Compost manure is an excellent organic fertilizer used to improve the quality of most of the soil and also increase production. However, just as it has its advantages, it also has certain disadvantages which are explained below:
1) Exposure to Pathogens
Dangerous microbes could be present in fresh manure and so, fresh manure should be incorporated into the soil only when it has aged or perhaps, composted. If you are already planning to harvest your crops soon, then avoid applying fresh manure.
Also, fresh manure should never be stored next to produce storage or handling areas. If it comes in direct contact with foods, it could result in foodborne illnesses.
If your compost manure is stored instead of incorporating it into the soil, ensure that there is no runoff into sources of drinking water or areas of food production.
Equipment such as wheelbarrows, buckets, e.t.c which have been in contact with the manure should not touch produce that will be consumed raw.
2) Unknown Nutrient Composition
The amount of nitrogen in compost manure is dependent on the type of animal, how these animals are fed, the amount of bedding mixed with the manure and also, the methods used in collection and storage.
With compost manure, controlling the application rate can be difficult. Applying large amounts of fresh poultry manure to already fertile soil could result in excess nitrogen which could cause damages to the roots of young plants.
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3) High Salts Levels
Just like how salt is important for human needs and consumption, salt is also necessary for animal health. Most times, animals are fed more salt than required and this excess salt is excreted resulting in high salt levels in the manure.
This is evident in cattle raised in feedlots. Salt makes them consume more and also, drink more thus, allowing them to gain weight faster. The high salt levels of the compost manure can damage or kill the plants.
Also, the salt can get leached out in areas having high rainfall but may build up enough to pose a problem in drier areas.
4) Unpleasant Smell/ Odour
This is another major disadvantage of compost manure. Incorporating the manure into the soil will help in reducing the odour. However, this can only be done where the soil can be tilled.
If it’s for topdressing, you should compost the manure first as this will kill the pathogens and help to decree or eliminate the odour. There might be a need to tolerate the odour while it is in the decomposition process as this is one of the disadvantages of composting.
For faster composting and to control the odour, proper carbon/nitrogen ratios are important. For cow and chicken manure, there will be a need for added carbon which can be achieved by mixing equal amounts of manure and a high-carbon material such as leaves, straw, bedding, or sawdust. If the odour persists, add in more high-carbon material.
Compost manure has certain other disadvantages such as the release of certain gases like methane, ammonia, e.t.c which can affect the quality of the air.