The Straight Poop on Manure – Stockton, Ca

Written by Bill Stoermer on April 15th, 2014. Posted in Blog

Manure is a by-product of the live-stock industry. Manure is organic matter used as fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure replenishes the soil with essential elements and adds humus to the soil.
Although there is a lot of variation among animals and feed, in general about three fourths of the nitrogen, four fifths of the phosphorus, nine tenths of the potassium, and one half of the organic matter is recovered in the voided excrement (poop). Depending upon how quickly the poop is collected, treated and bagged, only about one third to one half of the nutrient value of manure is actually realized in your garden. Nutrient value is lost to volatization (drying) and leaching (rain water/irrigation).

All manures all sold with a value for the three primary ingredients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Manure must be considered primarily as a nitrogen fertilizer and, to a lesser extent, one of potassium. Modern manure is now treated before sale to the consumer to minimize introduction of unwanted by-products the animal may have chomped on in the barn yard. Treatment includes drying the product out to minimize water content and adding beneficial ingredients to increase its effectiveness.

Nitrogen allows plants to produce the proteins needed to build living tissue for green stems, strong roots and lots of leaves.

Phosphorus helps move energy throughout the plant.

Potassium aids plants in adapting sugars needed in growth and is especially helpful in root crops.

As a rule, chicken manure has a much higher nutrient rating than cow manure. Because it absorbs quickly, it is used primarily on “short term plants” such as your seasonals/annuals. Because cow manure takes a much longer time to absorb and break down, it is excellent on “long term plants such as trees, shrubs, and perennials.

Manure is used a rich soil amendment that can also be used as a soil conditioner or clay breaker. It is frequently used as a top dressing to help protect roots and soil from temperature damage.

Manure is suitable for all flowers, veggies, plants and trees.

Because of its generally safe nature, manure is safe to use in unlimited quantities for soil fertility, soil conditioning and breaking up clay soil ( real problem here in Stockton).

Cautions: Because of its higher nutrient content, chicken manure may burn more sensitive plants, vegetables and root crops (roses, grapes).
Up to 50% of the nutrient value of fertilizer can be lost to volatization and leaching so it is a good practice to till it into the soil on the same day as application. (If it is being used as a top dressing for root protection, there is no need to mix it in.)

In Stockton, California? Learn more about fertilizing your garden at Fremont Plaza Ace Hardware.

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