Homegrown Iowa: Seven Ways Manure Benefits Soil

posted on Thursday, January 18, 2018

We’ve been talking a lot lately about the fact that we are a Homegrown Iowa company in a business that could not be more homegrown or more important to Iowa—agriculture. Yet sometimes, when something has been around for so long, we tend to lose our appreciation for the value it has.

In this January issue of Homegrown Iowa, we’re talking about the wonderful, natural, organic crop fertilizer called manure. While farmers certainly know the value manure brings to their cropland, not everyone recognizes pig manure improves soil health and better protects water quality.

In fact, numerous studies confirm that is exactly what happens when farmers switch from commercial fertilizer to swine manure. Dr. Dan Andersen, assistant professor in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University says, “Manure application is often credited with improving physical soil properties (organic matter) and associated benefits such as reduced runoff and erosion.”

And repeated use of manure helps build up the soil health even more. “One study,” Dr. Andersen explains, “found that five years of manure or compost application increased hydraulic conductivity, porosity and that available waterholding capacity of the soil by 85 and 56 percent for the compost and manure application treatments respectively, compared to controls.” In short, the more farmers use manure for their fertility needs, the more their soil health improves.

We invite you to learn the seven ways manure builds the soil and better protects against nutrient run-off by reading the January issue of Homegrown Iowa, which you can find here