Research Shows Composted Manure Superior to Stockpiled Manure

by 5m Editor
26 May 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1523. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

Manitoba Pork Council

Farm-Scape is sponsored by
Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

Play Audio

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

Farm-Scape, Episode 1523

Research being conducted by Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development shows composting solid livestock manure provides a much superior end product than does stockpiling.

For the past four years scientists at the AgTech Centre in Lethbridge have been evaluating various management practices and equipment in an effort to optimize the composting process. Although the research has focused on solid cattle manure, the results apply to any solid livestock manure.

Head of Agricultural Engineering Rick Atkins says, with stockpiling, raw manure simply sits anywhere from a few days to a number of months before being spread where as composting involves an active effort to process the manure.

"The big difference between stockpiling and composting is the presence of oxygen. What it means is you get a different set of bugs working away in your pile and the composting process results in a product that is much more palatable.

In that way there's also less odor with it, the heat process that goes on in composting actually kills weed seeds and also some of the pathogens as well.

With stockpiling what you have is a pile of manure without any oxygen in it and you have anaerobic decomposition so, as a result, you get a lot of hydrogen sulfides and amonias and things like that coming off of it.

When you spread it, the odor situation is considerably more and you still may have those weed seeds and some of those pathogens as well.

The thing is that, when it's in a pile like that, there is decomposition going on but it's of a different type so it's working away but it's not the most desirable type".

Atkins admits producers who opt for composting must be prepared to invest in the equipment and the time to do it.

However, he stresses, it may have advantages for some in terms of a better end product to work with.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor