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Composting Manures

Composting Manures image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The idea is becoining prevalent that coinposting is of little benefit, and that the cheaper method of drawing ont the manure as fast as made and spreading it on the land is nearly as good. It is argued that the manure must ferment some time, and in the soil there is little chance for its fertilizing properties to escape. But, says American Cultivator, we suspect that the fact of the new method saving labor is with many the most important consideration. It is not doubted that composting manure makes it more immediately avaüable. It does not add to the benefit that the inanure ultiinately gives, but if the compost heap is properly protected it need not detract from it. Assuming that the sanie quantity of manure will ultimately in either case put an equal amount of plant food in the soil, there is still a great advantage in ha ving it ready for use early in the season. Excepting winter wheat and rye, no farm crops are sown late in the season, and even these make only a small part of their growth in the fall. If manure is applied late in spring unfermented it is often past midBummer before the erop gets f uil benefit from it. Corn ground, cultivated oïten, may be helped by the lst of Jnly, but small spring grains, on ground covered in pprins; with wholly unfermented manu:.-, u:rely receive mnch benefit. ï:iblo manure is never drawn out wholly unfermented. It has to be gathered into heaps for greater convenience in handling, and thus gathered fermentation, especially with horse manure, begins quickly and progresses rapidly. It is for this reason in great part that horse manure is generally reckoned worth more than that from cows. It is somewhat fermented, and therefore somewhat soluble before being applied. Pile the cow manure in heaps a few days, give it equal fermentation, and if the cows have been fed as well as the horses their manure onght to be equally valuahfe. We believe farmers would find it to their interest to pile up all manure at least a few days, and especially in winter, before drawing it to the fields. Of course the heaps thus piled up should be protected froin rains and snow, and should also bu covered with loam or other absorbent to prevent evaporation. Iu snch condition they might be left a month or more without loss by evaporation. The extra labor in piling up the manmc is partly offset by the lessened amoirnt to be drawn, and its finer condition, which enables it to be more evenly distributed, and by its greater availablity. It is soniewhat strange that this principie has not been more gmierally reeognized. Farmers pay large amounts of money for commercial nianures, niainly because they are immediately available and easily istribnted. If they put more labor in compostiug their own home made stable manure, a part at least of this expense would not be needed. The farmer might himself compost the manure, and if he purchased commercial fertilizers, mix both, and thus get donble the immediate benefit from manuring that ]ae does now.