Animal waste, or manure, may be one of the oldest fertilizers in the book. People began farming over 10,000 years ago, and we’ve been using manure to help grow the best crops for much of that time. But just because manure is one of the first forms of fertilizer discovered by people doesn’t make it the best option now. Manure comes with a host of problems — some old and some new, and it’s becoming increasingly clear, that both worm castings and composts made mostly of plant matter may be the better options.
There’s a reason people invented plumbing. Beyond the smell, manure from all animals can be a source of pathogens. The organisms living in manure can cause illness in people directly or contaminate the growing foods; manure can also provide a home for food spoilage organisms, like flies and rodents. This has led to government policies mandating how many days must pass between manure being applied to crops and the harvest. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example states that no raw manure can be used on organic crops within 90-120 days of harvest, depending on whether the edible portion of the plant is not in contact with the soil (corn) or is in contact with the soil (carrots).
Antibiotic & Pesticide Residue.
It should come as no surprise that much of the hay and grass consumed by cattle and other ranch animals is sprayed with pesticide. What you may not know is how these pesticides are made safe for the animals. They’re made to not interact with animal bodies; in fact the chemicals are made to pass through the digestive system, so they’re still present and unaltered in the manure. This has led to an increase of problems for gardeners in the last few years.
For example, the herbicide aminopyralid has been identified as distorting and stunting the growth of vegetables and crops in the UK. Aminopyralid stays in an animal’s system for up to a year, and it can be extremely difficult to track whether the straw eaten by the animals who are producing your manure was sprayed with this herbicide. What is certain is aminopyralid is also used in Canada, and it may just be a matter of time until Canadians see the same problems.
A 2007 study from the University of Minnesota also found that many foods have been accumulating antibiotics. These crops were grown in soil spread with animal manure that contained these drugs.
Understandably, the risk of illness, antibiotic contamination, and pesticide residue has many Calgary landscapers and homeowners thinking twice about what sort of fertilizers they should be working with. Our team at Soil Kings have the answer.
Our Compost is made in coordination with the City of Calgary’s composting program. The city collects all types of waste in its green bin, and the wastes are aged to create a rich, nutrient-packed fertilizer that helps plants of all types to thrive. Large animal waste is not included in the Calgary composting program, so you can be certain that our composts will help your plants to prosper with no risk of illness or unwanted chemical residue.
Calgarians need a source of compost they can trust, and Soil Kings is here to provide just that. Whether you’re looking for aged compost for your garden, flower bed, or lawn or top quality garden mixes that offer compost mixed with finely-screened topsoil, give Soil Kings a call today. Our compost, topsoil, and garden mixes come in bulk and are conveniently available for pickup or delivery. Contact us today or order your compost online.