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Manure applied to small fraction of farmland
Buckeye Farm News
About 5 percent of all U.S. cropland is fertilized by manure, according to a new USDA report.
The study, which was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, estimates that manure is applied to about 15.8 million acres of land, half of which is used to grow corn. USDA’s analysis also found that smaller farms are more likely to use manure on crops.
The report said projects to turn manure into energy would provide societal benefits but are not widespread. Current and planned methane digester systems cover less than 3 percent of dairy cows and less than 1 percent of hogs, the report stated.
“Manure-to-energy projects may allow farmers to realize benefits from avoided purchases of electricity, from selling electricity, or from selling manure to generating plants, but few realize enough savings to justify the expense,” according to USDA.