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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2028: Reuse of Animal Manure: A Case Study on Stakeholders’ Perceptions about Pelletized Compost in Northwestern Italy

Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2028: Reuse of Animal Manure: A Case Study on Stakeholders’ Perceptions about Pelletized Compost in Northwestern Italy

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062028

Authors: Niccolò Pampuro Federica Caffaro Eugenio Cavallo

The present study aimed at investigating perceptions and preferences about the use and the chemical characteristics of pellets made from composted animal manure in a sample of Italian farmers and agricultural advisors (Piedmont region, Northwestern Italy). The study encompassed two different steps: At first, the participants were administered a questionnaire about their actual use of pellets and preferences about their chemical characteristics. Then, a subgroup participated into a hands-on experience with different pelletized animal manures and some final questions. Concerning the use of pellets made from composted animal manure, even if the participants affirmed to be interested in using organic pellets and declared to own the appropriate equipment needed for their application, the results indicated that pelletized compost utilization had not yet become a common practice for agricultural crops. The obtained results highlighted a lack of knowledge, especially among farmers, about the importance of some chemical properties of this pelletized organic material. The participants, both farmers and advisors, were particularly attracted by the total nitrogen content of organic pelletized fertilizers, probably because the supplying of nutrients, nitrogen particularly, is the function of fertilizers they were interested in the most due to its direct connection with crop production. The hands-on session allowed the participants to better understand the benefits of the principal chemical properties—organic matter and carbon to nitrogen ratio—of pelletized animal manure compost. On the other hand, organic matter content and carbon to nitrogen ratio, more related with biological fertility and biodiversity of soils, are immediately less interesting and, as the hands-on experience pointed out, require more effort to be appreciated by agricultural operators. Targeted information campaigns and training activities may be developed among the agricultural community to make them aware of the importance of increasing soil organic matter content, and the possible use of pelletized composted animal manure. Further studies should be addressed toward gaining more insights into the beneficial effects of the information and training activities for pelletized compost adoption.

Authors:   Pampuro, Niccolò ; Caffaro, Federica ; Cavallo, Eugenio
Journal:   Sustainability
Volume:   10
edition:   6
Year:   2018
Pages:   2028
DOI:   10.3390/su10062028
Publication date:   15-Jun-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • soils
  • production
  • nutrients
  • Italy
  • fertility
  • crops
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