Most Minnesota cropland uses commercial fertilizer, not manure

It is disappointing to see letters to the editor such as “To solve Minnesota’s water quality problems, agribusiness’ power must be confronted,” by Peter Suechting, citing “research” on the cause of water quality issues in Minnesota. The reality is that most cropland in Minnesota does not have manure applied to it for fertility. Most farm fields use commercial fertilizer and no manure. Manure application is also regulated as to rates of application, timing and testing. We have to prove that there is plenty of land for applications and report on its use. That is not the case for commercial fertilizer.

With the farm economy today nothing should be wasted. Manure is stored in order to put it on fields at the right time and the right amount and it replaces the use of commercial fertilizer.

Farmers are not opposed to buffers and conservation. But it also needs to mixed with the common sense of doing the right thing on the right field instead of blanket regulation. Let’s take some time to talk with each other about the best path forward instead of blaming any party for water quality issues. Better decisions will be made and dollars will be spent wisely if we tone down the re-cycled rhetoric and look at what is really happening. All of use owe it to ourselves and the environment to do so.

David Preisler is the executive director of the Minnesota Pork Board.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Peter Suechting on 02/10/2016 - 02:16 pm.

    The burden of proof

    Hi David,

    Thank you for thoughtful response to my earlier piece. I appreciate you taking the time to engage me in discussion. Check out these facts about hog feedlots down in Dodge County (see link below). While your point that “[w]e have to prove that there is plenty of land for applications and report on its use” is legally correct, I argue that the legal status of feedlot manure management is much different than their actual status in reality. For example, in Dodge County there are 85 feedlots in excess of 300 animals, but only 37 manure management plans on file. Where are the plans for the remaining feedlots? Do they have sufficient acreage to absorb the manure produced?

    Source: http://www.dodgecc.org/feedlots.html

    Best,
    Peter

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