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  Poultry Manure as a Source of Nitrogen in Potato Production: Part II: Economic Evaluation

Ronald Desjardins1,Yves Martineau2 and Jacques Lavoie3

Abstract: A study was conducted in New Denmark, Victoria County in 1996, to evaluate the potential of poultry manure as a source of nitrogen in potato crop, c.v. Shepody and Russet Burbank. No significant increase or decrease in marketable yield occurred following the use of poultry manure versus the use of commercial fertilizer. It appeared from this first year of results that poultry manure can be an effective replacement for commercial fertilizer, from an agronomic point of view. However, the economic value was not adressed. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the economic value of poultry manure as a source of nutrients and the potential impact of its use on the bottom line of potato farms. A preliminary evaluation has shown that a tonne of poultry manure contained $78 worth of nutrients. As it costs about $15 a tonne to transport and spread manure, it appears to be economic source of nutrients. This preliminary evaluation took into account all of the nutrients contained in the manure whether they are used by the plants or not. A more rigorous analysis which focused on the effect of this alternative source of nutrients on yield showed that it did not increase short term viability, as it did not appear to affect marketable yield in a significant fashion. Nonetheless, it tended to improve overall financial viability if we assume that the measured marketable yield increased were significant. We must note that this analysis did not account for the effect of the manure of the soil's structure and residual nutrient availability for years to come. Accounting for these factors, could well make poultry manure a very interesting alternative source of nutrients.

1Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre, Grand Falls, NB
2Land Resources Branch, NBDARD, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1
3Regional Office, NBDARD, Grand Falls, NB E3Z 1G1

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