Big Moo Story: Cow Wow Manure From Organic Dairies

Cow Wow is one of several fertilizer possibilities for gardeners who want to grow strictly organic. While I'm not sure yet how important it is to use strictly organic poo as fertilizer, the product makes use of an otherwise pootent environmental problem.

CowWow logo

Yesterday the conversation on the Garden Writer's forum included the observation that if you use corn gluten to fertilize your lawn that's a non-chemical but not precisely an organic method -unless you use gluten from organically grown corn.

Then, on the Science Daily email today, one of the stories is about manure from organic dairy farms being used as manure.
From the source, PA Farm News:
"Cows on organic dairy farms generally consume forage feeds cultivated on soils that are fertilized with manure and compost rather than manufactured fertilizers. This organic management, in turn, may significantly affect how easily nutrients are converted in soil into forms readily taken up by crops.
The researchers found that the two types of manure had at least 17 different chemical forms of phosphorus that varied in concentrations. The organic dairy manure had higher levels of phosphorus, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium.
Organic dairy manure also contained more types of phosphorus found in association with calcium and magnesium. Such forms are comparatively slow to dissolve and would thus gradually release the nutrients. Slow-release fertilizers generally increase the likelihood that they eventually will be taken up by crops, rather than being washed out of fields into nearby surface or groundwater sources.
Because of this, slow-release fertilizers often can be applied at comparatively low rates. Manure produced by cows in organic production systems may show similar characteristics compared to manure from conventional systems."

So, dear reader.... Did you take philosophy class and hear the conversation about angels dancing on the head of a pin? It means that people love to spend time arguing about issues about which they can have no personal knowledge and over which they have no control.

On a scale from one to ten, how important is this to you as a concerned environmental citizen and as a gardener who wants to improve the earth? Will you seek out manure made from the animal byproduct of organic dairies?

by Elizabeth Chandler


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