Using manure improves soil health compared to synthetic fertilizer

Photo Credit: Chafer

Using organic fertilizers like manure instead of synthetic, conventional fertilizer can have a beneficial impact on multiple measures of soil health, according to a new study published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.  A research team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied two fields in South Dakota over 12 years, comparing the application of manure and synthetic fertilizer on plots growing corn and soybeans. They found that manure helped keep the soil pH from being too acidic, increased soil organic carbon at multiple soil depths, increased total nitrogen in the soil, and increased the soil’s ability to withstand erosion. Researchers concluded “that the long-term annual application of manure improved selected soil properties compared to that of inorganic fertilizer.”