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Goat Manure


Extension Goat Handbook - 1992

This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural Library.  However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to authors or originating agencies.

R. E. McDowell; Cornell U., Ithaca, NYG.
F. W. Haenlein;
U. of Delaware, Newark.
Management and Housing


1        For gardening, goat manure can be a real asset.  In their naturally

     dry, pelleted state, goat feces are  easily handled, stored or directly

     applied on  vegetables, trees, and flower gardens, as mulch,  organic

     matter, fertilizer, or just to increase the  water holding capacity of

     the soil; and goat feces  do not normally attract flies or breed

     maggots. A  daily raking or sweeping of the goat yard keeps the  goats

     clean and free from parasites; and the garden  will soon show its



2        Few research data are available on the value of  goat feces or

     manure. Of course, it depends on the  level of feeding. Thus, high

     producing, well fed  dairy goats should produce more and better feces

     than other goats. In general, 2.0 to 6.00f live  weight of goat in

     fresh feces weight can be expected. Depending on feed and water intake,

     the  fresh feces voided per day might weigh between  30, and as much as

     1000f the daily dry matter  consumed. Dry matter content of goat feces

     is be  tween 50 and 60ormally; the color depends on  the type of

     feed. Hard feed kernels, like barley and  corn may appear in goat feces,

     especially at high  levels of feeding, but generally they are masticated

     and ruminated much finer and more completely  than by calves or cows.


3        Goat feces contain not only feed residues but endogenous substances

     from the goat's intestinal  tract too. Swedish research established that

     goats excrete daily, regardless of feed type, a minimum  of 34g protein,

     8g fat and 13g carbohydrates for  each kg (2.2 lb) feed dry matter

     eaten. This would  mean that a 150 lb goat milking a gallon of milk a

     day, and been given 7 lbs of feed dry matter daily;  this goat would

     lose 7/2.2 x 34 = 108g protein  daily in her feces, not even accounting

     for her milk  production and her own maintenance needs. This  108g

     endogenous protein loss also translates into a  3.4minimum protein

     content in the 7 lb daily  feed dry matter to avoid a negative protein

     balance  for this goat. In comparison, a daily goat ration  with a 14

     protein content supplies just 445g protein, of which a certain

     percentage is always undigestible and a loss to the goat too. This

     percentage increases when the crude fiber content of the  feed



4        Goat manure i.e. feces plus bedding and wasted  feed, fresh or

     usually composted in pens or outside  piles can average 10 lb per day

     for the above example goat or more, depending on bedding amount,  urine

     drainage or fermentation losses. This can  amount to around 1-1/2 ton of

     manure per goat per  year or more with a possible composition of 31

     dry matter; 1.3itrogen, 1.50001:0000hosphorus  (P205), 0.46952:DE9Eotassium

     and 2.4

     fertilizer asset per goat of at least 1/2 ton dry matter  with 15 lb

     nitrogen, 17 lb phosphorus, 5 lb  potassium and 27 lb lime.


5        For large herds or flocks, disposal of goat  manure could have

     problems, but in some parts of  the world animal wastes serve numerous

     useful  purposes. In fact, animals are frequently kept  beyond their

     period of usefulness for the production of milk or work so that they can

     provide dung.  Approximately 40 percent of the farmers of the  world

     depend wholly or in part on animal wastes to  enhance soil fertility.

     Generally, manures do not increase short-term crop yields to the extent

     of  equivalent amounts of nutrients supplied in refined chemical form.

     The differences in yields are, however, with long-term usage. Small

     farmers who  till land by hand or with chisel type plows prefer  manures

     over chemical fertilizer because manure  enhances the aggregate crumb

     structure and soil  permeability which aids in cultivation. Marginal

     micronutrient deficiencies, which may occur after  repeated cropping

     with chemical fertilizers, can be  prevented with supplementary

     applications of  manure.


6        The value of manures for soil fertility can be  markedly influenced

     by handling procedures. At  least 50 percent of the nitrogen and 60 to

     70 percent of the potassium are found in the urine. Frequently, manure

     has a low fertility value due to  failure to incorporate the urine, or

     the nitrogen is  lost through leaching. Eighteen to 20 Mcal of  energy

     inputs are required to produce one kg of  nitrogen fertilizer. Fuel

     costs to produce nitrogen  have already aroused new interest in research

     on  storage and handling of manures. Predictions for  the future are

     that animal wastes will again be  viewed more favorably as a useful

     resource. Predictions for the future are that animal  wastes will again

     be  viewed more favorably as a useful resource.


7    Fuel

         The energy in ruminant manures is rather high  (dry cow dung 4.58 to

     4.72 kcal per gram) and can  be used as efficiently as energy from coal

     or oil if  appropriate equipment is used. In some cases, dry  dung cakes

     are preferred over plant residues  because of uniformity of heat. India

     annually uses  60 to 80 million tons of dry buffalo, cattle, sheep  and

     goat dung for fuel. In the central plains area  where there is no

     firewood, per-capita use is as  much as one ton per year. In two

     instances, the sale  of dung cakes to urban centers provided up to 60

     percent of the total cash income per rural family.  The expected return

     per animal per day from the  sale of dung cakes is 1.03 rupees or $0.12.

     India  would need to expend over US $3 billion per year,  exclusive of

     distribution costs, for coal and oil to  replace dung.


8        Pastoral herders, especially nomads, largely depend on cattle,

     sheep, or goat manure as fuel for  cooking, heating and light. Estimates

     are that over  200 million tons of manure are used per year as fuel  in

     developing countries. Supplies of firewood or  charcoal - traditionally

     the chief sources of fuel in  central Africa fringing the Sahara, the

     Andes  region of Latin America, the highlands of Central  America and

     the Caribbean islands - have become  scarce or non-existent. In many

     areas nearly 20  percent of the total family labor is expended to

     gather wood or crop residues for fuel, and the time  spent is

     increasing. Expenditures by salaried  workers for firewood or crop

     residues have risen  from 15 to 25 percent of income. In Africa and the

     Americas, animal manures have not been used extensively as fuel, but

     usage will probably increase  rapidly in the near future. Over the long

     run,  methane gas from animal wastes will likely make  the greatest



9    Methane Gas

         During the 1930's and 40's, digesters were used  rather extensively

     in central and northern Europe  for producing methane gas, but

     production declined  to nearly zero when oil became cheap during the

     1950's. Currently there is vast interest in digesters  to meet fuel

     needs. In 1975, South Korea had 29,000  bio-gas plants and planned to

     build another  50,000.  India has about 20,000 plants, two-thirds of

     which  were built since the energy crisis, and plans to build  100,000

     more within the next 5 years. Taiwan has a  large number of plants and

     there are some in  Bangladesh and Nepal.


10       The US could obtain nearly 1.0 percent of its  energy by 1985 from

     renewable resources, and this  could increase to 25 percent by 2020 AD.

     Of this,  methane production is capable of producing about  5 percent by

     1985 and 25 percent in 2020. Canada  has a similar capability.


11       Fecal material produced by ruminants, particularly buffalo, cattle,

     sheep and goats, is an ideal  substrate for anaerobic fermentation

     because it is  already buffered and contains large populations of

     methanogenic bacteria. Methane from manure has  a value of 5 kcal per

     cubic meter which is 71 percent of the energy value of natural gas. It

     works  well for household use but is difficult to handle in  mobile

     power. Processing manure through bio-gas  plants has the added

     advantages of better preservation of fertilizer in some areas where dung

     is  burned.


12       A major handicap for methane production is  capital cost for small

     units. Several countries have  extensive research programs underway to

     reduce  construction costs. Even so, the use of bio-gas  plants is not

     likely to approach anywhere near the  level projected, unless prices of

     fossil fuels rise to  extremely high levels. For the US, it is estimated

     that manure from 40 cows will be needed to supply  fuel, including

     electricity, for an average farm  family, but will not replace fossil

     fuel to operate  tractors, trucks or automobiles. The average  Indian

     village could potentially accrue high  benefits from the use of

     digesters, but acceptance  will be low because it will deprive

     individuals of  one, if not their major, source of income. In spite of

     limitations, anaerobic fermentation technology  will undoubtedly play a

     significant role in waste  management. For developed countries, units

     will  be employed on large farms or in conjunction with  feedlots where

     the cost of production will be in line  with other fuels.


13       Adopted from Winrock Report, September 1977,  ''Ruminant Products,

     More than Meat and Milk,''  17-19; Winrock International Livestock

     Research  and Training Center, Morrilton, Arkansas.




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