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This article is about organic material used as soil fertilizer. For animal dung used for other purposes, see feces.
"Animal waste" redirects here. For other types of animal waste, see metabolic waste.
Animal manure is often a mixture of animal feces and bedding straw, as in this example from a stable

Manure is organic matter, mostly derived from animal feces except in the case of green manure, which can be used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are trapped by bacteria in the soil. Higher organisms then feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life that comprises the soil food web. It is also a product obtained after decomposition of organic matter like cow dung which replenishes the soil with essential elements and add humus to the soil.

In the past, the term “manure” included inorganic fertilizers, but this usage is now very rare.

Types[edit]

There are three main classes of manures used in soil management:

Animal manure[edit]

Cement reservoirs, one new, and one containing cow manure mixed with water. This is common in rural Hainan Province, China.

Most animal manure consist of feces. Common forms of animal manure include farmyard manure (FYM) or farm slurry (liquid manure). FYM also contains plant material (often straw), which has been used as bedding for animals and has absorbed the feces and urine. Agricultural manure in liquid form, known as slurry, is produced by more intensive livestock rearing systems where concrete or slats are used, instead of straw bedding. Manure from different animals has different qualities and requires different application rates when used as fertilizer. For example horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, and guano from seabirds and bats all have different properties.[1] For instance, sheep manure is high in nitrogen and potash, while pig manure is relatively low in both. Horses mainly eat grass and a few weeds so horse manure can contain grass and weed seeds, as horses do not digest seeds the way that cattle do. Chicken litter, coming from a bird, is very concentrated in nitrogen and phosphate and is prized for both properties.

Animal manures may be adulterated or contaminated with other animal products, such as wool (shoddy and other hair), feathers, blood, and bone. Livestock feed can be mixed with the manure due to spillage. For example, chickens are often fed meat and bone meal, an animal product, which can end up becoming mixed with chicken litter.

Human manure[edit]

Main article: Reuse of excreta

Some people refer to human excreta as human manure, and the word "humanure" has also been used. Just like animal manure, it can be applied as a soil conditioner (reuse of excreta in agriculture). Sewage sludge is a material that contains human excreta, as it is generated after mixing excreta with water and treatment of the wastewater in a sewage treatment plant.

Compost containing turkey manure and wood chips from bedding material is dried and then applied to pastures for fertilizer.

Compost[edit]

Main article: Compost

Compost is the decomposed remnants of organic materials. It is usually of plant origin, but often includes some animal dung or bedding.

Green manure[edit]

Green manures are crops grown for the express purpose of plowing them in, thus increasing fertility through the incorporation of nutrients and organic matter into the soil. Leguminous plants such as clover are often used for this, as they fix nitrogen using Rhizobia bacteria in specialized nodes in the root structure.

Other types of plant matter used as manure include the contents of the rumens of slaughtered ruminants, spent hops (left over from brewing beer) and seaweed.

Uses of manure[edit]

Animal manure[edit]

Manure on a wall.

Animal manure, such as chicken manure and cow dung, has been used for centuries as a fertilizer for farming. It can improve the soil structure (aggregation) so that the soil holds more nutrients and water, and therefore becomes more fertile. Animal manure also encourages soil microbial activity which promotes the soil's trace mineral supply, improving plant nutrition. It also contains some nitrogen and other nutrients that assist the growth of plants.

Manures with a particularly unpleasant odor (such as slurries from intensive pig farming) are usually knifed (injected) directly into the soil to reduce release of the odor. Manure from pigs and cattle is usually spread on fields using a manure spreader. Due to the relatively lower level of proteins in vegetable matter, herbivore manure has a milder smell than the dung of carnivores or omnivores. However, herbivore slurry that has undergone anaerobic fermentation may develop more unpleasant odors, and this can be a problem in some agricultural regions. Poultry droppings are harmful to plants when fresh but, after a period of composting, are valuable fertilizers.

Manure is also commercially composted and bagged and sold retail as a soil amendment.[citation needed]

Before motor vehicles became common, horse droppings were a big part of the rubbish that communities needed to clean off roads.

Precautions[edit]

Manure generates heat as it decomposes, and it is possible for manure to ignite spontaneously if stored in a very large pile.[2] Once such a large pile of manure is burning, it will foul the air over a wide area and require considerable effort to extinguish. Therefore, large feedlots must take care to ensure that piles of fresh manure do not get excessively large. There is no serious risk of spontaneous combustion in smaller operations.[citation needed]

There is also a risk of insects carrying feces to food and water supplies, making them unsuitable for human consumption.

Livestock antibiotics[edit]

In 2007, a University of Minnesota study[3] indicated that foods such as corn, lettuce, and potatoes have been found to accumulate antibiotics from soils spread with animal manure that contains these drugs.

Organic foods may be much more or much less likely to contain antibiotics, depending on their sources and treatment of manure. For instance, by Soil Association Standard 4.7.38, most organic arable farmers either have their own supply of manure (which would, therefore, not normally contain drug residues) or else rely on green manure crops for the extra fertility (if any nonorganic manure is used by organic farmers, then it usually has to be rotted or composted to degrade any residues of drugs and eliminate any pathogenic bacteria — Standard 4.7.38, Soil Association organic farming standards). On the other hand, as found in the University of Minnesota study, the non-usage of artificial fertilizers, and resulting exclusive use of manure as fertilizer, by organic farmers can result in significantly greater accumulations of antibiotics in organic foods.[3]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Manure". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  2. ^ "Spontaneous Combustion of Manure Starts 200-Acre Blaze 1/08/07 |". abc7.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  3. ^ a b staff (2007-07-12). "Livestock Antibiotics Can End Up in Human Foods". Ens-newswire.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Winterhalder, B., R. Larsen, and R. B. Thomas. (1974). "Dung as an essential resource in a highland Peruvian community". Human Ecology 2 (2): 89–104. doi:10.1007/BF01558115. 

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manure — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
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246705 news items

U.S. News & World Report

The Detroit News
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:28:38 -0700

About 400 tons of animal manure are generated annually at the zoo. The biodigester will turn the organic waste into a methane-rich gas. The biogas will be used to help power the 18,000-square-foot Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex, saving the zoo ...

NBC 6 South Florida

NBC 6 South Florida
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 02:46:55 -0700

Two firefighters, including a lieutenant, were hurt as Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units battled a large hay and manure fire in Miami Gardens. The large fire broke out in the overnight hours Monday around 2 a.m. at the Northwest Distributors MannaPro hay ...
 
NewsOK.com
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:26:15 -0700

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Zoo is planning to turn abundant piles of animal manure into energy. The zoo in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak says Monday that construction on the anaerobic biodigester begins this spring and will be completed ...

WatertownDailyTimes.com

WatertownDailyTimes.com
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 21:30:00 -0700

The process opens an annual window for farmers to start an important and cost-efficient means of ensuring good crop production: manure spreading. The farm waste provides valuable nutrients to the soil, but its management requires a careful balance ...

Wausau Daily Herald

Wausau Daily Herald
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 21:07:30 -0700

We heard a lot about manure as a problem, but not so much on how manure is a resource, too. It's a rich fertilizer that reduces farmers' need to buy and apply commercial fertilizers. We needed to hear more about how farmers want to be good neighbors ...

OZY

OZY
Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:30:00 -0700

Enter Calgary, Alberta-based Livestock Water Recycling, whose machinery processes manure into commercial-grade fertilizer and distills the water for irrigation and farm animals. Today, the company has systems (which cost up to $1.5 million to install ...

Madison.com

Madison.com
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:07:30 -0700

Boosted by a $3.3 million state grant, the Dane County Manure Handling Facility project opened in 2010 and has been fraught with problems, including an explosion in August that literally blew the lid off one of three 1.25 million gallon methane digesters.

VICE News

VICE News
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:41:15 -0700

Speaking to VICE News Thursday, a spokesperson for the town hall argued that they had not poured out manure, or indeed mud. The spokesperson also said the "dirt" did not have a noxious smell and was nothing more than "soil, which became wet during ...
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