Long Term Swine Manure Fertilizer Use Improves Soil Fertility

by 5m Editor
6 February 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1441. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1441

Research underway in Saskatchewan shows long term application of swine manure fertilizer, at rates that are balanced with crop removal, enhances the soil.

Over the past eight years the University of Saskatchewan's Department of Soil Science has maintained long term swine manure field research sites in each of the province's four climatic zones.

Manure is applied either annually, semi annually or once every three years at various rates and compared with a commercial fertilizer check.

Senior Research Scientists Jeff Shano says the work shows application of manure at sustainable rates is good for the soil.

"What we've been finding, in terms of the optimal rates of application, is that applications of rates somewhere in the area of 70 to 100 pounds of nitrogen per acre per year give us good yield responses and appear to be sustainable in terms of not resulting in any apparent large buildup of nutrient in the soil.

Larger applications every second year seem to work not too bad as well. We are seeing, after a number of years, that the organic matter content in the soil has been increasing.

I think that's a good thing and we can attribute that to the increased growth produced from the manure.

The other thing we observed this year is we saw the effect of residual applications. In some cases applications that were made as long as three or four years ago we're still showing some residual effects at one of our sites".

Dr. Shano says, when swine manure is applied at appropriate rates and balanced with crop removal, its impact on soil fertility is positive.

However he says, by the same token, the work shows excessive applications will result in detrimental buildups of nutrients, especially nitrate.

He says the bottom line is, 'manure application will improve soil quality, if it's done right.'

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor