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Animal Manure for Smallholder Agriculture in South Africa

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Farming for Food and Water Security

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 10))

Abstract

In South Africa, the annual quantity of animal manure is sufficient to meet 13.3%, 9.9% and 27.6% of the country N, P and K soil requirements, respectively. While 25% of the estimated 3 million tons of animal manure is used as fertilizers, most of the remaining 75% is wasted, with a small portion used as energy in heating. Animal manure is thus underutilized. Indeed, most resource-poor farmers have little technical know-how of manure use. This chapter reviews smallholder agriculture in the South African context. We discussed the meaning, uses and role of African leafy vegetables in the lives of resource-poor farmers. Animal manure is an organic source of nutrients for leafy vegetable production among resource poor farmers. Cattle, goat and chicken manures are the common types of animal manure used as nutrient sources. We discussed the classification of manure, the quality of manure and the effect of application rates of animal manure on crop growth and yield.

In South Africa, black farmers dominate the smallholder farming system. The goal of smallholders is to increase their agricultural production for commercialization and in turn having a better livelihood. Unfortunately, this goal is limited by the availability of resources and socio-economic factors. African leafy vegetables are consumed mainly by black people who are the main producers of the leafy vegetables. They use primarily animal manure for soil amendment source in fertilizing their cropped land. Rural dwellers also harvest wild vegetables. Among organic sources of nutrients, ruminant manure and chicken manure are of major concern. The leafy vegetables provide economic, nutritional and medicinal advantages to the rural resource poor blacks.

This review highlights that animal manure contains essential nutrients required by plant. Animal manure is heterogeneous in nature and its quality as fertilizer is affected by many factors. Ruminant manure differ from chicken manure. Chicken manure contains higher concentration of nutrient than ruminant manure, particularly nitrogen. Manures have positive effects on crop growth and yield, with chicken manure applied at rate lower than those of ruminants for optimum yield. Crops differ in nutrient requirements and the optimum application rate of animal manure is crop and manure specific. Amaranth thrived well and had considerable yield while the crop was yet to attain its peak biomass production at application rates of 9.22 t poultry manure ha−1, 10 t ha−1 sheep manure, 10.30 t goat manure ha−1 and 11.7 cattle manure ha−1. Chinese cabbage was yet to reach peak biomass production at the application rates of 3.42 t layer chicken manure ha−1, 11.9 t goat kraal manure ha−1 and 23.8 t cattle manure ha−1. Biomass production of nightshade continued to increase at 68.25 t ha−1 of goat manure, 170 t ha−1 cattle manure and peaked at 17 t chicken manure ha−1. Pumpkin reaches peak biomass production at 8.53 t chicken manure ha−1 while the peak biomass production was yet to be attained at 170 t cattle kraal manure ha−1 and 68.25 t goat kraal manure ha−1.

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Acknowledgement

The financial support provided to the authors of this review work by Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Water Research Commission (WRC) of South Africa towards the preparation of this article is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at, are those of the authors and are not necessarily to be attributed to the WRC or TUT.

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Okorogbona, A.O.M., Adebisi, L.O. (2012). Animal Manure for Smallholder Agriculture in South Africa. In: Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Farming for Food and Water Security. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 10. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4500-1_9

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