Better quality farmyard manure through improved decomposition

Collection and proper storage of farmyard manure in heaps or pits

Farmyard manure – a varying mixture of animal manure, urine, bedding material, fodder residues, and other components – is the most common form of organic manure applied in the midhills of Nepal. Farmyard manure has a high proportion of organic material which nurtures soil organisms and is essential in maintaining an active soil life. Only about half of the nutrient content of farmyard manure becomes available for crop growth during the first year after it has been applied to the soil – the rest is channelled through soil biotic processes and the nutrients are released in the following years. The high organic matter content and the active soil life improve or maintain friable soil structures, increase the cation exchange capacity, water holding capacity, and infiltration rate, and reducing the risk of soil pests building up.

Indigenous methods of preparing and using farmyard manure vary widely depending on the ecological zone, access to bedding material from crop or forest land, access to crop residues and fodder, labour availability, and other factors. A prerequisite for the manure having a positive impact on soil fertility is that it is properly decomposed. The application of partially decomposed manure can increase the number of white grubs, red ants and other soil pests.

WOCAT database reference: QT NEP8

Location: Nepal midhills

SWC measure: Management

Land use: Annual cropping on rainfed agricultural land

Climate: Humid subtropical

Related approach: Farmer-to-farmer diffusion (QA NEP1); Farmer-led experimentation (QA NEP3); Farmer field school on integrated plant nutrient systems (QA NEP4)

Compiled by: SSMP

Date: January 2007