Poultry manure ban extended

DAFWA senior development officer Bob PaulinCountryman

Regulations which allowed vegetable growers to apply raw poultry manure to land in July, August and September have been amended, extending the ban to a full 12 months from September 1.

This means that under the 2001 Health Regulations it will be illegal to apply raw poultry manure to farms even if it is incorporated with other materials.

The change will apply in all local government areas covered by the current regulations — the cities of Armadale, Cockburn, Joondalup, Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Rockingham, Swan and Wanneroo; the Town of Kwinana; and the shires of Chittering, Gingin, Harvey, Kalamunda and part of the Shire of Murray, described as the Peel-Harvey Coastal Plain.

Organic soil amendments such as compost are an alternative and growers should consider either changing their fertiliser programs to use chemical fertilisers or use acceptable alternatives, such as compost.

Growers concerned by the increased cost of such materials should note that they are effective at lower rates than poultry manure and have better ability to build soil organic matter levels and soil performance.

In changing to these materials, greater attention is needed to supplying nitrogen during crop establishment.

This requires small, frequent applications that usually result in lower fertiliser use, considerably less leaching to groundwater, and in many instances, improved crops.

Demonstration of the benefits of compost-amended soil will be held in November as part of the APC/VPC HAL-funded project to continue good practice through on-farm demonstrations.

For further reading on how to move away from poultry manure, see the series of DAFWA Farmnotes on growing vegetables using the 3Phase method on sandy soils: Farmnote 375 for lettuce, 377 for broccoli, 451 for cabbage and 452 for growing celery. These can be downloaded from the website.

For a better understanding about the benefits of compost see DAFWA Bulletin 4746 Compost production and use in horticulture.

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