Ed Lentz talks to a group of farmers about phosphorus management during Thursday’s Agronomy Day at the Ohio State University Extension office in Van Wert. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Ed Lentz talks to a group of farmers about phosphorus management during Thursday’s Agronomy Day at the Ohio State University Extension office in Van Wert. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
VAN WERT — Van Wert County Ohio State University Educator Curtis Young likes to peg the heart of winter days as the “education season” for farmers. It’s always a challenge, Young said on Thursday during the 2017 Agronomy Day, to supply topics that answer farmers’ current questions and needs concerning farming.

“Every agricultural setting is different,” said Young. “Everyone has different questions and things to be addressed. We try to touch on topics we feel could be pertinent for the times and make ourselves available to be open to questions and discussion throughout the day.”

Thursday’s meeting was held at the Ohio State University Extension office in Van Wert and addressed such topics as changing weed population, chicken manure’s fit into a phosphorus management plan, winter manure application rules in the Western Lake Erie Basin, science versus sales and safety concerns with reintroducing livestock production back to the farm.

The under-riding theme in much of the discussion pertained to understanding the importance between soil applications, the amount of phosphorus in applications and rules pertaining to the Western Lake Erie Basin watershed.

Other topics included using livestock manure with growing corn to capture the nitrogen value from the soil.

In his seminar dealing with how chicken manure fits into the nutrient phosphorus management plan, Ed Lentz of Agriculture and Natural Resources from Hancock County stated that the nutrient value of poultry manure comes from the balance concerns between phosphorus and nitrogen.

“You hit phosphorus restrictions quicker because of water restrictions,” said Lentz. “Manure can become a real problem when compared to water quality.”

Lentz said the benefits of poultry manure include improved soil structure, water infiltration and the shortening of organic matter.

Lentz noted that Van Wert County is one of the lighter counties around as far as poultry production, especially versus heavy poultry farming in Mercer County and increased farming in Paulding County.

“Poultry manure is higher in phosphorus than manures such as dairy, beef, swine and sheep but that factor can also cause problems in water quality,” observed Lentz.

Lentz said that the availability of manure nutrient depends on the nutrient analysis of the manure, mineralization of the manure, application method and rate of application.

“Because the phosphorus level in chicken manure is higher than other manures, it is more difficult to keep a proper balance,” said Lentz. “There needs to be a balancing of soil test, determining crop needs, manure analysis and the proper method of application.”