640 Universal Display. Just because a customer may not have a John Deere tractor doesn’t mean that they can’t take advantage of this solution in their operation. We know compatibility is really important for what producers want to accomplish.”

Manure nutrients are not consistent throughout an entire load, nor are the nutrient requirements the same throughout an entire field. With the ability to offer real-time nutrient testing, and Mishler says by connecting with StarFire receiver technology, producers “can know exactly what nutrient levels were applied at what spots in the field.”

Helping producers be more efficient, environmentally friendly and profitable should be the intent of new technologies, and Mishler believes this does just that. “We’re trying to give tools to producers that help them understand at a more-precise level what they’re actually doing today and how liquid manure fits into their overall nutrient application plan for the farm. In the end, how does it help them maintain and grow yield?” he says, “future profits are protected to the extent that they can be, and costs are controlled. It really comes back to putting the manure application system in a higher level of control.”

Visit JohnDeere.com or a local John Deere dealer for more information.

About the Author(s)


senior content specialist, National Hog Farmer

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