MANURE : A natural organic fertilizer
Manure is an excellent fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other nutrients. It also adds organic matter to the soil which may improve soil structure, aeration, soil moisture-holding capacity, and water infiltration.
To determine how much manure is needed for a specific application, the nutrient content and the rate nitrogen becomes available for plant uptake needs to be estimated. Nutrient content of manure varies depending on source, moisture content, storage, and handling methods.
Nitrogen content in manure varies with the type of animal and feed ration, amount of litter, bedding or soil included, and amount of urine concentrated with the manure.
Moisture content is also a major consideration. For example: The moisture content of fresh manure is around 70% to 85%. The moisture content of air-dried manure is around 9% to 15%. As manure dries, the nutrients not only concentrate on a weight basis, but also on a volume basis due to structural changes (settling) of the manure. Volatilization of urine nitrogen can result in considerable loss of nitrogen, up to 50% or more of the total nitrogen.
Generally, dry manure contains 1.5 to 2.2 cubic meters per ton. Dry poultry and steer manure contain around 1.9 cubic meters per ton.
Handling can affect the fertilizer value of manure, particularly its nitrogen content. Nitrogen is present in manure in a variety of forms, most of which gradually converts to ammonium and nitrate nitrogen.
The ammonium form can be lost to the air and the nitrates leached by rainfall.
Ammonium losses can be minimized by not stockpiling manure while it is moist, minimizing its handling, and working it under immediately after spreading. Ammonia can be lost to the air each time manure is moved or hauled. Much of the loss is from hydrolysis of the NH2 groups (enzymatic) and then volatilization of N20 and NH3.
This loss can be very high when spreading manure, especially during warm, dry weather. Here, at least 50% of the ammonium nitrogen can be lost within 12 hours. Studies have also shown that, by one week after spreading, almost 100% of the ammonium nitrogen can be lost.
This loss can represent up to 50% of the total nitrogen available in stockpiled manure. Therefore, the importance of simultaneously spreading and working in manure is obvious.
Nutrient Availability and Manure Application
Manure is a source of many nutrients including: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and many others. However, nitrogen is often the main nutrient of concern for most crops. Potassium deficiency is usually quite localized within a field and would not be corrected with common rates of manure.
However, some improvement might be expected with high rates above 10 tons per acre. The high rates needed to correct a potassium (K) deficiency would supply an excess amount of nitrogen for many crops, and this should be avoided. (See Table 1)
Table 1. (Typical)
Rates of Manure for Nitrogen Needs
The nitrogen compounds in manure are eventually converted to the available nitrate form. Nitrate is soluble and is moved into the root zone with water. It is the same form ultimately available to plants from commercial nitrogen fertilizers.
However, the release of available nitrogen from the complete organic compounds during manure decomposition is very gradual. This slow release of nitrogen is manure’s most important asset. It extends nitrogen availability and reduces leaching — of particular importance in sandy soils.
The idea is to first apply enough manure to meet the first year’s need of available nitrogen. Decreasing amounts are then applied in following years because of the carry-over organic nitrogen that will be released from previous applications. If the same rate of manure is applied each year, it is possible for a field originally low in nitrogen to accumulate unnecessarily high levels in successive years.
The nitrogen in poultry manure is in released fastest, about 90% is released in the first year.
Fresh manure which contains both the urine and solid portions and has a large amount of urea or uric acid provides a somewhat slower release rate, with approximately 75% of the total nitrogen released the first year.
An even more gradual nitrogen release can be expected from dry feedlot steer manure, with only 35% of the total nitrogen released the first year.
Benefits Of Manure
Use of Manures, in the garden is a popular practice in many rural areas. This type of manure is not as rich in nitrogen as many other types; however, the high ammonia levels can burn plants when the fresh manure is directly applied. Composted cow manure, on the other hand, can provide numerous benefits to the garden.
Cow dung is high in organic materials and rich in nutrients. It contains NPK. Cow dung Manure is one of the best forms of natural fertilizer.
With rising demand for chemical free food and growing acceptance of organic farming, cow dung forms a very important link in chemical free farming.
Manurehas several benefits. Composted cow manure will add generous amounts of organic matter to your soil. mixing this compost into the soil, you can improve its moisture-holding capacity.
His allows you to water less frequently, as the roots of plants can use the additional water and nutrients whenever needed.
Additionally, it will improve aeration in soil, also contains beneficial bacteria, which convert nutrients into easily accessible forms so they can be slowly released without burning tender plant roots.
Composting cow manure also produces about a third less greenhouse gases, making it environmentally friendly. cow dung makes an excellent growing medium for garden plants. When turned into compost and fed to plants and vegetables.
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