07: Waste disposal methods for Slurry and farmyard manure

At the end of this session you will be able to:

  • Describe the range of equipment in slurry and FYM spreading.
  • Explain the correct methods of spreading slurry and FYM.
  • State the advantages and disadvantages of each machine.
  • Evaluate their effectiveness in economic and environmental terms.

Organic waste from Livestock

This is described in two ways:

  • Farmyard manure
  • Slurry

What happens when FYM or slurry is spread at different times of the year?

Late winter/spring is the best time of year to spread as this is when crops are most likely to be able to take up nutrients. This means that yields are maximised, fertiliser costs are reduced and it minimises nutrient losses to the environment.

If nutrients are supplied during the autumn or early winter, which are not needed at that time, in particular nitrogen, they will be lost through runoff and leaching (especially on shallow/sandy soils).

In the summer there is less risk of leaching, but extra nitrogen is lost from manure applications as ammonia gas.


Waste disposal methods for Farmyard manure


Disposal methods for Slurry


© Ffermio / Telesgop / S4C

Protecting the environment

Slurry spreading guidelines

  • Avoid high risk times. Applying in late autumn and early winter with high rainfall results in nutrient leaching, runoff and lower soil temperatures which reduce plant uptake.
  • Use low emission methods in the summer, eg splash plate as high losses of ammonia are common.
  • Avoid high risk areas. Steep slopes, waterlogged ground and frozen ground should be avoided.
  • Avoid heavy applications (> 50m3/ha/application should be avoided).
  • Apply only what the crop needs, check soil indexes and account for nutrients in slurry.
  • Check that spreaders are calibrated correctly and spread accurately.
  • Produce a clear manure management plan.

© Ffermio / Telesgop / S4C

Advantages and disadvantages of the different methods of slurry application.

Machinery Type Advantages Disadvantages
Splash plates Easy and fast to use, good if you got fields far from the slurry pit. Loss of nitrogen into the atmosphere. Least effective of getting N into the soil. Leaf contaminated with slurry.
Trailing shoe All the nutrients in the slurry goes direct onto the ground. More efficient than splash plates, but not as effective as injecting. The pipes can block very easily.
Injection methods Injecting slurry reduces nitrogen loss, improves accuracy and minimises odour and contamination. Expensive equipment, the pipes can block and the machine needs high maintenance.

Assessment: For each of the following write 1 advantage and 1 disadvantage:

Method Advantage Disadvantage
Tanker with splash plate
Tanker with trailing shoe
Tanker with dribble bar
Rear discharge spreader
Dual spreader
Rotor spreader
Umbilical slurry with splash plate
Umbilical slurry spreading with dribble bar
Tanker with sludgigator


  • There are many ways to dispose of farmyard manure and slurry on the farm.
  • They all have the potential to damage the environment if not used correctly.
  • All the application methods have advantages and disadvantages.
  • The correct application rate at the correct time of the year is key to success.
  • The use of nutrient-rich organic farm waste will benefit the farm financially.