Cattle and goat manure are widely used as soil fertility amendments in the smallholder farming sector of Zimbabwe but their fertilizer value is often reduced due to poor handling and management. Management of goat and cattle manure in Wedza smallholder farming area in Zimbabwe was studied from 1996 to 1998. The survey showed that farmers removed manure from kraals between May and August and heaped or composted it for between 8 to 16 weeks and then applied it to fields in October just before the commencement of the rainy season. Goat and cattle manure collected from kraals and heaps outside kraals and finally, a few days after application to the field but before incorporation were monitored for total N, P, K and organic C. Goat manure sampled after application to the field had mean percentage (%) total N, P, K and organic C of 1.37 ± 0.097, 0.26 ± 0.028, 0.66 ± 0.048 and 18.51 ± 1.610, respectively. Cattle manure collected after application to the field had a mean % total N, P, K and organic C of 1.01 ± 0.043, 0.20 ± 0.009, 0.40 ± 0.019 and 18.12 ± 0.869, respectively. Goat manure managed in the same way as cattle manure was found to be of better quality when applied to the field than cattle manure for the macronutrient N, P and K (P<0.05).
Key words: Crop-livestock systems, manure, composting, C-to-N ratio, organic C, macro-nutrients.
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