Location: Commodity Utilization ResearchTitle: Organic animal farming and comparative studies of conventional and organic manures
Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/15/2019
Publication Date: 1/13/2020
Citation: He, Z. 2020. Organic animal farming and comparative studies of conventional and organic manures. In: Waldrip, H.M., Pagliari, P.H., He, Z., editors. Animal Manure: Production, Characteristics, Environmental Concerns and Management. ASA Special Publication 67. Madison, WI: ASA and SSSA. p. 165-182. https://doi.org/10.2134/asaspecpub67.c9.
Interpretive Summary: Organic agriculture, sometimes called biological or ecological agriculture, emerged as a reaction to the industrialization of agriculture and its associated environmental and social problems. Organic animal production is featured by cultural, biological and mechanical methods to ensure environmentally safe and chemical residue-free foods, along with high animal welfare standards. There are numerous studies on characterization of animal manure from conventional animal farms (conventional manure). However, there are only a few studies on animal manure from organic animal farms (organic manure) conducted to support the organic farming industry. The limited studies have comparatively evaluated the difference between conventional and organic manures in three aspects: 1) microbiological hazards and antibiotic resistance,2) greenhouse gas emissions and 3) chemical composition and characterization. The observations from these studies are not always consistent, suggesting more research is needed for better understanding of organic manure and impact by organic farming practices. Future research should be focused on producing management tools whereby traceable marker components in manure are used to certify or authenticate the relevant animal farms that are managed according to guidelines and requirements for specific organic farming practices (e. g., natural-type, high-forage, veterinary pharmaceutical-free systems). Future work should also address the question whether conventional manure with certain additives (e.g., pharmaceuticals), with treatment or not, meets the criteria of organic fertilizers for organic crop farms or not.
Technical Abstract: Organic agriculture emerged as a reaction to the industrialization of agriculture and its associated environmental and social problems. Organic animal (livestock and poultry) farming production is an important part of organic agriculture. There are plenty of research on comparison of conventional and organic animal production systems on different aspects of sustainability. However, there are very limited research publications on the comparison of the manure characteristics and properties between conventional and organic animal farming systems. Thus, for better supporting of the organic farming industry and promoting organic manure research, this chapter reviewed the general organic animal farming practices and comparative studies of conventional and organic manures. The limited manure studies have evaluated the difference between conventional and organic manure in three aspects: 1) microbiological hazards and antibiotic resistance,2) greenhouse gas emissions and 3) chemical composition and characterization. Organic manure may show differences from conventional manure, but the observations from these studies are not always consistent. A comparative case study of dairy manure found that difference in spectroscopic features between the two types of manure could be used as the traceable markers in certification and authentification of organic farming management practices. More research on organic manure chemistry would also be helpful in addressing the question whether conventional manure meets the criteria of organic fertilizers for organic crop farms or not.