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  • Writer's picturePhilip

What's that White Stuff?

We all know that organic manures are good for the soil but how good? Is it measurable and how do we capitalise on such benefits?

If we consider in this instance Farm yard manure; well first you have to put enough on, soil properties like pH and Organic carbon are mostly influenced by doses of no less than 21.0 t/ha. You get little in the way of any measurable “benefit” once amounts are less than 10.5 t/ha. Bulk density (one may consider this as “friability”) start to decrease when the amount is below 21.0 t/ha.

Interestingly research indicates that the optimum range for application is in fact 20-30 t/ha. Higher amounts have resulted in a decline in harvestable crop yield.

The application of manure is often associated with an increase in yield of 7 – 12% over that achieved by an equivalent amount of inorganic fertiliser but what is also surprising is that plant populations are often found to be greater, up to an additional 12% better.

So what is happening? It has been proposed that long-term Farm Yard Manure application builds soil organic matter reserves and induces faster rates of nutrient cycling by boosting microbial biomass rather than by changing its community composition. The result, more nutrients are made available to the plant and it responds accordingly.


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