Using grains as fertilizer

bpgreen(5UT)February 23, 2008

I'd like to pose a question regarding using grains as fertilizers. I'm not really sure how to word it, so please bear with me if I'm awkward.

I mostly use coffee grounds to fertilize my lawn. I know that's not practical for everybody, but my approach is to take something that would have been waste and turn it into fertilizer (same reason I compost).

I've been reading a lot about how ethanol production has led to a global increase in grain prices (also increased water and petroleum use). I've also seen some concerns about clearing rain forests to make room for more grain production. These have made me question the wisdom of using grains as fertilizer.

I'm curious to hear other thoughts on this matter.

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soccer_dad

I don't think the decisions to grow grain for fuel are based on the very small popoulation that is using grains as lawn fertilizer. Ethanol is such a poor choice all around I wonder how this country makes such poor choices, but that is another debate. What little I buy doesn't impact the local livestock or make someone go hungry. I live in the Chesapeake watershed so applying grains is a better environmental choice than chemical fertilizers. The distillers grains as a by product from ethanol production might be a good lawn food, but just isn't available in my area because we don't have a distillery. I'll just keep trying to do what I think is a better choice until price becomes an issue.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 9:30AM
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iowa50126(z5IA)

The amount of corn and soybeans grown each year in North and South America compared to what is used as lawn fertilizer...

Is like the Pacific Ocean compared to a glass of water.

I'd be willing to bet; that the truckers in the state of Iowa, spill more corn and soybeans along the highway shoulders hauling to the local bio-fuels plants...than are used on lawns. (I can see both a corn Ethanol Plant and a soy Bio-diesel plant from my back yard...believe me those grain trucks leak...just look for the birds)

Almost no one is using corn and soybeans for lawn fertilizer...other than the few folks who talk about it on this website.

I say this because there is no retail marketer selling this food-stuff labeled for lawn use. The most asked question about using grains on this website is...Where the heck do I buy some? If it was a viable idea, Wal*Mart would be selling it...right?

I think using grains on your lawn is a "feel good" way of fertilizing...So, if it makes you feel good...do it.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:23PM
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grayentropy

Agreed that use of grains in organic lawn care is just a drop in the bucket.

In some countries they would be appalled to hear that I drop 200 lbs of corn/alfalfa/soybean on my lawn every month or so when they struggle just to eat.

I donate when I can and try to do my best to sustain my environment.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:22PM
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deerslayer(Z5 NE IL KBG)

I have similar feelings to grayentropy's. Even though the use of grains as fertilizer is relatively small in the big scheme of things, it's still significant. Those several times per year grain applications could be the difference between life and death to a poor family in an underdeveloped country.

I'm leaning more toward sludge products as a result. And yes, I know about the heavy metals.

-Deerslayer

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:04AM
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fescue_planter

Usage doesn't really bother me that much seeing as how the ethanol idiots use enough to feed a family for a year just to make enough to fill up a gas tank once. Atleast mine is going back to nature as an alternative to creating chemical runoff and algae blooms!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:39AM
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garett

i look at it like this. if i do not buy the bag of grain and use it in my yard, then some cow is probably going to eat it. as for third world countries, lets say countries in africa for example. the problem is not the amount of food that is available, but the fact that the food never gets to those who are in need. the US alone sends a LOT of money and food to africa every year but nothing changes... because warlords intercept the goods.

as for the efficiency of corn ethanol, i have read/heard of studies saying that it takes more energy to produce than it provides. but today i stumbled upon this site:

http://journeytoforever.org/ethanol_energy.html

i have not been able to read the entire site yet, but after glancing over it, it looks like it may be a good read.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 1:17PM
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deerslayer(Z5 NE IL KBG)

"Usage doesn't really bother me that much seeing as how the ethanol idiots use enough to feed a family for a year just to make enough to fill up a gas tank once."

Didn't your parents teach you that just because someone does something stupid doesn't mean that you should?

-Deerslayer

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 2:07AM
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greatlakesmower(5)

Well, there is current impact, and desired impact. If one household makes environmental choices, that's just one drop in the ocean, right? True. However, to make green choices really work, we need as many "individuals" as possible doing it in order to make an impact.
I love what grain feed does for my lawn, but also, its somewhat of a statement to my friends and neighbors that its better than non-organic, and if everyone decides that grain is better, suddenly it will make a big difference.

Deerslayer's statement about my lawn's food possibly being someone elseÂs dinner is more powerful to me than the ethanol argument. I believe if biofuels really take off as an alternative, it won't be corn or any current food grain for that matter. ItÂs going to be a product of certain grasses, trees, or waste. Corn biofuel is just getting the innovation going so we can move on to something better.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 1:07PM
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sandyzz(toronto)

I was thinking about this same subject while driving to work today. Has anyone considered the viability of growing their own soybeans in a small section of their yard. Just to offset some of their needs. I stored 60 lb bag over the winter in my trunk and then my garage and it is fine. Probably a silly idea but it was on my mind today. I am trying to cut down significantly on my consumption of beef to help the environment. And I try not to water my lawn at all to help the environment as well.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 1:48PM
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billhill(z5 MI - KBG)

I am determined, this year to use less grains and more free manure and home made compost. Lot of country estates around here have grain and grass fed horses and manure piles. Its their way of wasting resources as opposed to motor sports, snow mobile racing, etc. It costs me a little for truck gas and some time and labor which I enjoy. Everyone should find a way to compost their fallen leaves, kitchen wastes, home and office paper and junk mail. Its good for the lawn and gardens and saves a little on the fossil fuels. It dosn't have to be ugly and it dosn't stink. Bill Hill

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 4:24PM
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decklap(5IL)

I don't know of any straight SBM that's actually labeled for fert use and if there is the market is just localized. More often its a component in products like Restore or even Scotts I believe. All the straight SBM that gets talked up in this forum is being taken from feed stock and given the aggregate usage at this point I think the market can easily absorb the demand.

That could change of course but I don't think it's likely simply because of app rates. The odds of the big boxes stocking straight SBM aren't very high.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 6:18PM
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Bpinto

While working towards having an organic garden with healthy soil, how can one not discuss the fact there is NO commercially grown corn or soybeans, that is not a GMO Monsanto product.
This has been the case for decades.
My only hope is to purchase Heirloom seeds from reputable companies and hope they haven't been contaminated.
Any corn product you purchase your your family, has genetically modified organisms in them and are poison. this includes meal, chips syrup, canned, starch, any form at all. Don't believe me? google it.

So NO I definately don't think corn or soybeans make suitable fertilizer for yard or garden. GMO products contaminate plants around them.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:44PM
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