Thursday, February 03, 2011
Chicken manure is tops
An average chicken will produce around half a cubic metre of manure a year, much to the delight of those with veggie gardens.
Commercially, for many years the supply of chicken manure was only available to intensive agriculture such as viticulture or vegetable production. But as the poultry industry has expanded, chicken manure has become more available to broad acre farmers.
Chicken manure has been used for years to improve soils and increase yields. Some cropping farms and vegetable growers use it as a soil conditioner, applying it once every three or four years at two tonnes to the hectare. It can increase protein and yields in cereal crops and there have been reports of up to 3% oil increase in Canola.
It is a sustainable substitute for chemical fertiliser as chicken manure is a complete fertiliser containing many trace elements and a good percentage of organic carbon. It conditions poor soils and over ten years or so can transform them into rich loams, high in phosphorous, enabling them to hold more nutrients and moisture.
Freight costs can be a problem (because chemical fertilisers are lighter) but the benefits are enormous.
Manure that has been composted has been shown to be most beneficial.
We use most of our manure on the property as part of our sustainable farming practices, but we do occasionally supply some to other people.