Farmers who utilize manure as a fertilizer mostly get the aromatic livestock byproduct from their own operations. New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows most manure applied to U.S. cropland, 78 percent, comes from animals raised on the same operation. Meanwhile, 14 percent is purchased, and eight percent is obtained at no cost from other animal operations.
In 2020, manure was applied to about 8 percent of the 240.9 million acres planted to 7 major U.S. field crops. For most crops, farmers use manure that either comes from their own farm or at no cost from other farms. However, cotton and peanut producers are the most likely to purchase manure, typically from poultry growers. Among all animal manure types, poultry litter has the highest nutrient content, making it less costly to transport.
Animal producers who apply their operations’ manure to their own crops account for a high proportion of manure used on oats, corn, and barley crops, followed by soybean and wheat.