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The benefits of organic manures for tillage farmers

Organic manures can supply a badly needed source of carbon to tillage soils according to Mark Plunkett, a Soils and Plant Nutrition Specialist in Teagasc on the latest Tillage Edge podcast.

Mark told Michael Hennessy that a typical dressing of 20 tonnes per hectare of farm yard manure will supply 300 kg/ha of carbon to the soil.  As slurries contain more water their carbon contribution is much lower.

Mark stressed the biological benefits of organic manures to revitalise soils by improving nutrient cycling and feeding the flora and fauna such as fungus, bacteria, nematodes and earthworms.  Where all of these components are functioning correctly, crops tend to be more resilient during periods of stress (wet weather or drought) and can give higher yields.

Organic manures can replace up to 50% of the chemical fertiliser applied to spring crops and are a direct replacement to the chemical fertiliser in most cases.  Mark maintained that most slurries can be transported up to 15 kilometres but recommends discussing this with the slurry producer to source the most efficient transport type.

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