Animal Waste Management

Livestock/animal Waste management simply refers to the processes and actions required to capture, store, treat and use manure that is in liquid, slurry or solid form, from its inception which is the farm animals to its final disposal.

It is important to manage livestock waste so as to provide essential crop nutrients, through proper analysis of the waste so that a producer knows exactly what they are applying to their land and crops. When using best management practices, animal waste is an extremely valuable resource that will produce a good crop.

Animal wastes which are taken out from the farm are classified into 3 types; solid, slurry and waste water. Solid wastes are treated by drying or composting. Dried wastes are used not only fertilizer but also as fuel for combustion to obtain energy.

Examples of livestock/animals wastes/manure include dairy shed effluent (containing urine, dung, wash water, residual milk, and waste feed), dairy manure, poultry litter (a mix of manure, water, spilled feed, feathers, and bedding material), renderings, and other wastes from livestock finishing operations.


Manure is organic matter that is used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Most manure consists of animal feces, compost and green manure.

Animal manures/livestock waste are the solid, semisolid, and liquid by-products generated by animals grown to produce meat, milk, eggs, and other agricultural products for human use and consumption.

Compost or synthetic manure is a mass of rotted organic matter made from waste-plant residues.

Green manure is a cover crop specifically sown to fertilize the soil while still green


Uses of animal waste /livestock waste

  • Fertilizer for crops,
  • Fodder for animals and
  • To produce energy.
  • Animal manure is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Organic Livestock Health

Importance of Animal Husbandry / Livestock Waste

  1. One of the major importance of animal waste or manure is to make best use of the nutrients found in manure while protecting natural resources.
  2. Animal manure applications can increase soil organic matter in medium / long term application periods.
  3. Manure help reduce soil bulk density and compaction
  4. Livestock waste increasing soil aggregate stability
  5. Animals waste increase water infiltration  
  6. Animals manure increase retention.

Animal or livestock waste management systems

Production – Its availability of the raw material/waste matter from animals and plants.

Collection – Its involves putting together or assembling of the raw matter/waste

Storage – The waste is then stored in waste ponds/waste storage structure/waste treatment lagoons.

Treatment- involves application of chemical and biological reaction taking place in stored animal waste.

Transfer– as a result of waste treatment the gasfuel extracted from the reaction is then transferred in storage cylinders or tanks for consumption.

Utilize – the biofuel/gasfuel is then used for cooking, heating and electricity generation.

Negative effects of Poor Animal Waste Disposal

Once livestock/animal waste management is not properly implemented and managed then there is possible negative impact on the environment. Such effects may include;

  • Soil pollution/contamination- Repeated soil over-applications of manure, above crop requirements, lead to the accumulation of not only macro nutrients such as N, P and K, but also heavy metals particularly Cu and Zn, impacting animal health through grazing and crop feeding. The main consequence of nutrient overloaded soils is related to the interaction between soils and its water and air fractions
  • Water pollution/contamination- This is often caused by the leaching and runoff of minerals from the soil or by direct disposal of wastes into watercourses.
  • Air pollution/contamination- through emission of ammonia, Methane and nitrous oxide emissions and climatic change, Dust and other particles
  • Human damage- such as disease risks and health issues; Livestock waste may contain various pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, viruses or parasites) that can present a sanitary risk during their subsequent spreading on agricultural land

Benefits of proper livestock waste management


  • Prevents the environmental impacts on air, water, soil, wildlife and the marine
  • Protects human health in communities and at waste management facilities
  • Minimizes the risks associated with the waste
  • Improves occupational health
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from waste
  • Reduces litter and odor
  • Prevents the risks of flood


  • Increases business opportunities
  • Provides savings to businesses, especially in resource extraction and use, by waste prevention actions, recovery and/or recycling activities
  • Achieves economic savings by improvements in human health and the environment, leading to higher productivity, lower medical costs, better environmental quality and the maintenance of ecosystem services.


  • Creates employment, including low, medium, and high-skilled jobs
  • Integrates and professionalizes employment in the informal sector (the route to addressing equity and poverty issues)
  • Delivers more attractive and pleasant human settlements and better social amenity
  • Encourages changes in community attitudes and behaviors.

Animal/livestock Waste Management Methods

Animal waste management can be done in two ways; echo friendly and modern methods

The echo-friendly methods include;

  • Landfills/tip/rubbish dump/dump/garbage dump/dumping ground- It is a site for disposing waste materials.
  • Recycling: Recycling is the process of converting waste products into new products to prevent energy usage and consumption of fresh raw materials. …
  • Incineration- it is high temperature burning of waste

The modern methods include;

  • Biogas production technology- it’s a process where biofuel is produced naturally from decomposing organic matter both animal and plant waste or simply gas production from anaerobic biomass.
  • Vermicomposting- it’s the scientific way of making compost using earthworms
  • Composting-Recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants


In future, we could try to imagine what livestock production and waste management should be and what it may become in the following aspects;

  1. Livestock production should have a better integration within other agricultural and agri-food activities to have a better use of both its inputs and its outputs.
  2. For the outputs, there is a need for new waste management methods that would protect the environment and allow manure management to switch back to a recycling view of manure handling. Within these new techniques, the early separation of liquids from solids in livestock houses may be of particular interest since it reduces gaseous emissions in the buildings and it generates liquid and solids that can be processed separately.
  3. Techniques allowing nutrient recycling from wastes, especially phosphorus, should also be developed as well as any techniques allowing an economical and environmental friendly benefit like a better agronomical use of manure or biogas production from manure.
  4. Work on both the inputs and the outputs of livestock production and on its integration in its “regional” or geographical aspects. However, to reach such a goal, we need to consider all treatment aspects not only the constraints whatever they are (environmental, sanitary etc) but also the overall consequences integrating economical parameters like cost of livestock buildings, evolution and depletion of fuel energy, phosphorus and may be cheap cereals.
  5. We also need to integrate possible stronger policies on environmental protection such as the necessity to include new “emerging” pollutant like antibiotics, endocrine disrupters, antibio-resistant pathogens, etc.
  6. The development of such new systems will require the development of new measuring devices and global methods to assess the viability of production chain and food supply. These systems are currently in progress through the Lyfe Cycle Assesment methods.