Project Delivery: Wheatbelt NRM, Living Farm
Contact: Tracey Hobbs
Website: Wheatbelt NRM Website
Start Date: 2014 End Date: 2016
Site ID: SA00020SA1
Area (Ha): 0.1
This project will trial whether chicken manure (with or without additives) can be used as a nitrogen source for growing broadacre grain crops, substituting traditional inorganic fertiliser.
Cropping farmers are increasingly looking towards cheap, alternative, more organic fertiliser options. A good opportunity for them is to utilise the waste associated with poultry farming (including chicken manure and the bedding material derived from waste forest products and thinnings).
The primary outcome of this trial is to show that chicken manure (with or without additives) can be used as a nitrogen source for growing broadacre grain crops (substituted for traditional inorganic fertiliser). A secondary outcome will be to assess the effect or otherwise of combining Biochar produced from forestry thinnings with the manure.
Outside of the direct benefits of its use as fertiliser for the Avon Valley Basin there are three major outcomes:
- it will act as a market for currently non-utilised forestry products and thinnings;
- it will assist in the disposal of chicken manure and bedding;
- it will return some of these nutrients and carbon back into the regions where they were originally sourced from.
In this trial:
There was no effect on plant establishment between any of the treatments
Crop vigour was increased through the application of Phosphorus and Potassium (P + K) Starter fertilizer. With Manure based treatments showing equivalent vigour to the Sulphate of Ammonia (SOA).
Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) reflectance was increased through the application of P + K Starter fertilizer, with no significant difference between treatments applied before or after sowing.
Crop yield results reflected vigour and NDVI data.
All treatments containing P + K Starter were significantly higher yielding than treatments containing no starter and the untreated control.
Manure and Manure/Char/Urea treatments showed equivalent yield results to SOA treatments.
Significant differences in protein concentrations were identified between the treatments. These differences appear to be related to yield- with the higher yielding plots showing lower protein levels