GATHERING COW PATTIES
Free garden fertilizer…. that’s what field-gathered cow patties mean to me. In just one hour, you can shovel up hundreds of pounds of this brown gold. If you think that this is a bit too gross for you, remind yourself of what is truly disgusting… mined phosphate fertilizer, plastic-packaged denatured cow manure from big box stores, and other commercially packaged and shipped fertilizers.
COW PATTIES AS A FERTILIZER:
- “Composted cow manure will add generous amounts of organic matter to your soil.”
- It is “high in organic materials and rich in nutrients” and is especially “rich in minerals.”
- It contains a large percentage of undigested plant matter that adds to the compostability of this soil amendment.
- It contains moderate amounts of beneficial nitrogen (about 3%, so it is not as high as many other types of manure). Some tests, on the other hand, have shown it to be just 0.6% nitrogen.
- 2% phosphorus. (Or as little as 0.4% in some tests).
- 1% potassium (potash). (Or as little as 0.5% in some tests).
- It has an easy to remember macro-nutrient value... 3-2-1 NPK.
- It attracts, feeds, and helps breed or propagate dung beetles, worms, and many more soil organisms.
- Patties feed coprophilous fungi (dung-loving fungi), as some of you know too well!
- “It will improve aeration, helping to break up compacted soils.”
- “By mixing this compost into the soil, you can improve its moisture-holding capacity.”
- “Composted cow manure also contains beneficial bacteria, which convert nutrients into easily accessible forms so they can be slowly released without burning tender plant roots.”
SOME OTHER USES:
- Dried patties can be burned as fuel.
- Patties can have their methane extracted to burn as biogas, even on a home scale level.
- It can be incorporated into various naturally-built walls (to be added to adobe, to add thermal mass, etc.).
CAUTION – IT IS BEST APPLIED AFTER COMPOSTING FOR UP TO ONE YEAR.
PATHOGENS & AMMONIA:
- It contains “potentially dangerous pathogens”, so handle with caution. “For this reason, it’s usually recommended that it be aged or composted prior to its use as cow manure fertilizer.” “The high ammonia levels can burn plants when the fresh manure is directly applied.” Composting will help remove “harmful ammonia gas and pathogens (like E. coli), as well as weed seeds.”
- “Heavy manures, like that of cows, should be mixed with lighter materials, such as straw or hay, in addition to the usual organic substances from vegetable matter, garden debris, etc. Small amounts of lime or ash may also be added.”
- Turn your composting manure pile frequently. Aerobic composting techniques are the best way to compost cow manure.
ANTIBIOTICS IN MANURE:
- And this is the part that we should probably be most concerned about – this reminds of one of the main reasons that we should use well-composted manure in the garden.
- “The presence of antibiotics in animal manure represents a significant concern with respect to the introduction of antibiotic residues to the environment and the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.”
- “The most reported antibiotics in animal manure were fluoroquinolones, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines.”
- Residual antibiotics may remain bioactive for months after application. One German study that tested fields seven months after liquid manure was applied to agricultural fields showed that the antibiotic sulfadimidine was still present. The study concluded that “this indicates the high stability of some antibiotics in manure and soil.”
- Fortunately, “relatively high treatment efficiencies were observed for antibiotics in composting, anaerobic digestion, and aerobic/anaerobic lagooning.”
- “Anaerobic digestion was not effective for some key antibiotics, including lincosamides and select sulfonamides and fluoroquinolones.”
- As modern day agriculture increases the amounts of microbiological tools such as antibiotics, both antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance is on the increase, causing havoc in our environment. “For example, one study found that Enterococcus spp. sampled from 82 farms on the poultry-intensive eastern shore of Maryland were resistant to lincosamides, macrolides, and tetracyclines.”
Since the “animal antibiotics and antimicrobials market reached $3.3 billion in 2013 and is expected to exceed $4.1 billion by 2018”, we should GATHER MANURE FROM ORGANIC FARMS WHENEVER POSSIBLE!!!
“Animal antimicrobials and antibiotics market by products (tetracyclines, penicillins, sulfonamides, aminoglycosides), animals (dog, poultry, swine), mode of delivery (premixes, oral powders and solutions, injections)—global forecasts to 2018. May, 2014”
“Antibiotic Residues in Animal Waste: Occurrence and Degradation in Conventional Agricultural Waste Management Practices” (an article in Current Pollution Reports)
“Antimicrobial residues in animal waste and water resources proximal to large-scale swine and poultry feeding operations. Sci Total Environ. 2002”
“Determination of Antibiotic Residues in Manure, Soil, and Surface Waters“ (an article on reaserarchgate)
Gardening Know How