Main research question/goal
In this project we aim to enhance the possibilities for applying organic chicken manure on Flemish organic farms. To this end, a number of chicken manure composting techniques have been refined. Furthermore we studied how the use of straw-rich goat manure from a deep litter housing system could be optimized through appropriate treatment of the stockpiled material. Optimal use of the existing supply of organic manure forms a crucial link in the evolution towards a 100% organic cycle. The question is how big and qualitative that supply is, and whether treatment of manure prior to application could improve its quality. The overall idea is to facilitate plant growth and development, and to aim toward better crop health and higher soil quality.Research approach
Both a desktop study and practical research are performed within this project. The desktop study provides information on the availability, origin, marketing and use of different types of manure on organic farm enterprises. The practical activities concern the treatment of manure in a set of compost trials as well as setting up a fertilization trial for vegetables. All of this was related to farm management and the legislative context.Relevance/Valorisation
Organic farmers are facing big challenges. Are there enough organic inputs available at the right times? Can the fertilization regime be optimized within the framework of the current rules and regulations concerning nutrient application? How about the balance between the different organic sectors, the practical applicability of different manure types, manure composition, contacts between supplier and demander? All of these questions call for continuous knowledge development. Before the next steps can be taken in practice, one must understand the current situation and to evaluate the possibilities of manure treatment, including composting.