Managing Livestock Manures 4: Managing Manure on Organic Farms

Other materials for use on organic farms


At the time of writing, the import of animal manures from conventional farms is still permitted, provided that these are not highly intensive production units, and that there is adequate land on which to spread the manures. Certifying Bodies require some pretreatment of these manures (e.g. composting or longterm stockpiling), so check the precise requirements.

A number of alternatives to animal manures, as a source of plant nutrients and organic matter, can also be used. A number of organic materials are restricted and some prohibited.

The permitted materials include:

  • plant waste materials and by-products from organic food processing
  • sawdust, shavings and bark from untreated wood
  • compost activators microbial and plant extracts
  • seaweed.

Materials that are restricted

(approval must be obtained from the Organic Sector Body prior to use):

  • plant wastes and by-products from non-organic food processing, after being properly composted for 3 months or stacked for 6 months
  • mushroom composts made from non-organic animal manure, after being properly composted for 3 months or stacked for 6 months
  • worm composts made from non-organic animal manure
  • green waste compost, after being properly composted for at least 3 months, and concentrations in the dry matter (mg/kg) not exceeding the following: cadmium 0.7; copper 70; nickel 25; lead 45; zinc 200; mercury 0.4; chromium (VI) 0 (i.e. limit of detection).

Prohibited materials

  • sewage sludge, sewage effluents and sludge-based composts.

Further details on materials that can or cannot be applied to land being used for organic farming should be obtained from the relevant Organic Sector Body, details of contacts in Appendix I.

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