Manure Management Basics

    Manure Management Basics

    How Does Manure Management Help?

    Proper manure management benefits the producer as well as the rest of the ecosystem. Application of manures to the land at the proper time- using proper management techniques and in proper amounts- recycles the nutrients through the soil profile, reducing the expense of commercial (inorganic) fertilizers as well as the need to add organic matter. Proper manure management improves water quality by preventing pollutants such as nutrients, organics, and pathogens from migrating to surface and ground waters. Soil quality is also improved through the addition of organic material that increases the soil's water holding capacity. Likewise, air quality also benefits from reduced emissions of methane and ammonia compounds, as well as reduces odors. 

    The first step in manure management is knowing how much manure your animals will produce, and how you will handle it.

    How Much Manure do Different Types of Livestock Produce?

    Below is a table showing livestock type and the nutrients in total manure.

    Livestock Type

    Total Manure Nitrogen Phosphorus
    Beef 1 59.1 0.31  0.11
    Dairy 2 80.0  0.45  0.07
    Hogs and Pigs 3 63.1  0.42  0.16
    Chickens (layers) 60.5  0.83  0.31
    Chickens (broilers)  80.0  1.10  0.34
    Turkey  43.6  0.74  0.28
    (lbs/ day/ 1000-lb animal unit) 1 High Forage diet  2 Lactating Cow  3 Grower

    Source: Natural Resource Conservation Service, Agricultural Waste Management Handbook (1992).


    Additional Resources:

    Below are helpful publications on manure management basics. You can access this information by clicking on the blue title.

    Northeast Recycle Council Quick Reference Guide 

    Manure management calculations.

    Resources for Small Farms:

    Protecting Water Quality on Your Acreage

    Factsheet covering the importance of, and ways to, protect water quality.

    Manure Management in an Urban Setting

    Video on manure management for small scale livestock owners.

    How Much Manure Will My Animals Produce?

    Manure management calculations for small scale livestock owners.