Nelly Bassily | March 16, 2009
There are many reasons why more farmers are trying (or re-discovering) organic fertilizers these days. Compost and manure can improve soil fertility and the ability of soil to retain water (an issue of growing importance as rainfall patterns have become less predictable). And, at a time when chemical fertilizer costs have risen dramatically, organic fertilizer can be made from waste materials that are often readily available on a farm (and, in some cases, cause pollution when not property disposed of.)
Farm Radio International has produced a number of articles on soil fertility, which you can find online at: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/fertilization.asp. If you broadcast this story, you may wish to complement it with one of the following scripts, which talk about producing the best quality compost using manure and other organic materials, and selling compost.
-“Make compost as your vegetables grow” (Package 47, Script 1, January 1998)
-“You can make compost in two to three weeks” (Package 47, Script 2, January 1998)
-“Improve manure to make better fertilizer” (Package 48, Script 9, April 1998)
-“Farmers can earn income producing compost” (Package 80, Script 3, March 2007)
You may also wish to host a call-in/text-in show inviting local farmers to describe their experiences making or using compost. Be sure to ask:
-What materials do they put in the compost?
-What techniques do they use to encourage the decomposition of the compost?
-How do they apply the compost (at what time in the planting season, in what quantities, etc)?
-How has the use of compost impacted their yields?
-What challenges do they face in making and using compost?