Fresh or Composted Manure

Is it okay to use fresh manure in raised beds preparation?

The above question came up in one of our practical class

Fresh manure have a higher Nitrogen content than composted or dried manure.

* Fresh manure is high in soluble forms of N, which can lead to salt build-up and leaching losses if over applied.

* Fresh manure may contain high amounts of viable weed seeds, which can lead to weed problems.

* Pathogens such as E. coli may be present in fresh manure and can cause illness to individuals eating fresh produce.

Fresh manure can be apply in fields where crops are intended for human consumption at least three months before the crop will be harvested.

Allow four months between application and harvest of root and leaf crops that come in contact with the soil.

* Drying manure or compost to low moisture content reduces their volume and weight, which lowers transportation costs.

*. Dried products can be easier to handle and apply uniformly to fields.

* Heat drying reduces pathogens if temperatures exceed 150 to 175°F for at least one hour and water content is reduced to 10 to 12% or less.

Unless in extreme situation where there are no alternative, fresh manure should be generally avoid during farm land preparation

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