Manure as a key resource within smallholder farming systems: Analysing farm-scale nutrient cycling efficiences with the NUANCES framework

M.C. Rufino, P.A. Tittonell, M.T. van Wijk, A. Castellanos-Navarrete, R.J. Delve, N. de Ridder, K.E. Giller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Smallholder farmers in Africa recognise the important role of manure in maintaining soil fertility. For smallholder farmers who use little fertiliser, efficient management of nutrients in manure is key for crop production. We describe a simple model to analyse the effect of manure management on the efficiency of mass and nutrient retention. We used on-farm data on manure excreted and manure management, experimental results, literature and fuzzy logic to model losses during manure storage. The model was used to analyse N cycling efficiency (NCE) within smallholder farms in western Kenya. Simulations showed that manure management during collection and storage had a large effect on the efficiency of C and nutrient retention. Differences in NCE between farmers of different wealth classes arose due to differences in resource endowment. For poorer farmers, large N losses occur at all stages of manure recycling. Urinary-N losses occurred on all farms but their impact on NCE for poor and medium-class farmers was larger due to the smaller amount of N recycled. With current management the poor farmer recovered <1 kg N y¿ 1 in composted manure from 15 kg N y¿ 1 excreted. Improved manure storage had little effect on increasing overall NCE for the poor farmer due to large losses before storage. For the wealthier farmer improvement of manure storage increased NCE and allowed recycling of 30% of N excreted (ca. 30 kg N y¿ 1) with small investment in infrastructure. Covering manure heaps with a polythene film reduced mass and N losses considerably. For the poor to increase overall NCE, investment in cattle housing and recycling of urinary-N is required. Increasing cattle numbers or improved feeding would have a larger effect on manure availability but this is constrained by feed scarcity and investment capacity. The absolute amounts of N recycled (1¿6, 4¿17 and 7¿18 kg N y¿ 1 for poor, medium and wealthier farmers) were small compared with maize N demand (> 50 kg N ha¿ 1), but significant given the small farm sizes (0.1¿1.1 ha). Although absolute amounts of N recycled with improved manure management may have little immediate impact on crop productivity, manure is often the only input available. Manure provides other nutrients for crops and maintains soil organic matter ¿ both vital to guarantee efficient use of fertiliser N ¿ which justifies the search for interventions to assist farmers make better use of manure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-287
JournalLivestock Science
Volume112
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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small-scale farming
Manure
Agriculture
animal manures
biogeochemical cycles
farming systems
animal manure management
farmers
Food
farms
nutrient retention
small farms
manure storage
Fertilizers
fuzzy logic
farm size
nutrient management
crops
Farms
Kenya

Keywords

  • management
  • cattle
  • mineralization
  • availability
  • tropics
  • quality
  • wastes
  • time
  • soil

Cite this

Rufino, M.C. ; Tittonell, P.A. ; van Wijk, M.T. ; Castellanos-Navarrete, A. ; Delve, R.J. ; de Ridder, N. ; Giller, K.E. / Manure as a key resource within smallholder farming systems: Analysing farm-scale nutrient cycling efficiences with the NUANCES framework. In: Livestock Science. 2007 ; Vol. 112, No. 3. pp. 273-287.
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abstract = "Smallholder farmers in Africa recognise the important role of manure in maintaining soil fertility. For smallholder farmers who use little fertiliser, efficient management of nutrients in manure is key for crop production. We describe a simple model to analyse the effect of manure management on the efficiency of mass and nutrient retention. We used on-farm data on manure excreted and manure management, experimental results, literature and fuzzy logic to model losses during manure storage. The model was used to analyse N cycling efficiency (NCE) within smallholder farms in western Kenya. Simulations showed that manure management during collection and storage had a large effect on the efficiency of C and nutrient retention. Differences in NCE between farmers of different wealth classes arose due to differences in resource endowment. For poorer farmers, large N losses occur at all stages of manure recycling. Urinary-N losses occurred on all farms but their impact on NCE for poor and medium-class farmers was larger due to the smaller amount of N recycled. With current management the poor farmer recovered <1 kg N y¿ 1 in composted manure from 15 kg N y¿ 1 excreted. Improved manure storage had little effect on increasing overall NCE for the poor farmer due to large losses before storage. For the wealthier farmer improvement of manure storage increased NCE and allowed recycling of 30{\%} of N excreted (ca. 30 kg N y¿ 1) with small investment in infrastructure. Covering manure heaps with a polythene film reduced mass and N losses considerably. For the poor to increase overall NCE, investment in cattle housing and recycling of urinary-N is required. Increasing cattle numbers or improved feeding would have a larger effect on manure availability but this is constrained by feed scarcity and investment capacity. The absolute amounts of N recycled (1¿6, 4¿17 and 7¿18 kg N y¿ 1 for poor, medium and wealthier farmers) were small compared with maize N demand (> 50 kg N ha¿ 1), but significant given the small farm sizes (0.1¿1.1 ha). Although absolute amounts of N recycled with improved manure management may have little immediate impact on crop productivity, manure is often the only input available. Manure provides other nutrients for crops and maintains soil organic matter ¿ both vital to guarantee efficient use of fertiliser N ¿ which justifies the search for interventions to assist farmers make better use of manure.",
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Manure as a key resource within smallholder farming systems: Analysing farm-scale nutrient cycling efficiences with the NUANCES framework. / Rufino, M.C.; Tittonell, P.A.; van Wijk, M.T.; Castellanos-Navarrete, A.; Delve, R.J.; de Ridder, N.; Giller, K.E.

In: Livestock Science, Vol. 112, No. 3, 2007, p. 273-287.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Manure as a key resource within smallholder farming systems: Analysing farm-scale nutrient cycling efficiences with the NUANCES framework

AU - Rufino, M.C.

AU - Tittonell, P.A.

AU - van Wijk, M.T.

AU - Castellanos-Navarrete, A.

AU - Delve, R.J.

AU - de Ridder, N.

AU - Giller, K.E.

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Smallholder farmers in Africa recognise the important role of manure in maintaining soil fertility. For smallholder farmers who use little fertiliser, efficient management of nutrients in manure is key for crop production. We describe a simple model to analyse the effect of manure management on the efficiency of mass and nutrient retention. We used on-farm data on manure excreted and manure management, experimental results, literature and fuzzy logic to model losses during manure storage. The model was used to analyse N cycling efficiency (NCE) within smallholder farms in western Kenya. Simulations showed that manure management during collection and storage had a large effect on the efficiency of C and nutrient retention. Differences in NCE between farmers of different wealth classes arose due to differences in resource endowment. For poorer farmers, large N losses occur at all stages of manure recycling. Urinary-N losses occurred on all farms but their impact on NCE for poor and medium-class farmers was larger due to the smaller amount of N recycled. With current management the poor farmer recovered <1 kg N y¿ 1 in composted manure from 15 kg N y¿ 1 excreted. Improved manure storage had little effect on increasing overall NCE for the poor farmer due to large losses before storage. For the wealthier farmer improvement of manure storage increased NCE and allowed recycling of 30% of N excreted (ca. 30 kg N y¿ 1) with small investment in infrastructure. Covering manure heaps with a polythene film reduced mass and N losses considerably. For the poor to increase overall NCE, investment in cattle housing and recycling of urinary-N is required. Increasing cattle numbers or improved feeding would have a larger effect on manure availability but this is constrained by feed scarcity and investment capacity. The absolute amounts of N recycled (1¿6, 4¿17 and 7¿18 kg N y¿ 1 for poor, medium and wealthier farmers) were small compared with maize N demand (> 50 kg N ha¿ 1), but significant given the small farm sizes (0.1¿1.1 ha). Although absolute amounts of N recycled with improved manure management may have little immediate impact on crop productivity, manure is often the only input available. Manure provides other nutrients for crops and maintains soil organic matter ¿ both vital to guarantee efficient use of fertiliser N ¿ which justifies the search for interventions to assist farmers make better use of manure.

AB - Smallholder farmers in Africa recognise the important role of manure in maintaining soil fertility. For smallholder farmers who use little fertiliser, efficient management of nutrients in manure is key for crop production. We describe a simple model to analyse the effect of manure management on the efficiency of mass and nutrient retention. We used on-farm data on manure excreted and manure management, experimental results, literature and fuzzy logic to model losses during manure storage. The model was used to analyse N cycling efficiency (NCE) within smallholder farms in western Kenya. Simulations showed that manure management during collection and storage had a large effect on the efficiency of C and nutrient retention. Differences in NCE between farmers of different wealth classes arose due to differences in resource endowment. For poorer farmers, large N losses occur at all stages of manure recycling. Urinary-N losses occurred on all farms but their impact on NCE for poor and medium-class farmers was larger due to the smaller amount of N recycled. With current management the poor farmer recovered <1 kg N y¿ 1 in composted manure from 15 kg N y¿ 1 excreted. Improved manure storage had little effect on increasing overall NCE for the poor farmer due to large losses before storage. For the wealthier farmer improvement of manure storage increased NCE and allowed recycling of 30% of N excreted (ca. 30 kg N y¿ 1) with small investment in infrastructure. Covering manure heaps with a polythene film reduced mass and N losses considerably. For the poor to increase overall NCE, investment in cattle housing and recycling of urinary-N is required. Increasing cattle numbers or improved feeding would have a larger effect on manure availability but this is constrained by feed scarcity and investment capacity. The absolute amounts of N recycled (1¿6, 4¿17 and 7¿18 kg N y¿ 1 for poor, medium and wealthier farmers) were small compared with maize N demand (> 50 kg N ha¿ 1), but significant given the small farm sizes (0.1¿1.1 ha). Although absolute amounts of N recycled with improved manure management may have little immediate impact on crop productivity, manure is often the only input available. Manure provides other nutrients for crops and maintains soil organic matter ¿ both vital to guarantee efficient use of fertiliser N ¿ which justifies the search for interventions to assist farmers make better use of manure.

KW - management

KW - cattle

KW - mineralization

KW - availability

KW - tropics

KW - quality

KW - wastes

KW - time

KW - soil

U2 - 10.1016/j.livsci.2007.09.011

DO - 10.1016/j.livsci.2007.09.011

M3 - Article

VL - 112

SP - 273

EP - 287

JO - Livestock Science

JF - Livestock Science

SN - 1871-1413

IS - 3

ER -