Milorganite vs Grains

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shay
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Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 25th, 2022, 11:01 am

I have been feeding my yard for going on 10 years for now with a heavy feedings of grains. My yard is looking very good. It took a while to recover from the 2021 freeze we had.

I have been mostly feeding SBM. My local feed store stopped stocking it last year and went special order. This year the orders have been coming kind of sporadicly. I would have switched to CSM, but for some reason, it does not flow very well from my spreader now. I assume the mill changed how it was processed. I was waiting on the SBM to come in so I went ahead and applied two bags on milorganite on my yard. I usually mix in some cracked corn a few times a year. The yard size is around 2500 sq. ft. I know milorganite has a water soluble nitrogen component so that is one difference between grains and it. How else do they differ?

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MorpheusPA
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » May 25th, 2022, 11:50 am

Milo is multiply-generation-composted human poo...by the time you get it, it's composted bacteria, really, that have been heat-kilned. They're glued together with iron-bearing compounds, so it has a very high level of iron (4%).

Nitrogen levels are close to SBM at 6% compared to SBM's 6.25%. Phosphorus at 2% is comparable. Potassium is also comparable (the bag lists 0 but it's close to 1%, SBM is around the same).

Overall, the way the organic sources are composed, SBM has (as you noted) 100% slow release nitrogen to Milo's water-soluble and slow-release. Similarly, SBM has more fiber and provides more organic matter to the soil--but neither compare in terms of corn to that, which is far more roughage than anything else.

I don't have a problem with people using Milo if SBM isn't available, although overall, if you can get the SBM, use that.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 25th, 2022, 12:14 pm

Thank you Morpheus. I have two more bags of milorganite so I'll put one of them down this weekend. Literally right after I bought the milorganite, the SBM order came in. I may try to put down 2 bags of SBM and 1 bag of milorganite this weekend. That's a lot, but I've been able to two bags each of SBM and cracked corn in the day without any smell issues.

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » May 25th, 2022, 1:01 pm

That should be fine--I went with 2 pounds of (organic) nitrogen per thousand this spring just because I haven't done it in a long while. It's not an issue, but the lawn is growing at an absolutely ridiculous rate of speed.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 28th, 2022, 1:30 pm

MorpheusPA wrote:
May 25th, 2022, 1:01 pm
That should be fine--I went with 2 pounds of (organic) nitrogen per thousand this spring just because I haven't done it in a long while. It's not an issue, but the lawn is growing at an absolutely ridiculous rate of speed.
Morpheus, how does of 2 pounds of nitrogen convert into grains? I put down 100 pounds of SBM and 64 pounds of milogranite yesterday. So far no smell so hopefully my yard breaks it down.

Here's my application so far:

Code: Select all

Application Date	SBM	CSM	Cracked Corn	Alfafa Meal	Bedding Pellets	Milorganite	Green Sand	Total
3/28/2022		           50				                                                                                                    50
4/3/2022		                   50						                                                                                    50
4/10/2022	        100							                                                                                   100
4/17/2022	        100						                                                                                           100
5/14/2022						                                                                     64	                       	     64
5/20/2022	        100		              100					                                                                   200
5/27/2022	        100					                                                             64                        	   164
Total	                        400	  100	              100	              0	                    0	           128	                0	   728
I had about 1500 or so pounds of application last year so I am definitely ahead of it last year.


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MorpheusPA
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » May 28th, 2022, 7:50 pm

It's going to vary by your square footage.

For SBM, I figure around 16 pounds of SBM per thousand square feet is about a pound of nitrogen. Give or take. This is not an exact science and it's not really worth worrying about; 16#/K is a good feeding. Three fifty pound bags of SBM across my lawn is 15 pounds per K; close enough in terms of N.

For Milo, 16.7 pounds per thousand would be a pound of N--that's above listed bag rate for feeding. On my lawn, again, I go at 5 bags, or 18 pounds per thousand, because that just works out nicely (if I have Milo left and it's 4.5, the rest gets tossed in the gardens).

For you, feeding continues throughout the summer until growth slows. For me, it doesn't (northern lawns don't want summer feedings).

Now let's discuss my top flight year. I dropped 1,300 pounds of organic matter...per thousand square feet, or a grand total of over seven tons across the property (the gardens were included in this). That worked out to 37 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet in the lawn, less in the gardens (closer to 10). It grew like gangbusters--not only that year, but the year following as the pent-up nitrogen in the soil released (to this day, my calculated soil nitrogen is still around 120 pounds per thousand square feet, releasing at an ever-present trickle).

Color, however, suffered. I was overgrowing the soil's iron supply and the grass was healthy, just not the darkest green even with adding iron. It recovered the following year.

St. Aug isn't the heaviest feeder, but rules go out the window with organics. You won't cause major thatch issues with them as the bacteria will eat the thatch. If you drop a pound of N equivalent from April to September or so, you're doing great. If you exceed that organically using Milo or grains, that's fine, too. If you far exceed it, make sure the sources have no fast-release nitrogen at all--that will absolutely be an issue. And even dumped piles of organics will cause major issues on grasses, so clean them up. The bacteria that pile up and decay that quarter inch of SBM or Milo will kill the grass as they exude nasty waste chemicals.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 30th, 2022, 10:00 am

Thank you Morpheus. It looks like my current rate of application is a good feeding rate. I'll mix in some green sand since I think that is the only way to get iron in high-Ph level soils here. I like to drop some bedding pellets too. I usually drop cracked corn a few times a year too. It's a never ending cycle to augment the clay soils here. I put down compost in my first year here. The next year my lawn woke up two or three weeks before the rest of the neighborhood. I considered doing that again, but there's a 4 cubic yard minimum for delivery. That is way too much for my yard.

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » May 30th, 2022, 1:07 pm

Compost is great, but unnecessary. You create compost with grains, plus get to feed the lawn at the same time (about ten percent of grain mass converts to compost at the end of the day).

Surprisingly, clay soils (which I can't diagnose without seeing a soil test; a surprising percentage of "clay" soils merely have misbalanced ions and loosen beautifully when fixed) work well when done right, sustain extraordinarily high organic matter percentages, and hold vast resources. I have a mostly-silt soil, not too far behind.

Green sand is fine, but again, don't bother going overboard too much. At high pH, not much iron is ever available at any one time. Spraying would be the only way to get high instant availability, and it doesn't last terribly long. The grass doesn't really care.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 30th, 2022, 6:05 pm

I have not done a soil test. I would hope the organic material has increased since I have lived here. I've doing similar applications for 11 years now. I have put down a fair amount of BLSC over the years. That really helped the soil absorption. I do have a ton of earth worms. I lost count when I reset the double check valve cover. Here is the soil survey for my area:

Collin County, Texas

HoB—Houston Black clay, 1 to 3 percent slopes

Map Unit Setting

National map unit symbol: 2ssh0
Elevation: 270 to 1,040 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 33 to 43 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 62 to 63 degrees F
Frost-free period: 217 to 244 days
Farmland classification: All areas are prime farmland
Map Unit Composition

Houston black and similar soils: 80 percent
Minor components: 20 percent
Estimates are based on observations, descriptions, and transects of the mapunit.
Description of Houston Black

Setting

Landform: Ridges
Landform position (two-dimensional): Summit, shoulder
Landform position (three-dimensional): Interfluve
Microfeatures of landform position: Linear gilgai
Down-slope shape: Convex, linear
Across-slope shape: Convex, linear
Parent material: Clayey residuum weathered from calcareous mudstone of upper cretaceous age
Typical profile

Ap - 0 to 6 inches: clay
Bkss - 6 to 70 inches: clay
BCkss - 70 to 80 inches: clay
Properties and qualities

Slope: 1 to 3 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Moderately well drained
Runoff class: Very high
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Very low to moderately low (0.00 to 0.06 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 35 percent
Gypsum, maximum content: 5 percent
Maximum salinity: Nonsaline to very slightly saline (0.0 to 2.0 mmhos/cm)
Sodium adsorption ratio, maximum: 2.0
Available water supply, 0 to 60 inches: High (about 9.6 inches)
Interpretive groups

Land capability classification (irrigated): None specified
Land capability classification (nonirrigated): 2e
Hydrologic Soil Group: D
Ecological site: R086AY011TX - Southern Blackland
Hydric soil rating: No
Minor Components

Heiden

Percent of map unit: 15 percent
Landform: Plains
Landform position (two-dimensional): Shoulder
Landform position (three-dimensional): Interfluve
Microfeatures of landform position: Linear gilgai
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Convex
Ecological site: R086AY011TX - Southern Blackland
Hydric soil rating: No
Fairlie

Percent of map unit: 5 percent
Landform: Ridges
Landform position (two-dimensional): Footslope, toeslope
Landform position (three-dimensional): Base slope
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Convex
Ecological site: R086AY011TX - Southern Blackland
Hydric soil rating: No

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » May 30th, 2022, 7:16 pm

Never trust your soil survey. :-) Mine says silty sand. I have 98% silt.

I might, if you're really looking for stellar performance, suggest a soil test. While dumping nitrogen will certainly help, it's not going to indicate if you're short in terms of potassium or other resources (around here, we only read Logan Labs).

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Dchall_San_Antonio
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » May 31st, 2022, 9:49 pm

Not to digress, but I know SBM = soybean meal. What is CSM?

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » May 31st, 2022, 10:23 pm

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
May 31st, 2022, 9:49 pm
Not to digress, but I know SBM = soybean meal. What is CSM?
CSM = Cotton seed meal

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » June 1st, 2022, 11:27 am

Amusingly, we can look at CSM as pretty much identical to soybean in terms of resources, too. It's practically the same in terms of nitrogen.

The pesticide levels are far higher, but most of those should be old enough and exposed to enough rain and sunlight to be diluted and degraded down to harmlessness.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » June 1st, 2022, 2:33 pm

The CSM the past two seasons has not flowed well through my spreader. In previous years, it was fine. The processing of it but have changed. I aim for SBM, but the availability has gotten spotty.

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by MorpheusPA » June 1st, 2022, 3:06 pm

Yeah, down there it can be and you'll find CSM easier to get. Fortunately, while a little...stickier...the two really are pretty close to identical in the sense that they're the same protein level.

I completely approve of CSM. It gets the Morph stamp of happiness.

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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by Dchall_San_Antonio » June 5th, 2022, 8:00 pm

Oddly, I used to live in the very belly of Texas cotton country, but I could not find cottonseed meal in the feed stores.

shay
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Re: Milorganite vs Grains

Post by shay » June 5th, 2022, 10:20 pm

Dchall_San_Antonio wrote:
June 5th, 2022, 8:00 pm
Oddly, I used to live in the very belly of Texas cotton country, but I could not find cottonseed meal in the feed stores.
My feed store stocks it here in Plano. They used to stock SBM until last year. Like Morpheous said it’s similar protein level to SBM. It’s just harder to apply since it does not flow as well.

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