Improved farmyard manure through sunlight, rain and runoff protection

Improving farmyard manure by protecting it from direct sunlight, rainfall, and runoff to reduce volatilisation and leaching

Farmyard manure is the most common form of organic fertiliser applied to crops in the midhills of Nepal. Farmyard manure has a high proportion of organic material which nurtures soil organisms and is essential for maintaining an active soil life. Typically, only about half of the nutrient content of farmyard manure becomes available for crop growth during the first year after it is applied to the soil. The rest of the nutrients are channelled through soil biotic processes and are released in the following years. The high organic matter content and the more active soil life improve or maintain a friable soil structure, increase the cation exchange capacity, the water holding capacity, and the infiltration rate, and reducing the risk of soil pests.

Indigenous methods of preparing and using farmyard manure vary depending on the ecological zone, access to bedding material from crop or forest land and to crop residues and fodder, the availability of labour, and other factors. Traditionally, Nepali farmers take the manure out of their sheds to dry it for 2-3 days and then carry it to the field where it is left in small heaps for a number of days before being spread and incorporated into the soil.

WOCAT database reference: QT NEP9

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 fi eld school on integrated plant nutrient systems (QA NEP4)

Compiled by: SSMP

Date: January 2007