Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grasses; Swine effluent provides fertilizer boost equal to urea

Date:
July 5, 2011
Source:
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Summary:
Access to swine effluent or waste water can help a producer grow more grass. But a Texas researcher says the grass is "greener" economically if it is a cool-season rather than a warm-season variety. 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.

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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. The original article was written by Kay Ledbetter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Seong C. Park, Jeffrey D. Vitale, J. Clemn Turner, Art Stoecker, Jeffory A. Hattey. Economic Potential of Swine Effluent in Intensified Forage Systems in the Southern Plains. Journal of American Society of Farm Manager and Rural Appraisal, 2011; 74 (1): 97-119 [link]

Cite This Page:

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grasses; Swine effluent provides fertilizer boost equal to urea." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705183843.htm>.
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. (2011, July 5). Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grasses; Swine effluent provides fertilizer boost equal to urea. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705183843.htm
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Cool-season grasses more profitable than warm-season grasses; Swine effluent provides fertilizer boost equal to urea." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110705183843.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Will Climate Rallies Spur Change?

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) Organizers of the People's Climate March and other rallies taking place in 166 countries hope to move U.N. officials to action ahead of their summit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

Thousands March in NYC Over Climate Change

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Accompanied by drumbeats, wearing costumes and carrying signs, thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Manhattan and other cities around the world on Sunday to urge policy makers to take action on climate change. (Sept. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins