Swine Manure Fertilizer Boosts Forage Yield and Quality

CANADA - Research conducted by the University of Manitoba shows swine manure fertilizer dramatically increases the yield and quality of forage on hay and pasture land, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 2 November 2007
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As part of a multi disciplinary research project underway near LaBroquerie, researchers are evaluating the productivity and environmental sustainability of using liquid swine manure fertilizer on hay and pasture land.

Colleen Wilson, a recent graduate of the University of Manitoba's Masters Program in Animal Science, evaluated the productivity of manure fertilized hay fields and pasture, nitrogen and phosphorous removal by the plants and methane emissions by the cattle consuming the forage.

Wilson reports dramatic improvements in both forage yield and quality on the fertilized plots.

Colleen Wilson-University of Manitoba

Forage productivity; We were monitoring the actual hay and pasture so the amount of hay produced and removed from the site and the amount of pasture available.

The way we determined pasture available was by taking random samples down to about the root level, about an inch higher than what animals would graze down to in a set area.

About a quarter metre squared is what we were looking at and, by drying it down, we were able to determine the productivity, the dry matter biomass available.

We found that by adding hog manure to the grasslands we were able to dramatically improve the amount of forage, the amount of pasture available to the animals and, by improving this, we were able to pasture many more animals on these sites so the carrying capacity increased as well.

In terms of forage productivity, we found that it was increased and improved by applying hog manure.

The forage quality as well, in terms of protein and in some cases energy as well improved in those pastures that received manure.

Wilson notes the cattle carrying capacity on the manured pastures increased three to four fold compared to the un-manured pastures being examined.

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