Manure application in organic production

RDH rdhopkins at
Wed Jul 31 12:02:04 EDT 2002

The NOP's require a certified organic grower to take precautions when using
animal manures as fertilizer.  There is nothing to prevent a conventional
grower from using animal manure (or other manures) any way they see fit.
Even if a law exists, who is checking?

If the particulars for the use of animal manure are so critical to organic
production from a food safety stand point, then organic food should be
deemed much safer to consume than conventional food.  We will see this one
on the industrial labels in the future even though no research exists today
that proves this in black and white.

According to the NOP, uncomposted manures can be applied to cropland which
is not to be used for human consumption.  What crops don't end up in the
food chain?  Does it seem prudent to spread uncomposted manure on forage
crops when we know that is how the parasite cycle is maintained?

The NOP says that animal manures must be incorporated into the soil on
croplands used for human food unless it is composted.  So we can only use a
no-till planting method on lands to which properly composted animal manures
are applied.  I guess that lets out the old way of grazing crop residue in a
food production system.

Nature has its own method of incorporating manures into the soils when
applied by animals.  The dung beetles, earthworms, and other macro/micro
organisms relocate the nutrients in the manure into the soil.  Has anyone
checked the pathogens on animal applied manures in a grazing operation?  It
appears that the originators of the NOP have assumed that the same pathogens
exist in all manure.  If anyone can provide a study on this I would like a
copy for my "what is bugging me today" file.

In summary it appears to me that the NOP's do not address the use of
livestock for grazing crop residue in a no-till planting system.

Rick Hopkins
American Pasturage, Inc.
P.O. Box 190
Marionville, MO  65705
(417) 258-2394
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