Organic fertilizer or manure helps to improve and maintain the soil conditions like resistance to erosion, the soil structure, infiltration, and water retention rate, etc.; all these are what aid your crop and enhance good yield. This is why organic fertilizer or manure is more preferred to inorganic ones.
Organic manure is characterized by its slow release of nutrients and fulsome organic matter; it is often applied in large quantity to meet crop nutritional requirements. There are different types of organic fertilizer or manure but the animal wastes are commonly used.
Poultry waste, cattle dung, rabbit waste, pig droppings and at times horse droppings are commonly used in crop production; they have been tested and observed to be very effective in increasing crop yield. However, there is a need to determine how best these fertilizers are utilized with respect to their efficacy.
It has been observed that the performance of each type of organic fertilizer or manure varies with the type of crop it’s being applied. This is as a result of the nutrient composition of the manure with respect to the nutrient requirement of the sown crop. Different crops have different nutritional requirements.
The main nutrient elements plants need are just three (3), they are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, NPK. These nutrient elements are present in the manure but in different concentration.
Now, let’s scrutinize the animal fertilizers or manures and see how best each can be used, thus, knowing the type of crop it should be applied on.
Characteristics of poultry manure
Poultry manure is the most widely used organic fertilizer or manure. Poultry manure is believed to contain abundant and balanced nutrient elements needed for plant growth; this is because the feed fed to poultry birds, particularly those raised under intensive system of management, is rich and nutrient-filled. It is the best fertilizer for peppers and tomatoes.
Of course, it is what the birds eat they pass out as waste. Poultry are fed concentrate feeds and concentrate feeds are characterized by balance nutrients composition and abundant minerals, thus, making the waste as nutritious as the feed itself.
Another important factor that ranks poultry manure higher than other manures is the stomach structure of poultry birds. It does not fully utilize or absorb the nutrient elements in the feed, thus, passing out a relatively reasonable quantity of the nutrient out as waste. Poultry manure, especially chicken, is the richest animal manure; it has the highest quantity of NPK. It is very valuable and plants can easily absorb it.
Characteristics of Rabbit manure
Rabbit manure is another rich source of organic manure. Rabbit is also simple-stomached livestock, though can utilize fibers than poultry birds. Rabbits also eat concentrate but the main diet is derived from plant materials. Rabbits also pass out highly nutritious waste as a result of the simple nature of their stomach. Rabbit manure contains higher nitrogen than so poultry birds; it is also high in phosphorus, making it relevant for flowering and fruit formation.
Characteristics of cattle, sheep and goat manure
Cattle, sheep, and goat are large animals with complex stomach structure, making them utilize their feed optimally before passing it out as waste. Their stomach is divided into four (4) parts, with each part playing an active role in digestion and absorption of nutrients from the feed.
Also, these animals feed mainly on grasses; the nutrient composition of grasses is poor and after extensive absorption and digestion, the waste is therefore not as rich as the aforementioned manures. However, cattle, sheep and goat manures mineralize rapidly, that is, they release the little nutrient present in them rapidly than the aforementioned manures.
Characteristics of Pig and Horse manure
Pig and horse manures are quite the same; the two animals are both simple stomach animals like a rabbit. Pigs are, at times, fed concentrate feeds but horses feed mainly on grasses; it is usually rich in mineral salts but little of potassium. Pig manure takes a long time to release its nutrients, unlike other manures that release nutrient within a short period, say 3-6 weeks. This is why pig manure is not commonly used in cultivation but mostly used during fallowing. Horse manure has a balanced profile of nutrients but often contains weed seeds, thus, making weed invasion easy when used. These are the limitations of pig and horse manure.
Considering the nutrient composition of these manures, the type of crop they can be used on varies. For vegetables, poultry manure is the best you can use. But, if you are planting grains or other crops, use rabbit manure and any of cattle, sheep or goat manure together for a good yield. However, in the absence of rabbit manure; you can as well use poultry manure, they are close substitutes.