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Slurry and manures provide a valuable source of organic matter and crop nutrients for the farm business.  Rich in N (nitrogen), P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) and other trace elements, they can save you money when nutrient value is considered as part of the farm nutrient budget and applied in line with the needs of the growing crop.

However, livestock slurry, manure or effluents from the farm steading can be highly polluting if mis-managed. This pollution can affect both inland, coastal and groundwaters plus air quality leading to long lasting impacts on our environment and affect human health.

Good practice around slurry management minimises loss of nitrogen from the slurry and maximises nutrient uptake by a crop following targeted application.  The nutrient content of slurry applied to land must be accounted for and balanced against applications from bagged fertilisers to achieve target yields, reducing oversupply and potential for losses.  There is more detail on this in Know the Rules Factsheet 8 Organic Fertiliser Application.

Examples of good nutrient management include:

  • Covering slurry stores.
  • Application using low emission/precision application techniques.
  • Nutrient management planning; including soil testing results, nutrients in organic fertilisers and crop requirement.
  • Timely application; in line with the needs of the growing crop and at a time when there is low risk of leaching.
  • Ensure application is carried out in suitable conditions; appropriate weather conditions, avoid waterlogged soil, erosion.

Further information