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The movement of organic and inorganic matter from the environment, through one or more organisms, and back to the environment. Examples of the nutrient cycle include the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the phosphorus cycle.

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THE NUTRIENT CYCLE

THE NUTRIENT CYCLE

Photo by Douglas Gayeton

THE NUTRIENT CYCLE

The transformation of organic and inorganic matter — in this case, cow manure — through decomposition into inorganic nutrients used in the production of living matter (as fertilizer for row crops) that is harvested then fed back to the same cows in a continuous cycling of nutrients.

DEPENDING ON HOW IT’S MANAGED, MANURE ON A DAIRY FARM LIKE KEN’S CAN EITHER PROVIDE VALUABLE NUTRIENTS TO FERTILIZE SURROUNDING ROW CROPS OR NEGATIVELY IMPACT LOCAL WATERWAYS.

HOW IT WORKS
1) Cows poop; 2) Manure from heifers and cows pushed into semi solid cement pit; 3) Liquid Manure (runoff from rain and milking parlor water, washing water) goes into lagoon; 4) Wait until after fall harvest; 5) Test soil to prevent overloading of nutrients, which can lead to leaching of zinc, nitrogen, etc.; 6) Test manure for potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus; 7) Determine the right amount of nutrients to apply on fields; 8) Incorporate liquid manure from lagoon into soil using hose and tractor.

Before Ken had this lagoon he and his sons had to load manure from their cow barn into a spreader and put it directly on their fields, or stockpile it on top of soil and wait, which often led to it leaching into local groundwater.

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