Applications of dairy wastewater as a fertilizer to agricultural land : an environmental management perspective

Torr, Leigh Christine (2009-03)

Thesis (MSc (Geography and Environmental Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


As with any form of intensive agriculture, there are potential environmental impacts associated with the management and housing of livestock on dairy farms. Within the field of dairy farming, particular focus falls to the issue of environmental degradation of water resources, as this form of pollution is currently a major environmental issue around the world. Conventional agricultural practices involving the application of chemical fertilizers to land and crops are causing environmental problems as a result of poor management practices. Dairy wastewater and manures could however be a valuable resource for agricultural producers in the form of an alternate fertilizer for their crops. Waste application as a fertilizer is more environmentally friendly than chemical fertilizers, and could drastically reduce costs for farmers, whilst alleviating storage and management problems often associated with farmyard manures (FYM). The application of organic wastes, notably livestock manures, to land has historically been important for maintaining soil fertility on farms in terms of nutrient status and organic matter levels, as well as helping to reduce soil erosion and improve waterholding capacity. The research sought to investigate the environmental and economical feasibility of using dairy wastewater and manures as an alternative form of fertilizer within agriculture in South Africa.

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