Manure is an essential source of soil nutrients due to its high nitrogen content. This incredible ally to farmers has been used for centuries and continues to be the best way to naturally increase soil and plant health. However, manure can also act as a liability when improperly stored. Read on for manure management tips for small and large farms.

The Effects of Improper Manure Disposal

Research shows that manure should always be contained and covered far from water sources. Manure stored uphill from water sources may result in groundwater contamination which can cause severe health issues for entire communities. It is recommended that manure be stored in piles that are at least 200 feet away from the nearest water source. Manure piles should be lined and covered to prevent liquids containing high amounts of pathogens and nutrients from leeching into groundwater. Wood chips and compost should be used to line the bottom of a manure pile. Covering manure piles with roofing to prevent rain from falling on the piles is critical.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Manure

As livestock production intensifies and becomes more specialised, proper manure management practices become a pressing matter for all countries trying to reduce their carbon footprint. Manure is a source of greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide. These gases are a result of microbial activity that occurs in the environment. Factors that affect methane and nitrous oxide emission into the atmosphere include:

Livestock Type

While most research conducted has to do with methane from cow manure, it has been observed that volatile solids are more efficiently converted to methane in pig manure. This means that methane emissions from pig farms are higher than dairy farms.

Type of Feed

Methane emissions are directly related to the carbon that is available in the manure. The volume of carbon is based on the composition of the solids themselves, which are linked to livestock feed. Livestock that eat corn-based feed produce solids which degrade faster than barley-based manure.

Storage Management

When it comes to proper manure disposal, solid-liquid separation is one of the most important steps. For example, emissions of methane from cow manure can be cut in half by using a separating machine and then composting the solids. In several parts of the world, the methane that is released is captured by a system that uses the gas as fuel for the farm.

All-Natural Composted Manure and Fertiliser

A farm is a large and complex system in which all processes are linked together. Manure is a critical by-product which nourishes the soil, which is the basis of all productivity. When mismanaged, manure piles are a source of water contamination, pests and greenhouse gases which harm the environment. At Garden in a Bag, we believe in creating 100% natural products which leave no pollutants in the soil. Call us today on 0413 044 240 to learn more about all natural gardening or visit our blog for the latest trends.