75 Questions and
Answers on Manure Management and Organic Fertilizers
Here are some common
questions asked about manure management, our oldest of
organic fertilizers, what it is and how to apply farmyard
manures to your farms, homesteads and gardens.
is the oldest organic fertilizer?
However, one can also upset the balance of the soil by adding too many
nutrients to the soil.
Before determining fertilizer requirements, it is first necessary to
make an overall assessment of the soil type and conditions and to
identify factors other than nutrient supply that could potentially
limit crop growth.
Then the objective is to make best use of the
nutrients that are already available e.g. from organic manures and
reserves. Finally, when the fertilizer requirement is determined, it
must then be accurately applied.
As a general rule of thumb, apply evenly at known application rates not
exceeding 250kg/ha of total manure nitrogen per year. Test
your pH soil
level regularly and adjust with lime where necessary.
Is the manure's
Yes. Barnyard manure has
proved its importance.
What kind of
manure is most
In terms of value they are poultry, sheep, horses, cattle, pigs
Q4. What does manure contain that
makes it so valuable?
The phosphoric acid, potash, and nitrogen are the chief elements.
do horse and sheep manure heat up while others do not?
Probably because that from the horse and sheep contain less water.
Q6. Does what I feed my livestock
affect the quality of the manure?
Manure varies with quality and quantity of feed.
produce the best
Feeds high in nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash.
Give some examples of a
few feeds in the
order of their
value as fertilizer.
Cottonseed meal, linseed meal, gluten meal, wheat bran, and corn meal,
rank in value in the order given.
What elements do growing stock need in greater amounts than mature
They need nitrogen and phosphoric acid.
What proportion of the
the feed may be recovered in the
About eighty per cent on the average farm
What is the chief factor
determining the fertilizing value of a
The age of the animal.
What is the most valuable
these organic fertilizers?
Because nitrogen is usually present in larger quantities, and it is
more costly when purchased
What effect does bedding
The richer the bedding in fertilizer elements, the richer the manure
Is it economical to pile
manure in the
open barn lot, exposed to the
No, the result is great loss, due to leaching from rains.
No, the loss in manure from leaching is wasteful.
is the purpose of bedding?
To absorb the liquid excrement which contains over one-half the value
of the manure.
What bearing has this
upon the amount
There should be abundance of bedding to absorb all liquid
How does cutting bedding
Straw cut in one-inch lengths will absorb three times as
other advantage comes from cutting bedding?
The manure is in condition to be much more easily handled and less
bedding is needed.
Does stored manure lose
Yes. Nitrogen passes to the air in the form of ammonia that is noticed
as a strong odor on a winter morning.
What is the best method
loss in manure?
To haul it to the field as fast as it is made
What other advantages are there in immediate hauling?
The manure should be handled only once if its total value as manure is
If the manure must be
what is the best way of doing it?
Stored manure loses by leaching due to rains and hot fermentation.
Leaching is prevented by keeping the manure under shelter or by placing
it in water-tight pits or bins of cement.
of good manure management
How can manure heating be
By keeping manure in a compact heap so air cannot enter to enable
bacteria to thrive. Each daily addition to the pile should be firmly
packed into place.
What other treatment is
Water will cool the pile and keep out air, so water should
When manure is to be
stored for some
time, what else should one be aware of?
Cover the heap with a few inches of earth which will prevent the escape
What is the best method of saving the manure?
A covered barnyard is probably the best means.
What advantage has this
It saves labor as it is easy to gather the manure outside the stalls at
any time, and it can be handled when the ground is right.
What is the best way of
looking after exposed manure?
By making the heap so high that the heaviest rains cannot soak
is the best way of applying manure?
As a top dressing.
What is the advantage of
It is nature's way. As the fertilizer descends gradually, it feeds the
plant roots, and it is not covered beyond their depth.
What other advantage has
It acts as a mulch, preventing the escape of moisture from the soil.
What objection is there
It may interfere with tillage unless the manure is fine.
Should manure be spread
It should be spread after plowing, and then harrowed into
Should manure be left in
piles in the
No, because this means a second handling and increases the labor.
Are there other
In piles it is liable to lose by fermentation and by leaching; it makes
the ground under the piles highly fertilized and thus the fields are
What objections are there
to a spotty
Part of the crop may grow too rank and fall, and the crop is apt to
mature unevenly. In either case there is a money loss to the farmer.
What is the
better way of
Broadcasting either by hand or by using a manure spreader.
When coarse manure must
under what caution is necessary?
It should not be covered too deep especially in clay soils where the
air may not reach it readily to assist in decay.
How deep should
it be covered?
In clays, about four inches, but it may be much deeper in sandy soils.
it possible to apply too much manure?
Yes. In general one should not use more than eight or ten tons per
Is it well to
try to cover the
entire farm each year?
No. It is better to manure only one crop in a rotation, thus covering
only a part of the farm annually.
How long is the effect of
It may affect crops for a dozen years or more, but each year the effect
is less noticeable.
All things considered, is
fertilizer better than manure?
No. When barnyard manure has been properly cared for, it has no
How did commercial
fertilizer come to
be used ?
When it was discovered that
certain elements in the soil are necessary to plant growth, farmers
concluded to supply these elements artificially.
does the nitrogen usually come from?
From animal refuse matter, from packing houses, soap and glue
is dried blood?
It is the blood from slaughter houses dried by heating to a powder.
Is there more
than one kind?
There is the red blood and the black blood.
is the difference?
The red blood is dried more carefully and not charred,
blood is dried more rapidly.
Which is the more
The red blood contains from thirteen to fourteen per cent nitrogen,
while the black contains from six to twelve per cent.
How much nitrogen is
there in hoof
It contains about twelve per cent nitrogen.
valuable is horn meal?
It contains from ten to twelve per cent nitrogen, but not in good form
for plant food.
What is fish fertilizer
The oil of the fish is extracted and the remaining "pumace" is dried
and ground for fertilizer.
What elements of
fertilizer does it
From eight to eleven per cent of nitrogen and three to five per cent of
Is leather meal a good
No, because it resists decay.
What can be said in favor
It is a by-product of coal gas and coke, resembling common salt and is
the richest in nitrogen of all fertilizing materials, containing from
twenty to twenty-three per cent.
What is nitrate of soda
It resembles salt, is entirely soluble in water, and is a very
desirable nitrogenous fertilizer with from 15- 16%
For early spring growing
fertilizer is best ?
Chili saltpeter, because it is immediately ready for the plants.
nitrogen compare in
cost with the other elements ?
It is the most expensive, costing nearly three times as much per pound
as phosphoric acid or potash.
Is it usually
advisable for the
ordinary farmer to buy
nitrogenous fertilizer ?
No. It can best be supplied by the use of barnyard manures and by
What is the
source of the potash
Nearly all of it comes from the potash salt mines of Strassfurt,
In what forms
does it sell?
Kainite, containing about twelve per cent potash; muriate of potash,
containing about fifty per cent; and sulphate of potash, with about
these provide available plant food?
Yes. All are soluble in water and available to plants.
phosphoric acid obtained
From phosphates. The bones of dead animals and minerals containing
How are bones
treated for this
Raw bone meal is another organic fertilizer made by grinding raw bones
to a powder, the finer the
How rich is
bone meal in
It contains twenty-two percent of phosphoric acid and four per cent
bone meal decay rapidly?
No, the elements in bone are only gradually available to the crop.
What is the
value of steamed
Steaming removes the fat and some nitrogen, so that it contains about
twenty-eight per cent phosphoric acid and one and one-half per cent
bone meal decay
more rapidly than the raw?
Yes. The removal of fat
causes more rapid decay and so they are considered a better source of
is lime and where does it come from?
It is a soil additive that is made from pulverized limestone or chalk.
How does lime
aid the soil ?
Lime changes the physical condition of sandy soils so as to make them
hold water. Some soils may be deficient in lime.
does lime affect clays?
It makes clays more mellow. A soil rich in lime crumbles more easily
and is more readily brought into good condition for crops. It also
helps to break up compounds so as to make their elements available for
Are there other
uses of lime?
Yes. It helps the growth of bacteria. It makes an acid, or sour, soil
How is lime
It is drilled and afterward harrowed in.
If you are keeping horses for the first time,
you may be
wondering what to do with all that horse manure. See our page on horse manure and how to manage it.
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