Manure is an important raw material for crop production because it contains essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in addition to organic matter. Unlike chemical fertilisers, which reduce soil fertility and can negatively affect crops, raw manure is an environmentally responsible way to increase crop yields and maintain or improve soil quality.
However, the nutrient value of manure and composts depends on the animal species and how it is managed, so there is great variation in its nutrient content. To get a general idea of the nutrient content, farmers can look at published manure equivalency tables. However, it is important to understand that these tables are based on assumptions and may be misleading. The best way to determine if a manure or compost is appropriate for use on fields is to have it tested. For Nutrient Management Planning, contact https://4rreassurance.co.uk/nutrient-management-planning/
When properly applied to the soil, manure provides the same benefits as commercial fertilisers, but with more organic matter and beneficial microorganisms. It also returns carbon to the soil and improves soil physical properties. In addition, it supports the diversity of soil microbial communities and facilitates nutrient cycling by providing food for soil microorganisms.
Depending on the animal species and how it is managed, the nitrogen in manure becomes available to plants slowly over time, as microbes digest it. In contrast, the phosphorus and potassium in manure are readily available to crops after application. Availability can be a problem if excessive amounts are used, since excess levels of these nutrients can impair water quality.