The manure problems—pollution and contamination—that I reviewed in my last post occupy the first part of this podcast, and if that were all we covered, you too might be inclined to crawl under your desk and stay there.
A quick recap: Rather to the surprise of many an organic gardener, even organic manures can cause problems: phosphorus can contaminate surface water, while nitrogen can leak into ground water and can also form nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times as powerful as carbon dioxide.
Not to mention the metals and pharmaceuticals in conventional manures.
Fortunately, my guest Frank Larney is able to propose almost ludicrously simple solutions for many of these problems. What’s complicated, it turns out, is the economics, and what’s difficult is making these simple solutions—composting manure, turning it into the soil, using less in some places and more in others—economically viable.
Frank Larney, Soil scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada, in Lethbridge, Alberta.
An expert in soil conservation, Frank has worked with animal feed operations, holds seminars around the continent on composting manures and other sustainable practices.
Larney, F., Xiying Hao, and Edward Topp. “Manure Management.” Ch 16 of Soil Mangement: Building a Stable Base for Agriculture. Hatfield, Jerry L. & Thomas J Sauer, Eds.
Larney,F. & H. Henry Janzen. “Use of Manure for Restoring Soil Productivity,” from the province of Alberta’s Manure Management Update 2011 conference. Can be downloaded in PDF form as both an article and a power-point presentation.
Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs. Ad Hoc committee on Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations, Committee on Animal Nutrition, National Research Council. National Academy of Sciences, 2003.