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The Value of Solid Beef Feedlot Manure for Corn Production in North Dakota


Paulo Flores, Nutrient Management Specialist at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center, developed an Excel spreadsheet (The Value of Solid Beef Feedlot Manure as a Nitrogen or Phosphorus Source for Corn Production in North Dakota; hereafter “Calculator”) that allows farmers to compare the value of solid beef feedlot manure as a source of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to commercial fertilizers for corn production in North Dakota. Calculations are based on the assumption that the cost per unit of N or P is the same for manure and commercial fertilizer, and that cost is based on the price of the different sources of N and P listed in the spreadsheet.

Information regarding field (area, soil nutrient content), crop (yield potential, nutrient recommendations), commercial fertilizers (price, nutrient content), manure (nutrient content, costs associated with application, availability factors, additional nutrient value) and interactions amongst some of those variables are taken into consideration in the calculations.


The values in the light blue cells (including the drop-down menu selections – top right corner) are customizable and allow farmers to change those values to reflect the numbers of his/her operation. Once all the light blue cells are filled out, the Calculator will provide a “Net Cash Balance” per acre and for the whole field when using manure instead of commercial fertilizers as a source of N or P for corn in ND. The user can make changes to the values in the light blue cells and/or pick a different option in the drop-down menus at any time. As he/she does that, the Calculator will automatically calculate new values to reflect the changes made. This can be useful for determining the hauling distance limit that allows one to remain profitable when applying manure. Once the values are set, the user can print a copy of the N and/or P report, by clicking on the “Print Report” button built into each spreadsheet, or save the file on his/her computer.

Some things to know about the Calculator

  • Please "Enable Active Content" on Microsoft Excel so the calculator can perform as expected.
  • On the home screen, the user can select if the manure is going to be applied to meet "Nitrogen Crop Requirements" or "Phosphorus Crop Requirements".
  • The Calculator is not intended to calculate N recommendations for corn. Please visit the "North Dakota Corn Nitrogen Calculator" website to find out the N recommendation for your operation.
  • The Calculator has an option to perform the calculations using average values for manure nutrient content. Because the amount of nutrients in manure vary greatly, it is strongly recommended that farmers have the manure analyzed.

The Calculator can be downloaded here: You will find detailed information about the Calculator on this link as well as in the Excel file.

Comments, questions and/or suggestions are welcomed. Please feel free to contact Paulo at the Carrington REC by phone (701.652.2951) or email (

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