Developed by the University of Minnesota, the web-based manure value calculator is an online tool to compare the economic value of manure from alternative manure application rates and methods. It can also be downloaded and used as an Excel file. Jose Hernandez with the University of Minnesota explains more. What is the web address?
 HERNANDEZ: The calculator can be found here. For additional information, click here.

Lee karen
Managing Editor / Progressive Dairy

Why was it developed? 

Livestock producers face uncertain markets and narrow margins. This situation motivates growers to optimize production methods, utilizing all resources including manure. In addition, an increase in the price of commercial fertilizer experienced since 2009 has heightened interest in the use of manure for supplying crop nutrients and has significantly increased the value of manure as a nutrient source.

In recent years more producers have been considering the contribution of manure value to cash flow in livestock operation budgets, and seeking an appropriate market value in exchange situations between livestock producers and crop producers. More crop producers also appear to be seeking manure as a major nutrient source, either by purchasing from a livestock producer or by adding livestock to their operations.

Who should use it? 

Livestock and crop producers, agronomists and crop consultants. Feedlot officers and local and regional agricultural educators could also use it.

Is there a cost to use it?
The web-based and Excel-based calculators are both available for free.


What are some unique features? 

It's user-friendly, and uses information readily available in most livestock operations. The estimates are based on actual fertilizer replacement value and application costs. The results provide a summary value of manure in terms of gross and net value above application costs.

How does it work?
The calculator is very self-explanatory and has several help screens.

In Step 1, producers need to enter current fertilizer (if using no manure) and N, P, K and micronutrient needs for the crop.

In Step 2, the user must choose manure source, amount, nutrient content and application method.

Step 3 considers some final adjustments such as second-year benefits, tillage savings and yield boost impact.

Why is this important to understand or utilize?
The web-based calculator may be used to compare the economic value of manure from alternative manure application rates and methods. The value is based on crop nutrient needs for a specific field and crop rotation, fertilizer prices, manure hauling costs, manure type, and application method. In addition to assisting with management of current livestock and crop operations, the calculator can be useful in budgeting new facilities or evaluation of contract production through estimating the effect of manure and manure management on cash flow. The calculations can also assist crop and livestock producers as they estimate the value of manure that may be transferred or sold from one entity to another. PD


Karen Lee

Progressive Dairyman magazine