Compost containing turkey manure and wood chips from bedding material is dried and then applied to pastures for fertilizer. Benton, Arkansas. Photographer: Jeff Vanuga. Photo Courtsey of USDA NRCS.
Manure Management, Nutrient Recycling
Row Crop, Pasture, Fodder, Rice, Animal Confinement
Temperate, Semiarid, Tropical
North America, South Asia, Europe
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Sediment
Manure composting is a management practice where manure is mixed with a carbon source such as straw, sawdust or wood chips. After the mixing process, manure is stacked, re-mixed occasionally, and then allowed to self-heat. Composted manure has a lower nutrient mineralization or fertilizer value than conventional manure, resulting in fewer nutrients in runoff when compost is applied to soil. 1
In some areas of the world, composting of manure may not be desirable as it is more valuable as a fuel source. When composting manure, surface and ground water proximity should be considered when selecting a compost site. The compost site needs to be on a plastic or concrete pad to minimize leaching to groundwater or in an area not prone to contamination of groundwater by leaching or where leachate can run off to surface water. Protecting the compost area from precipitation with a plastic cover or roof will reduce the risks of offsite contamination.
Scalable to small farms?
1 Sikora, Lawrence J., and Peggy Preusch. "Composting Effects on Phosphorus Availability in Animal Manures." SERA-17, Minimizing Phosphorus Losses from Agriculture. Web. Jan. 2014. http://www.sera17.ext.vt.edu/Documents/BMP_composting_effects.pdf .