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Report Evaluates Intelligent Use of Manure

by 5m Editor
26 June 2009, at 8:49a.m.

US - The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 directed the US Department of Agriculture to evaluate the role of animal manure as a source of fertiliser and its other uses.

According to the Economic Research Service (ERS), about five per cent of all US cropland is currently fertilised with livestock manure, and corn accounts for over half of the acreage to which manure is applied.

Expanded environmental regulation through nutrient management plans will likely lead to wider use of manure on cropland, at higher production costs, but with only modest impacts on production costs, commodity demand or farm structure.

There is widespread interest in using manure as a feedstock for energy production, says the ERS. While current use is quite limited, expanded government support, either direct or indirectly, could lead to a substantial increase in manure use as a feedstock.

However, current energy processes are unlikely to compete with fertilizer uses of manure, because they leave fertiliser nutrients as residues, in more marketable form, and because manure-to-energy projects will be most profitable in regions where raw manure is in excess supply, with the least manure sse for fertiliser and for energy.

Further Reading

- You can view the USDA ERS report by clicking here.