Profitability Analysis Of Novel Robotic Manure Application Methods
Concept of applying manure to a crop when needed can help with environmental issues of water quality in Iowa and the Upper Midwest in USA. Novel technologies have emerged which allow manure application on growing corn beyond V4 plant growth stage. Dribble Bar (Agrometer SDS 8000) allows manure application from planting up to a corn height of 1-meter (V9 growth stage) whereas 360 RAIN Robotic Irrigator allows diluted manure irrigation from planting to R5 corn growth stages.
In addition to manure application during the growing season, both methods can reduce water stress on the corn plant during dry weather or drought conditions. This reduced stress can potentially result in an increase in corn grain yields. This paper compares the costs of manure application using Dribble Bar and 360 RAIN with the traditional method of fall or spring manure application with a drag-hose system when no crop is growing in the farm fields. A profitability analysis is then presented to show how the increased costs of manure application with these two specialized technologies can potentially be offset with increased income due to better corn grain yields.
Such in-season manure application has potential to provide greater environmental benefit to the society with better nutrient management.