Revisiting the agronomic benefits of manure: a correct assessment and exploitation of its fertilizer value spares the environment

J.J. Schröder

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    130 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The ongoing disintegration of agriculture into specialized farms, specialized regions and even specialized countries, has disrupted local nutrient cycles. This process is promoted and sustained by the use of mineral fertilizers. Ample availability of mineral fertilizers has changed farmers' perception and appreciation of manure. By now, manure is looked upon as `waste' in some regions. It is a contradiction in terms, however, to regard biological by-products as `waste'. Apart from this cultural aspect, economical and environmental considerations per se, justify a rehabilitation of manure. First of all a correct assessment of the fertilizer value is required. The present paper explaines how to determine the nitrogen fertilizer value (NFV) of manures in a unbiassed manner. Subsequently, recommendations are made on how to exploit the potential NFV as good as possible. Undeniably, it is easier to manage mineral fertilizers than manure. However, when proper attention is given to the composition of manure and decisions on rates, timing and placement are made correspondingly, the NFV can be enhanced. This should lead to a drastic reduction of mineral fertilizer use, nutrient surpluses and environmental pollution. Under such conditions, `manure', `precision farming' and `environment' can become reconciled again.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)253-261
    JournalBioresource Technology
    Volume96
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

    Keywords

    • silage maize production
    • corn yield response
    • dairy-cattle manure
    • term crop response
    • nitrogen-fertilizer
    • soil-nitrogen
    • nitrification inhibitors
    • ammonia volatilization
    • surface application
    • labeled nitrogen

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