Roadmap to Healthy Soil Begins with Manure

posted on Monday, November 5, 2018

Looking back at American agriculture, animals have always been the key to providing the nutrients for crops and increase soil quality.

In 1907, the first Iowa State College Extension bulletin included a story on Farm Manures by A. H. Snyder, in which he stated, “One of the important functions of farm manure is to convey back to the soil, in a readily available form, the majority of the plant food removed from it by crops."

The bulletin begins Snyder’s concern that a quarter of the crop was leaving the farm and would never be recycled (as feed, bedding, or manure) back to the soil. He feared this would result in lower soil quality as the farmer would then need to use a different method of fertilization.

What Snyder was advocating for is now referred to as environmental sustainability—when crops feed livestock, livestock generates manure and manure fertilizes the crops.

Read more about how manure restores soil health in our issue of Homegrown Iowa!