waste to worth

Training manual on manure management in the tropics closes knowledge gap

[Italy/The Netherlands]

Extension workers in the tropics often lack the knowledge to advise farmers on proper manure management. A new training manual with focus on the tropics and subtropics closes this important knowledge gap. Good manure management is essential in recycling nutrients and organic matter for healthy and productive soils. It enhances food security while reducing emissions to the environment. The manual covers the proper handling of livestock manure throughout the whole manure chain from collection to application and was compiled by the Livestock and Manure Management Component (LMMC) of the Agriculture Initiative of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which is led by Wageningen UR Livestock Research and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.

Concerted action

Having identified a general lack of knowledge about the value of livestock manure and integrated manure management at multiple levels in governments and society, a concerted action of the LMMC partners led to the compilation of a training manual for extension workers on manure management in the (sub-)tropics. Covering the whole manure chain, from animal excretion to treatment and storage up to the final application to crops, the manual describes the basic principles of integrated manure management. The manual focusses on farm practices in the tropics and subtropics. The manual entitled ‘Manure Management in the (Sub-)Tropics; Training Manual for Extension Workers’ has been published as Livestock Research Report 919 of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre) Livestock Research.

Integrated Manure Management

The livestock housing system mainly determines the consistency of the manure e.g. whether dung is mixed with urine, flush water, bedding material or feed left-overs. This also implies that proper, integrated manure management is always site-specific, depending on local circumstances. Manure, being a valuable source of crop nutrients, organic matter and renewable energy; is key in maintaining soil health and productivity; and hence is key in improving food security. Integrated manure management is essential in all livestock systems because it ensures an optimal use of these sources. Poorly managed manure loses nutrients and organic matter, causing environmental and climate problems as well as public health issues; and increases the need for substitutional (expensive) synthetic fertilizers.