University of Maryland Extension

Manure as a Natural Resource: Alternative Management Opportunities (EB-420)

anaerobic digestion

A new publication (EB-420) is available from University of Maryland Extension. Manure as a Natural Resource: Alternative Management Opportunities is written as an overview of some existing technologies. Many new ideas are proposed for the region, and understanding the science behind them is imperative to deciding which option you may want to follow.

Manure, as a source of organic matter and plant nutrients, is an excellent conditioner for soils. It is a component of agronomic production, cycling nutrients between soils, plants and livestock. However, in areas where limited land is available for application, excess soil nutrients can lead to water quality issues. Local restrictions on manure application necessitate finding alternative uses. The simplest method is to transport manure to nutrient-deficient land. Manure can be composted into a higher-quality fertilizer or have the nutrients extracted and sold separately. Manure also has an energy value, and where feasible, anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, or gasification could be options.

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