Comparative Study of Composted and Uncomposted Digestates, Chicken Manure and Cow Dung as Fertilizers and their Effects on Soil Properties

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The problem of waste disposal due to the large volume of waste generated could be greatly reduced when organic components of waste are used as manure. A comparative study of composted and uncomposted digestates, chicken manure and cow dung as fertilizers and their effect on soil properties would help find solutions to some wastes and also determine which waste source offers the best soil improvement qualities to alleviate the burden on farmers due to the high cost of inorganic fertilizers.The aim of the study was to determine the effects of Composted, Uncomposted dry fermented digestates, Chicken manure and Cow dung on soil properties and the specific objectives were to determine and compare the effects of these organic fertilizers on soil N, P, K and cation exchange capacity (CEC).Digestate was developed from waste from the dump site with basically the organic parts by dry fermentation, as an effort to control waste management problems and also provide cheap and alternate source of fertilizer for farmers due to declining soil fertility problems, and this was also composted using three methods namely windrow, co-composting and vermicomposting. In order to test the efficacy of these digestates, they were compared with other common organic manures namely chicken and cow dung in an application for 3 months on the field and various soil parameters including N, P, K and CEC needed for plant growth were determined in a Randomised Complete Block Design (RCBD) on a sandy loam soil.Initial laboratory analysis was conducted on the manures and the soil samples to characterize them. Final laboratory analysis was conducted on soil samples from the various treatments.The final soil analysis showed varied improvements in N, P, K and CEC. The vermi compost treatment was adjudged the best soil improvement treatment as it was the best in terms of soil N, both K and CEC in the 15-30 cm soil depth and second best for P and CEC in the top 15 cm soil depth.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of Materials Engineering in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for an Award of the Degree of Master of Science in Enviromental Resources Management