The Des Moines Register reported yesterday on a decision by the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (IEPC) on Tuesday to allow farmers to use limited amounts of liquid manure as fertilizer for soybean fields. The news comes as a rule from five years ago came up for discussion.
Soybeans typically do not need as much nitrogen as corn as beans take nitrogen from the air and add traces of the nutrient to the soil profile. Liquid manure is best used as part of a crop rotation regimen and applied to corn stalks after harvest where soybeans will be planted the following year. The practice improves yield and as part of a rotation plan, can also improve pest control and disease control.
Authorities were called to the scene as environmental activists spoke out at the Tuesday Windsor Heights meeting. Activists accused the IEPC of putting agricultural concerns above the concerns of the general citizenry. No arrests were made and, other than a few harsh words, the activist group did nothing more than ensure IEPC panel members were home from the meeting early.
The five year old rule was due for updating and IEPC's present position allows for 100lbs of Nitrogen per acre from manure on soybean fields. This is good news for farmers who rely on liquid manure for an inexpensive nitrogen boost in the soil. The Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Corn Growers Association are all in favor of using limited amounts of liquid manure to fertilize soybeans.
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