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Although manure and compost are not normally associated with alfalfa some interesting results have just come from a University of Minnesota study reported in the newsletter of the Ontario Forage Council. They applied up to 12,000 gallons of dairy and swine manure per acre into a test area before direct seeding to alfalfa. They applied the same amount of chemical fertilizer on another plot and none on the control plot.

The fertilized plots gave "dramatically" higher yields than the control plots, but the manure plots gave a 10% higher yield than the fertilizer, indicating, the researchers noted, that there's something else in manure that's not in chemical fertilizer, that favours alfalfa.

Copyright 1993 Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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