Effect of method of storing cattle faeces on the physical and chemical characteristics of the resultant composted cattle manure
Bekunda, A. Mateete
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The growing population of dairy cows in urban and peri-urban areas coupled with improvement in feeding is generating more manure, which if properly conserved can become an input to crop/fodder production. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the method of storing faeces excreted by cows fed on Pennisetum purpureum–legume foliage diets affects the manuring quality of the resultant manure. Four diets comprising sole Pennisetum fodder, Pennisetum + Calliandra, Pennisetum + Centrosema and Pennisetum + Desmodium were fed to cows. Faeces excreted were subjected to four methods of storage for three months as follows: Placing faeces in pits and covering with soil (T1), wrapping faeces in polythene sheets and placing them in pits (T2), placing faeces in pits and leaving the pits open (T3), and stockpiling faeces on open flat ground (T4). Composts derived from faeces subjected to T3 and T4 methods exhibited maturity. Apart from nitrogen in the compost derived from faeces of cows supplemented with Calliandra, the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium concentrations in all the composts significantly declined. Organic matter losses from composts got from T3 and T4 were significantly greater than that of T2. It was concluded that storing cow’s faeces using T3 method would be the most appropriate and low-cost management intervention for improving cattle manure nutrient conservation.