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Swine Manure Fertilizer Contributes to Reduced Soil Crusting

by 5m Editor
8 July 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1554. 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 1554

Research conducted by the University of Saskatchewan shows the use of swine manure fertilizer can actually help reduce the risk of soil crusting.

A graduate student study, conducted as part of the University of Saskatchewan's long term research into the use of swine manure, looked at the effect of repeated applications on surface soil crusting and its potential impact on crop germination and emergence.

The project compared barley, flax and canola fertilized with swine manure to crops grown using commercial fertilizer and unfertilized crops.

Senior Researcher Dr. Jeff Schoenau says manure application had no significant impact on crusting.

"With swine manure, although it can have a positive impact on organic matter content of the soil which would improve structure, the swine manure contains salts particularly sodium salts which may cause dispersion and deterioration of structure.

What we wanted was to determine overall, 'what's the net impact of these counterbalancing influences?' I think what we found in this study, to sum it up, is that the repeated application of manure for five to seven years hasn't had any appreciable negative or positive impact on the crusting of the soil compared to our control and our commercial fertilizer comparisons.

I think, out in the field, we were seeing a real impact there of the increased residue cover that we get from improved crop growth on the manure treated soils resulting in higher soil moisture content in the early spring which reduced the issue of crusting compared to what we saw on our controls with very little residue.

Out in the field under those conditions I think we saw the manure have a positive impact."

Dr. Schoenau says, while the manure itself had no direct effect on crusting, it provided an indirect benefit by stimulating crop growth and increasing the amount of crop residue left on the surface.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor