The Problem with Manure

, written by Jeremy Dore gb flag

Manure pile

Manure has long been the standard way for vegetable gardeners to improve the fertility of their soil.  On my local allotment gardens, manure is delivered by the truckload each year and for just a small cost large quantities can be dug into your vegetable plot ready for the next season.  This cheap high-nutrient boost is the way many gardeners have been producing vegetables for years but that’s going to have to change.  Over the last few months a large number of plots treated with manure have been producing warped and damaged plants and the culprit seems to be a certain weed-killer (herbicide).

Many ‘standard’ pesticides and herbicides have been withdrawn over the last few years: some due to the active ingredient being deemed as unsafe by the EU and others because the manufacturers don’t think it’s worthwhile  to go through the more complex approval process that now exists.  Although these withdrawals were sanctioned in 2003, EU member states were allowed to apply for a number of ‘essential use’ pesticides to remain in use until June 2007.  As a result, it’s only recently that farmers have started switching to newer herbicides and we suddenly have a full-scale problem on our hands.

Gardeners up and down the UK have been reporting that many of their plants have been failing, producing curled-up leaves (see the picture below), distorted and stunted growth,  mal-formed vegetables or simply no crop at all.  The worst affected plants are potatoes, tomatoes, peas, beans, carrots and some salad crops.  Gardeners’ helplines, such as the one run by the RHS, have been inundated with calls and there is a common theme emerging  - they’ve all used manure and in many cases this has been contaminated by one particular, relatively new, herbicide.

The culprit seems to be aminopyralid – a hormone-type herbicide which goes under several  trade names such as Milestone and Forefront – and is being spread through contaminated manure.  It’s produced by a company called Dow AgroSciences and has cost millions of dollars to develop.  Aminopyralid is attractive to farmers because it kills a number of persistent weeds in pasture, such as dock, thistles and nettles, and because it persists on plants it requires fewer-than-usual applications.  Sources of manure, such as stables, regularly use straw and hay which are usually bought-in from farmers who may be using this herbicide.  It’s often difficult to trace who supplied the straw that stables use and people have even reported this problem in manure from cattle who have eaten hay or silage from grass treated with aminopyralid 12 months previously.

Alt text
Potatoes affected by aminopyralid. Photo permission of John Harrison.

At this point I should state that I have always been suspicious of using manure and have never put it on my own soil (although I have used an allotment plot that had years of manure applications and could clearly see how much the plants benefited from the nutrient boost!)  The problem with using manure in an organic system is that it has very poor traceability: it’s almost impossible to get information about what the animals that produced the manure have been fed or what medication they may have been given.

So what should you do if your crops are affected?  Unfortunately no guaranteed solutions exist.  The official statement on Dow AgroScience’s site says ‘we suggest damaged produce... should not be consumed’ and recommends that the area is thoroughly rotovated or dug over  several times to help the chemicals to degrade, with remaining manure not being used.  Other sources suggest that it’s going to take 3 years before crops will be unaffected, though much of this is speculative.  A very good round-up of the situation is provided in the excellent articles on where you will find much active discussion about the issue.  Even branded bags of manure sold in garden centres have apparently been contaminated.

Whatever the advise on dealing with this problem, many gardeners are going to feel angry and let-down by the systems that are meant to protect from problems such as these.  Most people grow their own food naturally, with many sticking to strict organic principles.  In the past this allowed for manure to be part of that process, yet now they find themselves with no usable crop and no certain timescale for the contamination to go away.  Dow AgroSciences advise farmers not to sell manure that might contain the weed-killer to gardeners but how do the farmers know what was sprayed on the grass products they bought in?   I can only conclude that manure is no longer a safe option for gardeners, due to the poor traceability of sources of animal silage, hay and potentially other problems with animal medication.  With large numbers of the public now taking up vegetable growing, the problem is only going to get worse unless the regulations are tightened.  Indeed, I believe that nothing short of a ban on the sale of aminopyralid-based products will eradicate this problem.

The only viable solution is to switch to non-animal methods of organic gardening, such as green manures and home-produced compost.  For consumers the new Stockfree Organic Certification from the Vegan Organic Network is a guarantee that animal products have not been used in the production of crops and their website contains useful information sheets on improving soil fertility by these means.  For those concerned with pesticide residues in gardening, there are excellent tips available on the Pesticide Action Network website in their monthly Gardening Tips.

Please note that due to the potential for legal action by a large corporation such as Dow AgroScience, we have to ask that unsubstantiated comments against the company or its products are not made in our comments section and we reserve the right to edit comments where applicable.  However we still welcome comments on this important issue.

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Show Comments


"If you use a green manure you would still need to know its provenance. The herbicide is used on grass - it doesn't have to have passed through an animal! Our website has lots of information on this problem gathered by a few of us sufferers"
Green Lane on Friday 11 July 2008
"That's an excellent resource of information on the Green Lane Allotments site - many thanks for sharing that with us. It's well worth checking the above link if you think you may have been affected. On the subject of 'Green Manure': by this I mean crops that are grown - usually after the main crop - and then dug into the soil, such as buckwheat, fenugreek, ryegrass, field beans etc. Because they are sown on your own plot they don't pose any risk of contamination as they simply bring up nutrients from deep in the soil to a more useable form for next season's crops. However, mulches of straw or hay would certainly have to be checked, as you rightly point out."
Jeremy Dore on Friday 11 July 2008
"Sorry Jeremy I misread green manure as green waste. i.e stuff available from the council and as we don't know the provenance of the green waste materials it would be unwise to use that yet. Apparently there is one product containing aminopyralid available to public parks etc."
Green Lane on Saturday 12 July 2008
"Yes, when I was researching this article I found that aminopyralid is licenced for use on parks and campsites and, as you rightly point out, this potentially extends the problem to municipal compost schemes which is very worrying. Has anyone come across these symptoms when using compost?"
Jeremy Dore on Saturday 12 July 2008
"You say "you will never find manure recommended on" ...Not only bad advice but a complete liar as well. check out "soil types" page which recommends using are a liar and i don't trust you at don't try changing it i have the screenshot of it-liar"
true nature on Sunday 13 July 2008
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention - you will appreciate that a site like is a team effort and this reference to manure 'slipped through the net'. I have now updated the article to reflect this."
Jeremy Dore on Sunday 13 July 2008
"If you have a quick look at our webpage with a list on people who have emailed me with problem you will see on the list one person who suspect a bag of compost and another couple who suspect commercially produced bagged manure."
Green Lane on Sunday 13 July 2008
"I do not appreciate that growveg is a team effort. You obviously have no consistant voice and are unable to speak with any honesty or authority on gardening matters.You remain a liar"
true nature on Monday 14 July 2008
"Thanks so much for the information. When you speak of manure, does that inclued all animals? Would turkey dung have the same problems? "
Stars on Thursday 17 July 2008
"I think it's possible that poultry manure could be affected but haven't actually heard of it happening. Aminopyralid is not licenced for food crops and would not usually be sprayed on grain crops, although it is believed by some people that this happens in practice. Even if it wasn't consumed by poultry through grain, it may enter the manure if they were given hay/straw bedding (if this got mixed in the manure collection). The biggest problem is that farmers that buy in grass products won't usually know if they have been sprayed and aminopyralid is such a persistant herbicide that it is still found in manure a year or more later."
Jeremy Dore on Thursday 17 July 2008
"true nature - you are a very nasty rude person - please go away or just keep your nasty remarks to yourself. Valmac"
valmac on Friday 18 July 2008
"I used some pig manure from a local farm for my early potatoes and they were great! I now have purple-sprouting broccoli on the same plot and that looks really healthy too. Plenty of weeds springing up so it's obviously not that contaminated. Not ideal, probably won't use it again, but it hasn't been a problem for me. Fab site, Jeremy, keep it up."
Carole W on Friday 18 July 2008
"I'm quite new to vegetable growing and new to this site. In my own opinion, Jeremy has been more than helpful and provides this comunity with invaluable advice and information. As someone who uses manure, I was keen to read his article as I hadn't come across this information before now and will be very aware of what I have now been informed of and what I choose to use in the future. What disappoints me is that there is a minority of small minded people who chose to use these kind of forums to get 'personal'. In the case of 'true nature', I back Valmac up 100% and would only suggest to Jeremy that he removes such stupid comments before they get to this site so that those of us who log on for positive advice can do so in peace. Whilst on the subject of manure, I have the oppertunity of getting some fresh chicken manure from my neighbour and would be very grateful if anyone knows how long it needs to 'mature' before I can use it? "
lesley richards on Saturday 19 July 2008
"Lesley, I've not used poultry manure myself but everything I have read about it states that it is too strong to put straight into the soil and should instead be added to the compost heap and allowed to fully break down before it's OK for plants. Apparently it makes a compost heap really cook to high temperatures!"
Jeremy Dore on Monday 21 July 2008
"Thanks for the info Jeremy, i'll add it to the compost heap (living in Scotland, we could do with all the heat we can get!!) and let you know how it goes. By the way, the 'Water Refresh' (for keeping water butts clear from algae) is still doing very well and I would certainly recommend it. Keep up the good work. Fab site!"
Lesley on Monday 21 July 2008
"[Comment Removed because it does not address the subject of the blog article and gave a false email address - Jeremy]"
true nature on Tuesday 22 July 2008
"Censoring people now are we...what are growveg recommending as a solution to aminopyralid contamination?"
petra on Tuesday 22 July 2008
"If I were to sum up recommendations at this point it would be: 1. Try to use compost (not from municipal schemes where there is little traceability), leafmould and other organic soil improvers instead of manure. 2. If you really want to use manure then make sure you can trace the source of any hay, silage and bedding that may have been used - quite hard. 3. If you are already affected by aminopyralid, then dig or rotovate your patch once every few months to try to get it to break down and obviously don't use any more manure from that source. I would then grow sample plants (beans, potatoes) each year until all symptoms have disappeared. Until aminopyralid is banned (or can be tested for) this is pretty much the only course of action I can see."
Jeremy Dore on Tuesday 22 July 2008
"I'm only very new to gardening and just moved on to a small allotment, I thought manure from the local stables would be of great benefit to my heavy clay waterlogged soil. The horses are bedded on woodchips and fed "haylage", i already have a fairly large heap and growing, which i had intended digging in in spring if that's not too soon.... any suggestions, apart from leaving the heap to decompose totally????"
Dakev on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"Dakev, you could do two things: 1) Try to find out where the haylage comes from and what is sprayed on it. You would need to be very convinced that they knew! 2) Try growing some test plants in a pot of soil mixed with this manure. You probably have time to try some beans, peas and lettuce which are all affected, though not potatoes or tomatoes. Just leaving the heap to decompose won't make it any more safe, since aminopyralid survives in manure heaps for well over a year."
Jeremy Dore on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"I think testing for the preence of aminopyralid could be really difficult in practice due to the way the stuff breaks down. We have had potatoes growing alongside one another where one is badly affected and the other not at all. The residue doesn't become active until the plant matters decomposes. Then according to DOW is becomes part of the soil profile and doesn't leach into surrounding soil. Plant matter in the manure will break down at different times and the residue remains active for 3 - 4 weeks after it is released. We have had peas growing in affected soil that have not been affected at all and beans that at first were OK and then became really badly affected. We have tomatoes that have been planted out several weeks and are just beginning to show signs of distress. Testing would only indicate that at any given point a particular sample of soil contained or was free of active residue. Tomato and potatoes definitely seem the most sensitive on our plots. The RHS recommend using tomato cuttings to test but in our climate to try these outside would take us into later months and if the manure is kept in bags or pots especially in a greenhouse I guess the rate of decomposition would be different. The idea of testing just seems to be the only advice available but I have doubts as to how practical that actually is. Maybe someone with a scientific background can convince me otherwise "
Susan Garrett on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"Susan, Thank you for that voice of experience - particularly relevant since you have been so badly affected. From what you have said I would definately revise my comment about trying out a few beans and peas. There seems to be no easy way to test for aminopyralid at the moment and I think the best thing we can hope for is a governmental ban. I'd like to encourage all UK readers to join me in signing the governmental petition that has now been set up at"
Jeremy Dore on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"Also anyone affected should report their experiences to the Pesticide Safety Directorate. They recently told Parliament that they had received 70 complaints - I personally know of more than that but their website may put off people from writing as it implies that you should have evidence to support your suspicions and then to email the chemical company for advice. If you have good reason for suspecting herbicide poisoning - check with the photos on our website then contact them and tell them. Take photographs of affected plants too. If you want to add your experiences to the growing list on our website then email the website and I'll add you. Many people have written to their MPs and MEPs (MEPs seem to be more forthcoming) If you don't know who yours is then try the Write to Them website"
Susan Garrett on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"Below is a copy of part of an email from PSD - Information Services to MEP Nigel Farage! "Dow have now indicated that they are withdrawing products which contain aminopyralid from sale and PSD is formally suspending their authorisations whilst we investigate the options for preventing arecurrence of this problem. A key issue in our consideration will bewhether the conditions of use regarding manure are sufficient, or sufficiently well known"."
Susan Garrett on Wednesday 23 July 2008
"Thank you Jeremy and Susan for your responses. I still don't know where I stand, as the technical aspects of this scary problem are less simplistic than I imagined, so I guess discretion being the better part of valour (or even failure) the manure stays where it is until a more definitive testing protocols etc. are in place. Your responses are much appreciated, thank you."
Dakev on Thursday 24 July 2008
"Fantastic result Susan - thank you for all your work on this issue on the Green Lane Allotments site and blog( I suspect it will still be a long time before this problem goes away but it's great to see the Pesticides Safety Directorate actually stepping in and Dow Agrosciences forced to take action."
Jeremy Dore on Thursday 24 July 2008
"It is worth keeping in ming that suspension is temporary. It is also worth bearing in mind that there is still probably some supplies of the herbicide being used that is already in circulation. Anything sprayed this year could be affecting manure for the next 2 years or so. This means that if you are going to use manure you need to be absolutely sure of your sourcing. We have just noticed that tomatoes that have been growing great for the last month or so are now beginning to show the effects of herbicide poisoning. We hope our soil will be free from contaminants next season but this is by no means guaranteed."
Susan Garrett on Thursday 24 July 2008
"Jeremy you are misleading people again by saying "it's great to see the Pesticides Safety Directorate actually stepping in". They did not. Dow asked the PSD for the approval to be withdrawn. The PSD did not step in and force action as you falsely state above. [Petra - please note that you must use a valid email address when you post comments in the future, as it's a requirement of our Terms and Conditions. Thanks! Jeremy]"
petra on Thursday 31 July 2008
"Thanks for the correction. It's worrying that Dow asked the PSD to 'voluntarily suspend use while there are further investigations and a revised stewardship programme developed.' I guess their international reputation was more important to them than the [temporary] loss of the UK market. In any case I am worried about the possibility of aminopyralid reappearing once they deem it 'safe' to reapprove it. There is also the possibility that other hormone weedkillers will appear to replace it and cause problems such as this. Susan - thank you for that important reminder that the problem isn't just going to go away and that manure must be treated as suspect for some time to come. In my opinion manure remains a risk for organic gardeners due to the poor traceability."
Jeremy Dore on Thursday 31 July 2008
LUCY CLARKE on Thursday 14 August 2008
"I had a problem with a grow bag last year. The plants in it all developed the curled leaves etc. My other 2 grow bags, one right next to the affected on were fine. I have chickens so how long do i need to leave the poo.My compost heap is steaming nicely. They are free ranged in my garden and bedded down on wood shavings."
sue on Wednesday 28 January 2009
"Sue, Sounds like your growbag was affected. Chicken manure is too strong to add neat to planting areas and it's usually recommended that you compost it first. It really helps to get the compost going too, so I would recommend you add it to the heap."
Jeremy Dore on Wednesday 28 January 2009
"sorry I should have said my chicken poo/wood shavings have been added to the compost heap since I got the chooks in November. i put the run clearingups in a plastic bin for a couple of weeks until it is full and then take it to the bottom of the garden and just add it to my heap behind a greenhouse. I noticed last weekend that the bin is actually warm after a few days so chicken poo must break down very quickly. Will the compost heap be ok to use now? It has been turned and the oldest side has broken down nicely. Was planning on digging it in next weekend in some beds ready for planting in a month or so. Thanks Sue"
sue on Wednesday 28 January 2009
"Sue, That sounds like it is ready for digging in, particularly if you will be digging it into the soil and waiting a month before planting."
Jeremy Dore on Wednesday 28 January 2009
"I was thinking of planting directly into the ground in my new greenhouse. It just has a bare earth floor at the moment. If i use my compost to make beds for tomatoes will it still be ok? I would like to grow moneymaker toms and peppers in there. i usually use growbags or large pots. I start my toms now in the conservatory would you say it was too early. i love planting and cant wait to get going"
sue on Wednesday 28 January 2009
"true nature - don't be embittered, no one is perfect and I suspect you are not either. There are too many aggressive people demanding impossible perfection in this world which results in tensions and illness. Gardening is therapy and this site is a tool for use towards this end. if you want to change things you have to first make people aware and allow them the opportunity to change. I wish you peace."
orenda on Sunday 15 February 2009
"Two other points that I don't think have been raised yet. Firstly it is proving difficult to get manure locally from our local Cornish farmers. Most of it is used by them for spreading on their fields, some for grassland, some for saleable crops. Second, I doubt if DOW are stopping their sales throughout the world, and stocks are probably widely available, so I would expect it to be used widely and affect many crops being grown worldwide. The point: what would be the effect if the wider public suspected that there is a risk of contamination of the foodstuff they buy in the supermarkets? It might be beneficial to the campaign to permanently ban this chemical if this fear of contamination were more widely known."
Alan Weymouth on Monday 23 March 2009
"I have just been on the petition site in order to sign it. The petition has now closed, and the following statement has been made: "The Government is determined to ensure that all pesticides, including aminopyralid, used in this country are safe to people and the environment. No pesticide may be sold or used unless Ministers have given specific approval. If pesticides are known to have serious health effects, or such effects are discovered, they are not approved. In addition, uses of pesticides are not approved if they would result in residues which were unsafe to consumers. Statutory conditions of use are placed on individual pesticides to ensure that they can be used safely and provided products are used in accordance with these statutory conditions of approval they pose no unacceptable risk to people or the environment. Unfortunately the label prohibition on using manure that could contain aminopyralid on susceptible crops has not always have been followed when manure has been supplied to allotment holders and gardeners resulting in damaged crops. However the Government confirms that this has no implications for human or animal health. The manufacturers of aminopyralid products have now withdrawn their products from sale and the Government has formally suspended their approvals whilst they investigate the options for mitigating against a recurrence of this problem. Only when the Government is satisfied that the necessary measures to achieve this can be put in place will aminopyralid products be allowed back on the market." It seems the "Powers that be" feel it only affects a few gardeners, and don't appreciate the wider concerns."
Alan Weymouth on Monday 23 March 2009
"I am assuming that Dow didn't just sell this herbicide in the UK, have you hear anything from your growing friends across the pond? I live in the Netherlands next door to Beliguim, and am trying to find out if it is safe to use my neighbor's horse manure (they buy in hay) and the municipal compost, I have my own compost but that is not anywhere enough for the new much larger veg. garden that I am starting this year, on virgin very heavy clay . Anna "
Anna Schmitz on Friday 17 April 2009
"The Pesticide Safety Directorate are now known as the Chemicals Regulations Directorate. I had an email from them last week saying that following on from the contaminated manure problems of last year - they have published a postcard giving advice on the use of manure. Go to to download. Remember that it is still very possible that contaminated manure is still in the supply chain so great care should be taken when obtaining manure. If you are a member of an organisation and would like to obtain copies of the postcard for distribution , there is information on how to obtain a free supply of postcards click here. They tell me that they are sending postcards to Graden Centres etc for distribution but it will be up to the centres to decide whether to do so or not. Our website did have some contact from the US saying that there had been a problem there with contamination but no-one from elsewhere contacted us see"
Susan Garrett on Friday 17 April 2009
"Susan recently emailed me to advise that the ban on aminopyralid may be lifted again: see for details and please consider signing the ePetition against it if you are a UK resident:"
Jeremy Dore on Monday 27 July 2009
"Thank you Susan and Jeremy, for warning us that there is a very real risk of aminopyralidban being reintroduced into the agricultural scene in Britain. We must all band together to try and stop this. So far only a few people have signed the petition at No 10. We must try to get as many as possible to sign it. The method is very simple to do, just follow the link: Then click the resulting email to confirm. Try to get everyone else you can think of to do the same. Once Dow get the OK to resume sales, and they have the clout to put considerable pressure on the Government, we will never be able to use manure on our plots again. It's that serious folks. Lets get others involved."
Alan Weymouth on Monday 27 July 2009
"The other issue is to inform as many gardeners as possible of the need to take care when obtaining manure etc. I have sent out an info sheet which all my contacts are passing on to friends etc - a sort of email chain. This way it may be possible to save some people from becoming victims as I am stil having reports of new victims who were totally unaware of this problem. If you wish to help with this the info sheet can be downloaded from"
Sue on Tuesday 28 July 2009
"It's not too late to sign the epetition asking for the government to disregard the advice by the ACP to reinstate the licence for aminopyralid based products. The petition is here When you sign an email will be sent to you which you must respond to or your signature will not be accpeted. This email can end up in your junk folder so make sure you find it. The petition now has over 1500 signatures but will expire on 23 October so don't delay in signing up!"
Sue on Wednesday 2 September 2009
"Petition closes on October 23 so you need to sign up quickly also see DOW's offer to collect contaminated manure"
Sue on Friday 2 October 2009
"NEWS FLASH Lost Cause? New! Information on the lifting of the suspension of aminopyralid approvals It would appear governement ministers have accepted the ACP recommendation that aminopyralid have its licence reinstated See the information on the DOW website"
Sue on Tuesday 6 October 2009
"In the US, I have found that rabbit manure works very well. You also have the option of using worms to process your compost/manure for you thus possibly removing any chemicals from the manure. I'm not sure if there are commercially raised rabbits in the UK. I've never been there. I know that worm castings are very good for soil enrichment / fertilizer. I think you guys are doing a great job and really enjoy reading all of the different thoughts and opinions, so please disregard the rantings of true nature. It is apparent what his "true nature" is. "
Curtis Bloodworth on Saturday 10 October 2009
"Two MPs Paul Burstow Lib-Dem Member for Sutton and Cheam and Tom Watson Labour MP for West Bromwich East have both tabled early Day Motions asking for a debate in the House of Commons regarding the above. In order to achieve a debate sufficient MPs have to offer support so if you think the issue should be debated then contact your MP and ask them to sign up. If you don't know the email address of your MP then you can use the WritetoThem website to contact them."
Sue on Thursday 15 October 2009
"Just to update you that my website with all the information mentioned above has moved to all info on contaminated manure can be accessed from the button on the sidebar"
Sue on Sunday 16 May 2010
"If farmers are using it - have their crops been affected, or are they jut using it on pasture? If so do we know what are they using to counter it, or because they can dig it in with machinery they are not having such a long lasting problem. Also, by digging in uncontaminated manure can it be 'diluted'."
Fiona Godwin on Thursday 26 August 2010
"The herbicide isn't licensed for food crops and should only be used on pastureland. The problem can't be diluted by adding more uncontaminated manure or by watering"
Sue on Thursday 26 August 2010
"I read an article about humanure by Joseph Jinkens and i think it's advisable to use in the absence of animal manure.Can you expalin this better in laymans terms.Or how far do you know regarding this."
Jovenal on Saturday 22 January 2011
"I too question human waste. It has been sold here locally in North Idaho, and people seem to be having great success with it. For me, it goes against everything I've ever learned about fertilizers. So I'm interested in what your comments are. Thanks for such a great website. Keep up the good work."
Faith Kalbe on Sunday 17 April 2011
"I believe humanure can work well as long as all the required precuations are taken, especially lengthy careful composting etc. Can't say I'd want to buy humanure but from a sustainability point of view it has good potential."
Jeremy Dore on Monday 18 April 2011
"I though that you should never use any 'manure' from carnivorous animals so is humanure from vegetarians?"
Sue on Monday 18 April 2011
"I was speaking to an permaculture expert recently who said the use of human waste had been banned due to the level of metal trace elements present in it. Even more worrying is that means in order for it to be in human waste, humans must be eating it in the first place (ie supermarket/processed food??). "
lesley on Monday 18 April 2011
"~Jeremy, I don't mean to criticize you and's position on not recommending manure, but I think this should be done on a farm by farm and garden by garden basis. We, as farmers get stereo-typed quite a lot. Here on our farm, in upstate NY, we use no pesticides or herbicides on our fields. We do use a minute amount of herbicide near our permanent electric fences, but we take care that our animals cannot get in contact with the herbicide or the plants killed. I would recommend that anyone looking for manure ask a small-to-mid sized farm, in their area, if they can get manure from them. It is the commercial sized farms, or those that grow corn, that use the herbicides. Manure is a valuable commodity in the garden, therefore, I suggest that gardeners go to small family-owned farms and ASK QUESTIONS. Most farmers are willing to answer questions about their farm. If not, be aware of them. Again, I don't mean to sound criticizing, but I know I am tired of being inaccurately stereo-typed."
Matthew Jenne on Saturday 23 April 2011
"Matthew, I agree that on a farm-by-farm basis more informed decisions can be made and certainly didn't mean to stereo-type everyone. The problem is that for your average gardener it's not always possible to check the traceability of farm manure. Not all farmers are as open as you about exactly what herbicides they have used and whether they traced the herbicide use in the production of all haylage bought to feed their animals during winter. Here in the UK there is no requirement for disclosure of herbicide usage and many farms withhold that information from the public. A small family-run farm which produces all it's own animal feed is the safest option but there are very few of those. The worry is that other farms may have used aminopyralid on meadows used to produce hay for the farmers' animals and the gardener could lose their crops for several years through this information not being passed on. It's not the farmer's fault - in my opinion this kind of persistent herbicide should never have been licensed for sale."
Jeremy Dore on Saturday 23 April 2011
"Just to let you know that my website with information about this problem has move to here"
Sue on Monday 13 February 2012
"i have no problems with cow manure were i get mine they grow there own hay no weed killer"
glynn on Friday 27 April 2012
"Yes here in the French countryside we use a lot of cow manure. We call it buse....not booze! The farmers manure their land using their own and I get it for free from them.we have no far"
David on Tuesday 16 April 2013
"Hi all, from Sydney Australia here. I found your article late last year. I believe I bought a brand of sheep manure and even two brands of ordinary potting mix with some form of herbicide contamination. A range of beans, tomatoes and potatoes developed deformed leaves when transplanted into affected soils. After a couple of months of puzzling over this problem I came across pictures of plants growing in aminopyralid-contaminated soil. Hello! I was upset to learn that aminopyralid was tested by our government agency and approved for use here in 2006 I think (report released deeming it safe for use that year anyway). I've had to switch to certified organic potting mix, composts and manures, which is hard as it is not readily available, and expensive. I can't yet produce enough compost at home with my limited space. I gave feedback to the potting mix manufacturer - one month later, no update about their test results yet. The company distributing the manure never got back to me at all. It frustrates me that it is not spoken about more widely in Australia, save one or two lonely voices. I worry that action aimed at reviewing its use here will be non-existent for some time to come I think. How are things in the U.K. and neighbouring countries today? Have there been any improvement regulating herbicide use in your area?"
Pepita on Sunday 19 March 2017
"I spread horse manure sourced from a local stable in Medway Kent. The manure heap is years old and I dug from the base near the centre of the pile which was 2 metres tall. It has affected a few tomato plants along with aubergine and chrysanthemum."
Paul Schmoeger on Tuesday 9 June 2020
"I used some contaminated manure on a few of my beds with the usual disastrous results. But I was able to mitigate the problem using the application of biochar plus plantings of sunflowers and buckwheat. Subsequent crops grew normally."
Caroline on Sunday 19 March 2023
"Hi, There is an estate near to where I live where deer roam freely and feed on the meadow and surrounding green spaces. The whole estate is fenced in enclosing woods etc. My question is, would it be safe to use deer manure on my allotment?"
Wendy on Thursday 28 December 2023

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