Use of manure is one of the most productive and oldest farm practices. Despite the modern farm innovations like mineral fertilizers, manure is used and regarded to be an important farm practice that can improve the fertility of the soil. Completely organic and natural, it is obtained from urine and excrement of domestic animals that can also contain hay, bedding, or straw.
When it is used as required, manure fertilization improves the fertility of the soil for maximum crop yield. There are various reasons for adding it to the soil.
It releases essential macro and micro nutrients to the soil over time. Thus, the soil absorbs these nutrients over a longer period as compared to artificial fertilizers. By adding it into the soil, it helps improve soil aeration and retain moisture level. You should note that domestic animal’s excrement prevents erosion, improves drainage, and loosens compacted soils. Also, it promotes the growth of beneficial soil organisms and it reduces the need for mineral fertilizers.
Nutritional Value of Manure
Every domestic animal can produce manure. Common sources includes horses, pigs, sheep, poultry, and cows. The nutritional value and quality of excrement depends on various factors that include:
Age and type of animal it originates
Process of handling, storage, and preparation
Additional bedding material
Degree of decomposition
When to Apply?
The time of applying manure depends on crop type. For instance, the use of permanent crops is ideal when establishing new plantations, while composting of annual crops should be done every 3 to 4 years. The reason for this is the residual release of nutrients in the coming years.
Proper Manure Application
There are different things to take into account before application. It is advisable to use composted manure instead of fresh. Even if fresh excrement is readily available, you should avoid it. The primary disadvantage of fresh excrement is a high level of nitrogen and phosphorous that can burn crops. It also contains weed seeds and some pathogens and bacteria.
It is vital to distribute manure equally across the field. You can spread it evenly with the help of a machinery because formation of windrows and piles of domestic animal excrement is a bad practice.