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Town's Refuse as a Source of Soil Organic Matter

Nature volume 145, page 56 (13 January 1940) | Download Citation



ALTHOUGH animal and vegetable wastes have been used as manure for untold ages, and their good effect on soil fertility has never been in doubt, chemists and microbiologists would be the first to confess that there are many gaps in our knowledge of their modes of action. To take farmyard manure—still without a rival—we know the value of the plant foods it contains, and its remarkable power, after decomposition, of promoting and conserving the granular structure of the top soil, thereby making it porous to air, absorptive and retentive of moisture. How this physical effect is brought about is still largely a matter of hypothesis; and generally speaking, we know nothing of the sequence of changes that follow the incorporation of farmyard manure with the top soil.

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