Pig Manure For Compost: Can You Use Pig Manure For Gardens?

The question whether you can use pig manure for gardens is a common one among gardeners. There are many reasons why you might want to try it out. One reason could be if your soil isn’t fertile enough or you don’t have access to good quality organic fertilizers, which would make it impossible to grow plants that require high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus. Another reason could be because you’re trying to cut down on your carbon footprint and you’d like to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used during growing vegetables. And finally, there’s the fact that pigs produce methane gas, which is a powerful greenhouse gas. If you’ve ever wondered what effect it has on our atmosphere, then you’ll understand why using animal manure for gardening may not be such a bad idea.

So how does pig manure work in terms of gardening?

Well, let’s take a look at some of the facts about pig manure.

1) Pig Manure Is A Good Source Of Nitrogen And Phosphorus

As far as nitrogen and phosphorus go, pigs produce a lot of it. According to Wikipedia, “In the United States alone, livestock production accounts for approximately 13% of all agricultural land area (and 22% of total primary energy consumption), with meat production accounting for over half.” When it comes to nitrogen, “It is estimated that livestock provide between 70 and 80% of the annual worldwide supply of this nutrient.”

So how does this translate to you as a gardener?

Well, these elements are important for plant growth and development. Nitrogen’s most well-known role is in the production of amino acids. And when it comes to phosphorus, it helps with root development and plays a key role in photosynthesis. So if you’ve ever wondered why manure is such a potent fertilizer, it’s because of these elements.

2) Nitrogen Loss Is Minimized Through Proper Pig Manure Storage

The problem with using any kind of manure for your garden is that it contains a lot of nitrogen and if you use too much of it, you run the risk of losing a large amount of that nitrogen through leaching. Fortunately, pig manure happens to be quite beneficial in this regard as well. Due to the manner in which it’s stored by farmers, a large portion of the nitrogen is retained in the final product. It also helps that pig manure doesn’t have any kind of strong smell, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with that issue.

3) Pig Manure Actually Boosts Soil Fertility Over Time

It is a common misconception that animal manure will immediately boost soil fertility and then slowly decrease over time until nothing is left. However, a more accurate representation of this is that it will boost soil fertility for a few years, depending on how much you use, and then slowly taper off over time until it’s no longer effective.

Manures in general are usually teeming with different types of bacteria and other microorganisms which help break down the manure itself as well as the soil around it. This improves the soil structure and helps release nutrients into it so that plants can uptake them. Of course, the type of manure you’re using will determine just how long it lasts in terms of soil fertility, but pig manure happens to fall right in the middle.

4) There’s No Need To Treat It Before Adding It To The Soil

One of the common practices when it comes to using manure is to prepare it first before adding it to your garden. This usually means cooking it in order to remove the odor and kill off any potential pathogens that could be harmful to your plants. However, pig manure happens to be fine right out of the pile. In fact, you don’t even have to add that much of it before seeing benefits for your garden, so you can save yourself the hassle of treating it first.

5) It’s Easy To Find And Not Too Expensive

Do you know why most gardeners use chicken manure?

Sources & references used in this article:

Performance of phosphogypsum and calcium magnesium phosphate fertilizer for nitrogen conservation in pig manure composting by Y Li, W Luo, G Li, K Wang, X Gong – Bioresource technology, 2018 – Elsevier

Pig manure vermicompost as a component of a horticultural bedding plant medium: effects on physicochemical properties and plant growth by RM Atiyeh, CA Edwards, S Subler, JD Metzger – Bioresource technology, 2001 – Elsevier

Rapid production of maggots as feed supplement and organic fertilizer by the two-stage composting of pig manure by FX Zhu, WP Wang, CL Hong, MG Feng, ZY Xue… – Bioresource …, 2012 – Elsevier

Structure and activity of the denitrifying community in a maize-cropped field fertilized with composted pig manure or ammonium nitrate by C Dambreville, S Hallet, C Nguyen… – FEMS microbiology …, 2006 – academic.oup.com

… accumulation by the grasses Vetiveria zizanioides and Thysanolaena maxima in lead-contaminated soil amended with pig manure and fertilizer: a glasshouse study by P Rotkittikhun, R Chaiyarat, M Kruatrachue… – Chemosphere, 2007 – Elsevier

N2O emission in maize-crops fertilized with pig slurry, matured pig manure or ammonium nitrate in Brittany by C Dambreville, T Morvan, JC Germon – Agriculture, ecosystems & …, 2008 – Elsevier

Natural 15N abundances of maize and soil amended with urea and composted pig manure by WJ Choi, SM Lee, HM Ro, KC Kim, SH Yoo – Plant and Soil, 2002 – Springer

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