Knowledge and Practices of Cypriot Bovine Farmers towards Effective and Safe Manure Management

Soteris Christophe, Kristina Pentieva, George Botsaris

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Abstract

Simple Summary: Manure generated in bovine farms may pose human and animal health risks. If not managed and used properly, these risks may be spread to other areas. The risks can be minimised when farmers are aware of them and apply optimum practices at their farms, at storage, processing, and when manure is applied to land as a fertiliser. This research aims to evaluate the Cypriot bovine farmers’ knowledge about the risks from manure and the practices currently applied for manure management through a questionnaire survey. The results indicated some gaps in farmers’ knowledge and some deficiencies in employing optimal management practices. The education level and the farming purpose were identified as determinants of the level of farmers’ knowledge. The conclusion was that farmers’ knowledge must be reinforced through specialised training to ensure proper manure management. Although the current practices partially decrease manure pathogens, interventions to promote the use of more effective treatment methods, such as biogas transformation and composting, would be beneficial. The results could help Cypriot and other competent authorities to develop an action plan to control the health risks by educating farmers, promoting the use of more efficient management methods and developing new legislation. Abstract: Manure from bovine farms is commonly used as an organic fertiliser. However, if not properly managed, it can spread significant biological and chemical hazards, threatening both human and animal health. The effectiveness of risk control hugely relies on farmers’ knowledge regarding safe manure management and on the application of suitable management practices. This study aims to evaluate the knowledge and practices of Cypriot bovine farmers towards safer manure management, from its generation to its final use, in line with the One Health approach. Factors affecting farmers’ knowledge and applied practices are also investigated through a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire was developed and sent to all eligible bovine farmers in Cyprus (n = 353), and 30% (n = 105) of them returned the completed questionnaire. Results revealed there are some gaps in farmers’ knowledge. The use of manure for fertilising crops dominated. Only half of the farmers stored manure in appropriate facilities, with 28.5% of them using a dedicated area with cement floors and 21.5% utilising leakproof tanks. The majority (65.7%) stored manure for more than three months before its use as a fertiliser in a dried form. In multiple regression analysis, education level and farming purpose were significant determinants of farmer knowledge. In conclusion, Cypriot farmers’ knowledge must be reinforced to ensure proper manure management. The results highlight the importance of providing relevant training to farmers. Although the current practices partially decrease manure pathogens, interventions to promote the use of more effective treatment methods, such as biogas transformation and composting, would be beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Article number293
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Volume10
Issue number4
Early online date14 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 14 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Cyprus University of Technology provided internal the funding for the publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.

Keywords

  • bovine farmers
  • manure management
  • knowledge
  • practices
  • manure treatment
  • Article

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