No bull — composted manure benefits row crops

It makes economic and environmental sense for feedlot operators to start composting their manure, says a soil conservation researcher at the Lethbridge Research Centre.

“I think a lot of feedlots are now realizing that they should look at composting because you can only rely on your neighbours for so long to take the raw manure,” said Frank Larney.

Producers of potatoes, sugar beets, beans and other row crops in southern Alberta often apply manure from nearby feedlots. But they, too, would gain by switching to composted manure.

“I think the onus is on the feedlot owners to hopefully ensure than these nutrients are spread out over a wider area so that we are not getting high nutrient loadings on land close to feedlots,” said Larney. “One way of doing that is to go the composting route because it is much more economical to transport nutrients in the form of compost than as raw manure.”

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