Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 9

Farmyard Manure

Intensive cultivation of high yielding varieties of different crops requires application of

plant nutrients in large quantities. Supplying these nutrients from chemical fertilizers has got
certain limitations and inherent problems. Further, these chemical fertilizers can supply only a
few plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. Non-inclusion of organic manures
such as farmyard manure, compost, green manures, etc. in the manurial schedule have resulted
in the depletion of fertility status of the arable soils and their consequent degradation. Organic
manures, especially farmyard manure, have a significant role for maintaining and improving the
chemical, physical and biological properties of soils.
Farmyard manure is the oldest organic manure used by man ever since he involved in
farming. It consists of litter, waste products of crops mixed with animal dung and urine.
Therefore, it contains all the nutrient elements present in the plant itself and returns these
nutrients to the soil when it is applied to the field for the benefit of succeeding crop.
Farmyard manure consists of three main components namely litter, like straw, dung and
urine of animals. Composition of farmyard manure varies according to the composition of these
components and the proportion in which they are present. It also contains household wastes like
garbage and kitchen wastes.
1. Solid excreta
Solid excreta mainly consists of dung which is only partially digested by the animal. It
also contains living and dead bacterial cells which have nearly half the nitrogen of the dung. The
manurial value of solid excreta depends upon the quantity of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash,
while the quantity of these nutrients in dung depends upon several factors such as type, age,
breed and condition of the animal and nature of the food animals take.
The contents of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are highest in the poultry excreta,
therefore, it is richest among all. Sheep dung comes next to poultry dung but is poor in potash.
Cattle and buffalo dung contain the largest amount of water and are poorest in manurial
ingredients. Table 1 shows the nutrient value of different animals.
Table 1 : Average nutrient content of the dung of farm animals (% on original matter)

Organic matter
Mineral matter





The dung of a young growing animal is poor in manurial ingredients than that of an adult
animal. A working animal excretes dung of a richer quality than an animal at rest. Similarly the
dung of milking cow is poorer than that of a dry cow.

The nutrients voided in dung are not in available form. They all are intimately coupled
with complex organic substances. The nitrogen is found in insoluble proteins that have already
resisted (refuse to accept) digestion in the alimentary canal of animals and hence plants cannot
utilize it directly. Phosphorus is also combined with protein and some other insoluble organic
compounds. The dung, therefore, must undergo decomposition before these nutrients become
available to plants.
2. Liquid excreta
The urine is richer than dung in respect of nutrient contents but its phosphorus content
is low. Table 2 shows the average composition of urine of different farm animals.
Table 2 : Average nutrient content of urine of various animals (% on original matter)

Organic matter
Mineral matter




The composition of urine also depends on the type of animal, age, condition and the
nature and digestibility of food. Sheep urine, like its dung, is the richest in manurial ingredients.
Cattle urine are the poorest but the heavy quantity of cattle urine compensates for its low
nutrient value.
Dung contains greater amounts of phosphorus and lime than that in urine, while the
urine is richer in nitrogen and potash. When taken together dung provides nearly 55% of the
total nitrogen, almost the whole of phosphorus and about 30-35% of total potash excreted by an
animal. Using both dung and urine together makes a good manure.
3. Litter
The term litter is given to all those materials which are used in the cattle shed under the
animal at night as a bedding. Besides providing a dry bed and keeping the animal clean, it
absorbs urine. The functions of the litter can be briefly put as follows:
a. prevents loss of urine by absorbing and preserving in itself;
b. dilutes the animal excreta and facilitates their even distribution in the manure;
c. regulates the decomposition of the excreta and improves its physical and economical value;
d. prevents loss of nitrogen from excreta, especially from urine;
e. facilitates the collection of dung and urine; and
f. avoids inconvenience to animals arising due to too much fluctuation in the temperature of the
floor and also due to toughness and corrosiveness of the floor.
The proportion of litter to total manurial material influences the decomposition of the
mixture and the ultimate composition of the manure is produced. The litter of cereal crop should
not exceed 30-40% in the mixture, otherwise, it will hamper decomposition. But the litter of pulse
crop residues can be taken in greater amount.

Cereal straws are the most suitable material for use as litter. They have a high
absorptive and retentive capacity for both liquids and gases and contain small amount of
manurial ingredients. Straw in our country is valued more as cattle feed and is seldom used as
litter. Other farm wastes such as groundnut shells, rice husk, dry leaves etc, serve the same
purpose and may be used as litter instead of burning them. Even dry earth can be used as litter
mainly to absorb urine. The nutrient content of some of the materials which can be used as litter,
is shown in Table 3.
Table 3 : Average composition of common materials used as litter (percent on dry matter)






Wheat straw
Rice straw
Oat straw
Barley straw
Jowar straw
Bajra straw
Bean straw
Dry grass
Rice husk
Groundnut hulls
Saw dust










Some litters like sawdust and wood shaving have a high absorption capacity but their
decomposition is very slow because of very high contents of lignin and resin. Hence they should
be used very sparingly. Use of fine soil, like peat, as a litter can prove to be a very useful
practice. Peat also has a very high water absorption capacity and contains good amount of
nutrients which ultimately contributes to the quantity of manure produced.
Except peat, all other litter materials are organic materials. As a general rule, the
chemical composition of all the organic materials reveal the presence of some complex organic
substances like protein, sugars, cellulose, hemicellulose, starch, lignin, resin, fats, waxes etc.
These organic substances are made up of chiefly three elements namely carbon, hydrogen and
oxygen. Nitrogen is, however, an essential constituent of protein. Some proteins and
carbohydrates contain phosphorus and sulphur also.
III. Decomposition
To realize the maximum nutritional value, manurial materials should be given a
decomposition treatment prior to their application in the field. After collection of all the
ingredients they are mixed and stored in pits or heaps where they are allowed to decompose.
The process of decomposition is carried out by micro-organisms already present in dung, urine
and litter. The organisms mainly involved in decomposition are fungi, bacteria and
actinomycetes. During decomposition, original colour (yellow or green) is converted into brown
and ultimately dark brown or black colour. Its natural form changes into a colloidal, shiny, more

or less homogeneous material commonly known as humus. These complex insoluble organic
compounds are converted into simple ones. During decomposition, temperature in the pit goes
very high which kills many pathogens attached with original manurial ingredients. Foul odour is
also suppressed inside the pit.
In fact, the decomposition treatment of the original manurial components, only softens
the material and leaves them under decomposed. Complete decomposition of these materials
takes place after transferring the manure from pit or heap to the field. This treatment is,
however, very useful so as to facilitate rapid decomposition of manure in the field. Rapid
decomposition and rapid liberation of nutrients from the manure is desirable for crops, especially
short duration ones, in order to meet the nutrient requirement of the fast growing crop plants.
The end products of decomposition of an organic material are carbon dioxide, energy and
numerous soluble and insoluble chemical compounds. The letter ones, however, again undergo
biodegradation, ultimately yielding carbonmonoxide and energy. Meanwhile, many plant
nutrients are liberated which are absorbed by the plant roots and organisms themselves. After
death, organisms too undergo decomposition and follow the same steps as in case of any other
organic matter.
A. Factors affecting decomposition
As already stated decomposition of organic materials is done by micro-organisms. All
those factors which affect the number of activities of micro-organisms also affect the
decomposition of organic matter. The conditions essential for this is discussed briefly.
1. Proper food supply
The three main components viz. litter, dung and urine, themselves supply the necessary
food nutrients to the micro- organisms in the right type of nutrients in proper proportion. The
micro-organism work effectively and convert the complex organic constituents into simple
mineral substance which can be utilized by the plant. Mainly there are two types of compounds,
nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous that make up the mixture. Some of the nitrogenous
compounds are soluble but the majority are insoluble. The nitrogenous compounds mainly
consist of proteins already present in dung and litter. Urine on the other hand contains soluble
nitrogenous compounds chiefly in the form of urea, uric acid and ammonium salts. The nonnitrogenous substances consist of various carbohydrates, (sugar, starch, hemicellulose etc.),
fats, waxes, resins and lignin. Hemicellulose, cellulose and lignin constitute the major portion
and are present to the extent of 60- 70% in dung and 70-90% in litter. However, these
compounds are absent and nitrogenous compounds are dominant in urine. Remaining major
portion of urine is water.
The litter of high or wide C:N ratio (i.e. proportion of carbon to nitrogen) like sawdust is
very resistant to microbial attack and its high proportion in manurial material inhibits
decomposition. Micro- organisms need carbon and nitrogen for their own body synthesis and
the C:N ratio of their body is near 10:1. The most suitable C:N ratio of manurial material is 30: 1
to 40: 1. Beyond that, the rate of decomposition is very slow. The C:N ratio of cattle dung varies
from 20-25:1. The C:N ratio of poultry excreta is very low i.e. 5-10:1 indicating the high presence
of nitrogen. The C:N ratio of urine is extremely narrow ranging between 1: lto 2:1 for most farm
animals. In case of liner it varies according to the source. Cereal straw have C:N ratio between
50:1 to 80:1 while in legume straws it is very narrow being around 20: 1. If the litter material is
poor in nitrogen or, in other words, too rich in carbon, its C:N ratio will be wide and biological
activity diminishes. Several successions or cycles of I~ organisms may be required to degrade
this material.

2. Moisture
A proper amount of moisture is essential for smooth functioning of micro-organisms. In
the beginning manurial material should contain 55-60% moisture which diminishes to 25-30% in
the finished product The material containing large quantities of straw or similar fibrous
substances can retain greater quantities of water. But if it contains largely of me materials like
chaff which get soggy or compact on wetting, it is better to keep less moisture in the beginning.
Excess of moisture prevents the temperature from rising high and retards decomposition,
resulting in loss of a part of the soluble plant nutrients through leaching and volatilization.
In the absence of sufficient moisture microbial activity ceases and the decomposition
practically comes to an end. More often it is the lack of moisture rather than an excess of
moisture which is responsible for the poor quality of manure prepared in the country. Addition of
sufficient moisture in the beginning and its conservation by storing the manure or preparing the
manure in pits is the only way to keep the microbial activity going on.
3. Aeration
The decomposition of organic residues is brought about by two types of micro-organisms
aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic micro-organisms function only in the presence of oxygen and
the anaerobic ones in the complete absence of oxygen. However, the major portion of organic
matter is decomposed in the presence of oxygen. Therefore, a good aeration for decomposition
is very rapid while anaerobic decomposition is very slow but regular. For example, for
decomposition of organic residues, both kinds of decomposition is necessary. While filling the
pit, the material should not be compact or it should not be watered too much to inhibit proper
aeration. This will ensure aerobic conditions in the centre of the pit. Even in a heap where
decomposition is predominantly aerobic, anaerobic fermentation takes place. In aerobic
decomposition a large quantity of carbon dioxide (CO,) is liberated inside the pit which occupies
all the open pore spaces and does not allow oxygen to diffuse into these pore spaces. In this
situation anaerobic micro-organisms get a chance to function and anaerobic decomposition
takes place. Anaerobic condition, however, should not allow to last too long in the pit. Therefore,
turning of the manurial material of the pit should be done after 40-60 days of filling. Most of the
microbial processes are oxidative and, hence, a free supply of oxygen is necessary.
4. Temperature
In the process of decomposition, organic residues in the pit are oxidised and a large amount of
energy is liberated in the oxidation process. Some amount of energy is utilized by microorganisms to carry out their life-processes while a major portion of energy liberated is converted
into heat. Due to this heat, temperature inside the heap goes as high as even 60- 700c. The
high temperature destroys "eed seeds, maggots, worms, pathogen etc, prevents breeding of
insects pests and makes the manure safe from hygienic point of view. But at the same time,
organic matter decomposers also suffer badly at the temperature beyond 6()OC. Only a few
heat- resistant (thermophyllic) bacterial species are left for decomposition. Turning the pit
however avoids this problem also.
5. Reaction
The term reaction refers to condition of acidity and alkalinity of a material and expressed
in terms of pH. Every organism functions in a certain pH range and majority of them function at
pH 7 which indicates a neutral reaction. In the process of decomposition, especially in an
aerobic decomposition a large amount of organic acids are liberated which if allowed to
accumulate retard fermentation and sometimes even stop it completely. Hence, it is necessary
to control the reaction of the material and keep it in the pH range of 7 to 7.5. Application of lime
or limestone or wood ash counteract acidity. In FYM, household ashes are often used. In that

case there is no use of applying lime in the manure pit. Limestone should be used at the rate of
5 kg per 100 kg manurial material while preparing synthetic farmyard manure in which
ammonium sulphate is also applied. Addition of soil instead of limestone can also serve the
purpose. Fine soil has a capacity to suppress these effect of acidity created due to
decomposition of organic residues.
IV. Loss of Nutrients
There are seventeen nutrients known to be essential for plant growth and development
Any organic residue which has been derived from plants must contain all these nutrients even if
in minute amount. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potash are the major nutrients required by the
crops in large amounts. Therefore, the manurial value of any fertilising material in general is
assessed in terms of its nitrogen, phosphorus and potash contents.
Solid excreta and urine have their indirect origin from plants. Forages eaten by cattle
pass through digestive canal of animals and the undigested and underdigested portion of food is
excreted as dung and urine. While preparing farmyard manure attempt is made to retain
maximum amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. However, the complete retention is
impossible and certain amount of nutrients are inevitably lost. Loss of carbon, hydrogen and
oxygen through CO" other gasses and vapour is inevitable. On the other hand it is desirable
also, in order to get reduced volume of original manurial material containing greater percentage
of nitrogen, phosphorus and potash. It is estimated that about half of the nitrogen and potash
and 30% of the phosphorus are lost from the original manurial materials even when the manure
is stored and preserved very carefully.
The loss of nitrogen begins right from the cattle shed as the urine is allowed to waste by
not using litter for its proper collection. In kuchcha floor much of the urine soaks into the ground
or flows away for want of proper collection arrangement. A part of the urine can be relieved if the
floor is dug from time to time and the moist earth returned to the manure pit. A better procedure
would be to cover it with loose earth so that it absorbs urine readily and to remove urinecontaining earth periodically to the pit. The best thing is to use any organic litter in order to avoid
possibility of too much wetting in the case of loose earth. In dairy where a large number of cows
and buffaloes are kept, cattle shed should be made pucca. Pucca floor slightly slopes towards a
common drain which is connected with a cistern located towards one side of the cattle shed.
From cistern the urine is taken away and spread on the dung in pit or heap. The role of loss of
nitrogen in the form of ammonia gas is higher from pucca floor and from the surface of open
cisterns. Use of gypsum or rock phosphate on floor can be justified in big dairy farms. These
materials absorb ammonia and prevent its escape. Cistern should be covered or soil spread on
Another kind of loss of nitrogen takes place when the manure pile is made very compact
or gets water-logged due to excess water. Both these conditions should be avoided. Yet another
reason of loss of nitrogen is through leaching in the form of liquid that oozes out from manure
heap or pit. This liquid contains not only soluble nitrogen but also phosphorus and potash. The
oozing of the liquid is very often due to over-watering. The loss can be reduced if the liquid is
collected as it comes out and spreads over the material or applied directly to the field after
mixing in water. Manure prepared in the pits provided with a cemented floor and suitable outlets
to drain out excess water accumulating in the bottom, helps to reduce the loss. The loss can
also be minimized by adding more litter or vegetable refuse to absorb excess water. Pits should
be dug at elevated sites where rainwater does not accumulate. Heaping the manure in open air
results in loss of nitrogen as ammonia. High temperature and blowing, further aggravate the

Use of Farmyard Manure

Farmyard manure is a good source of nutrients for all types of crops and soil. In order to
be of real utility there must be adequate moisture in the soil and sufficient time must be allowed,
(about 3-4 i weeks) before sowing, for the plant nutrients to be convened into an: assimilable
form. On the other hand, it should also not be applied too early before sowing as some of the
plant nutrients may be lost by leaching in rainy season and by volatilization in summer.
The present practice of heaping the manure in field in small piles, before mixing, as
exercised by the farmers frequently in our country, is a faulty practice. Soon after its arrival in
the field, farmyard manure should be spread evenly over the field surface and immediately
mixed with the help of a plough or harrow.
The gobar-gas slurry obtained as leftover after dung has passed through the tank, can
be used within one week of sowing of crop. Gobar-gas slurry undergoes decomposition while in
the tank. Waste material is taken out from the side opening of the pit and, after moistening can
be applied directly to the field. Gobar-gas slurry can correctly be used as activator in farmyard
manure pits and compost pits as it contains a large population of micro-organisms and is very
rich in available nutrients.
The amount of FYM required is largely governed by : environmental factors. Certain
other factors like fertilizing history of the field, cropping pattern followed, availability of Water and
type of crop and variety to be sown also influence the dose of FYM needed. For crops grown in
dry areas where the rainfall is less than 76 cm,7 to 12 can-loads of manure per hectare are
sufficient. When sufficient farmyard manure is not available, it may be applied to a pan of the
field, say one-third or one fourth of the area, every year, so that it covers the whole field within
three of four years. The dose may be increased to 20-25 can-loads in areas of heavier rainfall.
For irrigated crops or in areas of very heavy rainfall the dose may be increased to 40-60 canloads per hectare depending upon the availability of the manure.
VII. Manurial Value of Farmyard Manure
On an average a well-decomposed farmyard manure contains 0.5% nitrogen, 0.2%
phosphorus and 0.5% potash. Based on this analysis, an average dressing of 25 tonnes of FYM
per hectare supplies 112 kg of nitrogen, 56 kg of phosphorus and 112 kg of potash. These
quantities are not fully available to the crops in the year of application. Nitrogen is very slow
acting and hardly 20-30% is available to the first crop. For short duration crops, availability is still
lower. Nearly half of the phosphorus and 60% of potash are available to the immediate crop
which are much short of crop requirement However, the amount of nutrients supplied is of
crucial value in our country where majority of the farmers cannot afford to use recommended
doses of fertilizers. On the other hand FYM also supplies some essential micronutrients which
sometimes become limiting factors of crop yield. NPK contents of the FYM are shown in table 5.
Table 4: Nutrient contents or FYM

Nitrogen (N)
Phosphorus (P2O5)
Potash (K2O)

% content

The ability of the farmyard manure to supply humus to the soil makes its use
unavoidable. This job cannot be done by chemical fertilizers. Because of tropical climate in our
country organic matter and humus are rapidly decomposed and soils are frequently deficient in
humus. To build up a desired level of humus, organic manures must be applied to the field. In
the wake of this problem farmyard manure owes a great and everlasting value.
VIII. Impact of Farmyard Manure on Soil Properties
For the convenience of study, soil properties are divided in to three broad categories
namely physical properties, chemical properties and biological properties. The effect of FYM
application on these different properties is briefly discussed here.
1. Impact on physical properties
The organic matter supplied to soil through farmyard manure accelerates the formation
of granular or crumbly structure of the soil. This is the best structure supporting the plant growth
successfully. The soils having too much of sand or clay are not productive. These kinds of soil
can be amended by a generous application of farmyard manure. In sandy soils, organic matter
helps the granulation of particles thereby enhancing water and nutrient retaining capacity of
these soils. A humus particle itself can retain as much water as 100 times of its own weight.
The clayey soils are, however, very compact and heavy to work. Aeration is often poor in
these soils. Humus lightens these soils and improves aeration. Too high a density of compact
clayey soils is reduced by application of organic matter through FYM and consequently aeration
is improved. The density of organic matter itself is very low and its mixture with soil virtually
reduces the density of soil.
Humus imparts grey brown or slightly black colour to soil and thereby helps the soil to
absorb greater amount of radiation. Radiation is necessary to maintain appropriate temperature
of the soil. Besides, humus also resists too much fluctuation in soil temperature.
2. Impact on chemical properties
Application of farmyard manure brings about a rapid increase in chemical activities of the
soil. During decomposition of organic manure, numerous organic acids are released or
synthesized. The carbon dioxide liberated during decomposition dissolves in water to form
hydrocarbonic acid. The soil solution becomes acid for a short period and helps in the
solubilisation of native nutrients attached with the soil minerals. These nutrients become
available to plants. On the other hand, manure itself liberates a large amount of nitrogen,
phosphorus, potash and other micro-nutrients during the course of its decomposition. All these
nutrients can also be availed by the plants that are otherwise kept reserved for later use.
Organic matter supplied by the manure develops buffering capacity in the soil. It
suppresses the effect of acidity or alkalinity or plant growth. Saline and alkali soils can be
amended by continuous application of farmyard manure for years.
3. Impact on biological properties
Soil is a habitat of numerous organisms. They feed on organic matter applied to the soil.
Application of farmyard manure is immediately followed by a marked increase in microbial

population of the soil. A healthy microbial pollination is essential for the important bio-chemical
changes taking place in the soil.
The cycles that permit nutrients to flow from soil to plant are all interdependent and
proceed only with the help of the living organisms that constitute the soil community. Their
presence is essential for a healthy soil eco-system. Organic matter assists the micro-organisms
to flourish and carry out necessary changes in the soil.