Manure Standards project worked with altogether 94 animal farms around the Baltic Sea. The methods for manure data generation – sampling and analysis and farm-level mass balance calculation – were tested in practice. Both were found to have their pros and cons.
A farm-level calculation tool was prepared for cattle, pig and poultry farms with the most important animal categories and manure types included. The Excel-based tool and a manual for its use is now available for anyone to use and to develop further, if improved suitability for national production conditions is needed.
Dowload the tool and its manual by clicking the links:
Guidelines for representative sampling and recommendations for manure analysis in laboratories were published on the results page of the project already earlier.
The experiences gained when using these guidelines and tools on the pilot farms are now collected into a report: Manure data collection – Experiences from pilot farms
The most important findings for sampling were that the farmers are often pressed with time close to the season of manure spreading on fields and this may lower the precision of sampling. Long mixing and taking many subsamples may seem too much of a work and the sampling is done in haste. Experts assisting in or responsible for sampling are not available in many countries. Also, taking the sample just prior to spreading does not allow for immediate analysis results, but an earlier result will be used as the basis of fertilization planning.
With the farm-level calculation tool, the results are highly dependent on the input data available on the farm. In many cases, the data available was insufficient causing clear error in the results. However, if the tool is used with an expert assisting with their knowhow, the results may prove very good and provide a good foundation for fertilization planning. Also, if such a tool would be used in a country, the farms would need more information especially on the animal feed to use the tool effectively.
Often a combination of the two methods might prove the best for individual farms in measuring manure quantity and nutrient content.