What type of manure is the best fertilizer?

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What type of manure is the best fertilizer?

All manure has a value as a fertilizer, simply because of where it comes from. All manures are a concentration of compounds and elements that can be used by any growing plant.

But if you aren’t familiar with using manure or any organic fertilizer, you may be wondering: what type of manure is the best fertilizer?

Any manure is a good fertilizer

Any manure from any source will be at its best when it has been fully converted into compost. Cow manure that’s been converted to compost appears to be the most popular organic fertilizer. This is probably because it’s more readily available than most of the other sources. 

The thing about manure is that when it’s been completely turned into compost, you can’t tell which source of manure it came from. If it’s black and crumbly and there’s no discerning smell, then you won’t be able to tell.

By the time manure has turned into black and crumbly compost, you won’t worry too much about where it came from. All that will matter is that you have the best organic fertilizer that’s going and you just need to make the best use of it.

Which is better sheep or cow manure?

Both of these will produce a result. When it comes to choosing between sheep or cow manure, neither one is better than the other. Both provide a basic organic material that can be turned into good quality compost.  

It comes down to which is easiest to collect. Sheep tend to spend most of their time roaming around, which means that collecting their manure will involve having to walk around looking for it. When you’ve gathered enough to be able to do anything, you need to add some straw or some other ‘carbon brown’ to balance the high nitrate value of sheep manure. 

It may be possible to collect sheep manure more easily if the sheep are housed. This rarely happens other than, possibly, during the lambing time when some farmers bring their sheep into big sheds. They do this for easier management at this important time. 

It may be better to collect the sheep manure from such a shed after the lambing period has finished and all the sheep and lambs are out in the fields. This is because the sheep may feel stressed at having a stranger poking around looking for manure at lambing time. The farmer will appreciate it if you understand this point.

Cow manure is a different matter. Although cows are usually out in the fields during the Summer months, there is usually a long Winter period when they are housed. This means that there will be a significant build-up of manure that is likely to be made up of a straw-mix because of straw being used as bedding. 

The best time to collect cow manure is after it’s been extracted from the buildings where the cows have been housed. At the end of the Winter period, most cows go out to Summer grass and all the manure is taken out.

The action of digging out the built up layers of manure will have the same effect as turning a compost heap for the first time. A huge heap will appear, usually near the buildings where the cows were housed. The manure will be opened up and the air will be able to get in. The microbes that start the decomposition process will get to work.

If you are lucky enough to have an arrangement with the farmer, to collect some cow manure, you will see the heap of extracted manure. It will be easier to dig into this with a hand-fork after having been moved by a machine. Every time you dig at manure from this point onwards, even when you are just loading or unloading it, will help to turn it into compost.

By the time you’ve got it home and unloaded your manure into your own heap, it will have been moved over three times, if you include the initial dig from the cow-shed. The day after you do this, don’t be surprised if you see steam rising from your heap. This will be an indication that there is plenty of ‘life’ in the manure. 

Which is best chicken manure or cow manure?

If you are looking for an instant hit of nitrates for any reason, chicken manure will do it better than cow manure. You can put chicken manure straight in the garden. Fresh chicken manure is a natural form of nitrogen fertilizer. There will be some available nitrates in fresh cow manure but not as much as chicken manure.

Don’t over apply either as raw manure. It’s possible to apply too much nitrate-rich nutrient to plants. A plant can only use a limited amount of nitrogen at any one time. Too much can kill some plants.

If you compare chicken manure with cow manure when making compost, you will find that there’s no difference. It may all look different when it starts but after being turned over a few times and allowed enough time to rot down fully, it will all look and feel the same.

So, if you are presented with an opportunity of having either, grab either or, even better, if you can, grab both.

Can you fertilize with goat poop?

Goat manure can be used as fertilizer just like any other manure. There’s nothing particularly special about goat manure that sets it apart from any other manure, except that, the small nature of the droppings make it more convenient when distributing it among plants.

In goat manure, nature has provided us with an easy-to-throw package that will do some good wherever it pitches among the plants. It’s another one which mustn’t be overdone. Plants can have too much of a good thing, just like the rest of us.

If you can actually find enough of it, goat manure will make compost just like any other manure. You may need to add some ‘carbon browns’ to balance the mix. This will depend on how fresh it is. Take it to its final conclusion and it will make compost that will be a match for the best.

What animal poop can be used as fertilizer?

Without exception, all animal droppings will contain elements that will, in some way, fertilize vegetation. You only need to look at the immediate vegetation around a portion of animal droppings to see how its growth will exceed that of the vegetation beyond.

The response to animal manure will not be instant. The procedure is always slow release. It usually begins with fungi feeding from the manure. This will break down and release nutrient components that surrounding plants can use as fertilizer.

Each delivery of manure, if left on the ground among vegetation, will behave like a tiny compost heap. It will go through the same phases as compost in the forming. It will start with fungi feeding from it. After a while it will break down completely. Worms are likely to play a part in incorporating it into the soil.

Is compost or manure better?

It makes more sense to use the compost that’s generated from manure rather than apply fresh manure as fertilizer. Completed compost will be a settled medium that will have, within it, a range of nutrients that any plant can make use of at any stage of growth. Compost will become absorbed into the soil and improve the soil structure.  

If you apply fresh manure as a fertilizer, there are some plants which may be challenged by the sudden influx of compounds that can come from fresh manure.

Some fresh manure will release nitrates to a level that plants can’t cope with. There is also the risk of ammonia being released. This can happen with some manures in the early stages of the inevitable break-down. It’s not something that will last for long but it may cause temporary damage. 

What are the different types of organic manure?

There’s a range of different compounds that fall in the category of organic manure.

There are four that we’ve identified.

  • Compost
  • Farm animal manure
  • Green cover-crop manure
  • Wood ashes

Compost manure can be generated from a vast selection of organic ingredients. This can be universally applied to any growing plant or incorporated into a seed bed to wait for seed germination.

Farm animal manure can be used as a fertilizer on soil in a raw state but to get the best results, you need to allow the time that it takes to convert it to compost. Composting manure is the safest and least complicated way of handling farm animal manure.

Green cover-crop manure involves a procedure that takes us away from handling organic materials that needs to be converted to compost. This is where we grow a crop of vegetation over a selected area of ground. The crop isn’t harvested. 

The ground is dug over to bury the crop. The organic mass that makes up the entire vegetation of the crop is then allowed to rot down, underground. As it rots, nutrients will be released that become a fertilizer to the plants that are growing in the soil. 

This is a very neat way of using the soil to produce material that can then be used as a slow-release fertilizer and it will be placed directly under the plants that you want to grow.

Wood ashes are just that. You may not have access to this but if you burn wood for heating, you will generate an ever-growing mountain of wood ash. This is a rich source of potassium (potash). Every plant in the garden will benefit from potash, so, wood ashes qualify as a manure, or fertilizer.

What kind of manure is best for rhubarb?

Farm animal manure of any kind will feed rhubarb. The best manure for this is probably going to be cow manure. A well rotted load spread around the outside of the plant will allow nutrients to drain down to the roots. If the manure is rather fresh, then the best time to apply it will be the Autumn. This will give it a chance to rot down over the Winter. 

Compost that’s been produced from whatever source can be spread around the rhubarb plant at the beginning of the growing season to get the best performance from it.

If you don’t have access to any manure or compost, then there is an alternative. You can use granular, artificial fertilizer. The general guidance is to use a fertilizer that is 10:10:10. This is a balanced Nitrogen:Potash:Phosphate compound fertilizer and should give you most of what you would get from organic manure. 

Apply a ring of the granules around the plant. Make a narrow band of granules about 1 inch wide. Use enough to just cover the ground with the granules. Keep it away from the foliage as it may cause scorch. Then water around the plant. Rhubarb needs plenty of water, especially if you’ve applied artificial fertilizer.

Image sources:

Gratton art

What else would you like to know?

Can I put fresh cow manure on my garden?

Making compost with cow manure

Is all cardboard biodegradable?

Cardboard compost or recycle?

Making compost with cardboard

Can you grow potatoes in just compost?

Can I put eggshells in my compost? Is it OK to put onions in compost? Can tomatoes be used in compost?

Can I put cooked food in the compost? Can I put eggs in the compost? Can you put avocado peels in compost?

Can you put broccoli in compost? Can you put paper towels in the compost? How often do you turn your compost pile?

 

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