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Dairy Farming Manual

Volume 2

Husbandry Unit 1.2
Compost Manure

page 23

Extension Materials
 What should you know about compost manure?
What is compost manure? (5-8)

1 You should know:
- what makes compost manure
- its value as a manure for plants.

Why use compost manure? (9-22)

2 Reasons for using compost manure are:
- it provides nutrients but is cheaper than fertilizer
- it is easy to handle and improves health and hygiene on your farm.

How can you make compost manure?(23-30)

3 You should know how to:
- make a frame
- fill it with manure and straw

Important points about compost manure(31-36)

4 You should know:
- how to save urine and manure
- the best mixture for your heap
- when your compost manure is ready for use.

page 24

What is compost manure?
5 Compost manure is:
- plant matter such as straws and forages which you do not use (residues) mixed with animal manure
- you can also add kitchen waste
- covered with straw to protect against the rain
- left for a few months
- micro-organisms break down the plant matter and manure and it becomes like humus
- and the compost manure gives nutrients easily to plants.

page 25

Why use compost manure?
9 Nutrients: it provides nutrients. 10 kg of manure contain:
- nitrogen N : 50 g
- phosphorus P : 25 g
- potassium K : 50 g
It also provides magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), sulphur (S) and copper (Cu) and returns organic matter to the earth.
10 If you have 2 cows, you get
- 50 kg of manure each day (25 kg each cow)
- 1,500 kg of manure each month
- 18,000 kg of manure each year
You also get manure from your calves.
11 This manure contains:
1 month 7.5 3.8 7.5 kg
1 year 90.0 45.0 90.0 kg
- and after mixing and storing with plant matter, more nutrients are available from the broken down plant matter as well.

page 26

13 Economy: it saves you money. Fertilizers are expensive.
For example:
100 kg of urea cost 500 mu
100 kg of triple superphosphate
cost 800 mu
14 In one year, your 18 tons of compost manure from 2 cows has the same nutrients as 200 kg of urea and 100 kg of triple superphosphate.
15 You can spread your compost manure twice a year on 6-7 rai of cash and forage crops:
- you do not need to buy chemical fertilizer.
16 How much money do you save?

page 27

17 Health and hygiene

It improves hygiene and health.
This farmer leaves manure near the milking barn:
- flies and parasites breed, bacteria multiply and it smells bad
- he cannot keep his animals clean and dry
- he cannot produce clean milk.

18 This farmer removes the manure and makes compost manure:

- he has clean, dry and healthy animals
- he produces clean milk.

page 28

19 Ease of handling

It is easier to handle than fresh manure and improves the soil.
If you use only straw for compost, it is too loose and airy.

  20 If you use only manure for compost, it is too wet and heavy.
21 Cow manure and straw make a good compost manure and also kitchen waste.

-allows air to enter so the micro-organisms can break down the manure
-absorbs urine and helps to keep it in the compost.

22 Good compost manure improves the soil's:
- fertility
- texture
- ability to hold water.

page 29

How can you make compost manure?
You can make compost manure in a heap. This is simple but you waste a lot of material.
You can also make compost manure in a shallow pit. You waste less material but removal of the compost manure is difficult.
Make a frame.

1.   You need many pieces of bamboo, wood or other building material
     - 1.5 m long.
2.   Nails or string for fixing.

page 30

How can you fill the frame?
24 Spread a thick layer (25 cm) of straw in the bottom of the first box.
25 Fill manure evenly on top of straw (until the manure covers the straw).

26 Spread a new, thinner layer of straw (10 cm) over the manure again.
Mix the straw by fork into the manure.

27 Keep on filling up the frame with layers of manure and straw.
Make sure there is no thick layer of manure or straw, where the two are not mixed together.

page 31

28 You can fill the first box in a few months.
Cover the heap with straw to protect against rain.
Leave for at least 4-6 weeks before using.
29 Fill up the second box in the same way while you use material from the first box.
When can you use the compost manure?
30 The compost manure becomes warm and begins to break down.
You can use it after 2 months if it is the planting season and you need it as fertilizer.
After 6-8 months it is like humus and this is the best time to use it.
You can use it after 8 months but it gets weaker with age.

page 32

31 If the heap is too wet and compact, it will not break down:
- add more straw.
 32 If the heap is too dry and loose, it will not break down:
- add water.
33 If you allow urine to run away, you lose nitrogen and potassium:
- you can put dry straw or dry soil in the gutter to absorb the urine
- bring the manure and the soil or straw soaked with urine to the heap

page 33

- add the mixture to the top of the heap
- make sure you have enough straw in the heap to absorb the urine
- cover the heap with a layer of straw.
36 Do not leave manure in the air and sunlight:
- it will lose nitrogen.
 page 34

What do you know about compost manure?
Compost manure plant matter 
animal manure 
                                                   - kept dry
- left for few months
Reasons for using compost manure
plant nutrients (9-12) Economy (13-16) Health/hygiene (17-18) Handling (19-22)
- organic   matter
- nitrogen
- phosphorus
- potassium
- magnesium
- sulphur
- copper
Compost manure
from 2 cows yields:
- 200 kg urea
- 100 kg phosphate


Cleaner milk results from:
- cleaner barn
- less flies, bacteria and parasites


- easier to handle than fresh manure
- better structure for soil


Making compost manure
1    Prepare materials                                                                                                    (23)
      - wood/bamboo, nails/string
2    Make frame at correct height
Filling frame 
Saving urine and manure
Add alternate layers of straw and manure
Mix each layer carefully
Check moisture and looseness
Cover with straw when full to keep dry
Using compost manure
Use compost manure from one box while filling second
Compost manure is best 3-6 months after making
Important points
Dryness and compaction
Conserving urine 
Conserving nitrogen 
page 35

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