This probably doesn’t need a definition, but animal feces are still the best way to improve the health of the soil. Manure contains nutrients for crops and also feeds micro-organisms and improves organic matter in the soil. Excess manure can cause environmental damage and so it is very important for farmers to apply manure at the right time of the year. Spreading manure on frozen ground in the late fall or in the winter can cause problems if it runs off in the spring thaw. One of the better ways to spread manure is onto a living crop like hay in the summer, or onto a cover crop, such as clover after wheat. Manure can also be injected into the soil to minimize risk of runoff, but if it is spread on the soil’s surface, it should be when there is no rain in the forecast and should be incorporated (tilled) into the soil within a few days. Livestock farms over a certain size have Nutrient Management Plans to mandate how manure is stored and the rate at which it is spread on fields.
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