Enhance Grain, Corn and Soybean Production with Compost

Row Crop Production Vivaria Ecologics Compost Usage

The Highlights:

  • Compost is used to enhance crop growth

  • Adds nutrients into soil leading to nutrient-rich vegetation

  • Holds nutrients and water for longer periods of time

Compost can be used for the production and growth of crops, as it adds nutrients to the soil, and creates a richer source of vegetation. Specifically, row crops such as grains, corn, soybeans, etc., may benefit the most from the added compost into the soil. Because of the compost, the soil will not only contain greater nutrients, but it will also be able to hold onto the nutrients much longer than without it. Additionally, the compost improves the water holding capacity of the soil. Adding compost to soil will reduce soil compaction, and will allow for savings during tillage, while also enhancing the microbial processes and nutrient cycling to plants.

How this works:

  1. Administer a soil test before doing anything else (including adding fertilizer). This will help you to understand the specific requirements for your particular soil and how it relates to the crops you are looking to grow
  2. Cultivate the soil in desired areas for planting and spread compost uniformly throughout. Note: For row crop production projects, lower rates of compost are typically used (meaning about 3-8 tons per acre). Higher applications of compost are used when the structure of the soil you are working with needs to be modified for short term use.
  3. For normal conditions, spread compost at about 8 to 10 inches in depth.
  4. Plant crop seeds, and irrigate as you normally would.
  5. You may also apply compost over crop land by applying the compost over the stubble from the crops before drill seeding and watering. Note: If the crop can be harvested many times throughout the season, apply the compost when the crop foliage has dried up. 

Some of the information in this article came from the Compost Research & Education Foundation's Compost Use Applications - A Return on Investment (ROI) factsheets.  The full set of factsheets can be found here.