Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grasses

06.07.2011
Swine effluent provides fertilizer boost equal to urea

Access to swine effluent or waste water can help a producer grow more grass. But a Texas AgriLife Researcher says the grass is "greener" economically if it is a cool-season rather than a warm-season variety.

Dr. Seong Park, AgriLife Research economist in Vernon, said while the warm-season grasses appear to have a greater growth boost with swine effluent application, the cool-season grasses have marketing advantages that make it a more viable economic option for producers in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Southern Plains.

Park recently had the results of his study published in the Journal of American Society of Farm Manager and Rural Appraisal. The study was funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant for "Comprehensive Animal Waste Systems in Semiarid Ecosystems." Cooperators in the study were Dr. Jeffrey Vitale and Dr. Jeffory Hattey, both with Oklahoma State University.

The study evaluated the risk and economics of intensive forage production systems under four alternative types of forage and two alternative nitrogen sources, he said. The results will help farmers make better informed production decisions.

The study compared two cool-season grasses — orchard grass and wheatgrass — with two warm-season grasses — Bermuda grass and buffalo grass, he said. The two nitrogen sources used to fertilize the crop were urea or swine effluent.

Park said their model showed that intensified production of cool-season grasses with the application of fertilizer appeared to be the more economically viable option for producers in the Southern Plains.

This, in part, was due to seasonal constraints on forage production which drive up prices of cool-season grasses, he said, providing better marketing opportunities than warm-season grasses.

When combined with lower production costs and more stable yields, cool-season grasses have higher returns and less risk than warm-season grasses, which often have negative returns, Park said.

The average economic return of the cool-season grasses was $274.17 per acre, which was considerably higher than the warm-season grasses average return of $36.64 per acre, he said.

"This is an interesting result, since the dry matter yields of warm-season grasses were found to be significantly higher in the field trials than those of the cool-season grasses," Park said.

The difference between yield and economic performance can be explained by both the higher market prices and lower variable costs of the cool-season grasses that compensated for the lower yields, he said.

When it came to the comparison of swine effluent and urea, Park said the swine effluent generated significantly greater returns when applied on the warm-season grasses but provided no growth advantage over urea on the cool-season grasses.

All the grasses respond to higher fertilizer levels, he said. However, the economic model showed urea applications beyond 150 pounds per acre would never be economically efficient due to declining product value at a higher rate.

For swine effluent however, the economic model suggests that higher fertilizer levels could generate higher returns since the marginal-value product has not yet decreased, Park said.

At such higher fertilizer levels, it is possible that swine effluent could result in significantly higher dry matter yields than urea, he said.

Based on average economic returns, the economic model was not able to provide a single best alternative, but it was able to conclude that cool-season grasses perform better than warm-season grasses, Park said.

Four alternatives from the cool-season grasses emerge as generating the highest economic return. These include orchard grass applied with 450 pounds per acre of swine effluent, orchard grass applied with 50 pounds of urea, wheatgrass applied with 450 pounds of swine effluent and wheatgrass applied with 50 pounds of urea.

While there were slight differences in economic returns between them, ranging between $297.19 and $305.03 per acre, the differences were not significant, Park said.

The performance ranking of each forage species was, however, dependent on the decision maker's attitude toward risk, Park said. Urea was found to have less risk than swine effluent and would be the preferred choice for even modestly risk-averse producers.

Future research will be required to explore different types of warm- and cool-season forages to identify a wider range of options for producers, he said.

"This should include investigating other types of management options including herbicides, integration into crop rotations and other types of animal manure, particularly beef," Park said. "This could also provide solutions to producers from a wider range of farming systems beyond the Oklahoma Panhandle and Southern Plains."

Dr. Seong Park | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

Further reports about: AgriLife AgriLife Research Oklahoma Panhandle Southern forage production

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen

nachricht Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>