Manure opportunity

Walsh addressing a question from UWI’s Dr. Indra Haraksingh (left).

An organic farmer admitted today that he imports chicken manure, saying it was because he had to be careful what chemicals he introduced into his crops to keep them up to standard.

Manager of Nature’s Produce, Tim Walsh, told a visiting team of farmers and agriculturalists to his farm today that the manure he imported was pasteurised and was the only type he could use on some of his more delicate produce.

While local chicken and other animal manure could work in his fruit orchard, he noted that it could not be used wholesale across his farm.

“We use imported chicken manure from Belgium,” he said.

When asked by University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus professor, Dr. Indra Haraksingh, whether there was not enough manure here in Barbados, he explained: “Basically to use the chicken manure correctly and continually, it needs to be composted properly. It can’t have any salmonella or anything like this and doing that is a job in itself – composting.

“Now, the one we get is pasteurised, so therefore it’s a known and we know that it isn’t going to have salmonella and we need to know exactly what it is you are going to be doing with the salad crop you are going to be producing.

“We can take the normal chicken manure and broadcast it into the fields around the orchard and things like that. You can do it and introduce it into fields that you are going to breakdown for periods and then go in and grow after. But basically for this kind of growing, it is something we didn’t want to risk,” he noted.

He said though that it was an area, that if so inclined, an entrepreneur could turn into a profitable business here.

“There is also a big opportunity for somebody to be looking at that waste development and bringing it to the farmers in a form that they can work with as well. The chicken manure when it is getting wet, or you go into a chicken pen and empty your chicken pen into bags and then have to load it into cars and drop it in a field, that is a lot of work.

“Broadcasters and things like that need to be introduced to make it work easier. The chicken pellet is an easy form, a usable form for the farmer. There are a lot of things that can be done, but it means the chicken waste would have to be pulverised, milled, processed and then pasteurised and put through a pelleter, but all is possible for those who would wish to do it.” (LB)

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