Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Determining manure deposition in free range sheds and free range areas

Poultry farmers have an environmental duty of care to manage manure nutrients to minimise the risk of environmental impacts. Previous research on free range farms showed that nutrients are concentrated within a short distance (0–10 m) from sheds despite birds having the opportunity to range much further (Wiedemann et al. 2018). This manure distribution pattern interacts with site features (such as climate, soil profile, ground water depth and distance to waterways) to determine the risk of nutrient loss.

Accordingly, the objective of this research was to determine manure nutrient excretion in a free range shed via mass balance. That is, to predict manure nutrient excretion in the range area by the difference between predicted nutrients excreted by the bird and measured nutrients deposited in the shed.

Using the results presented in this report, it is relatively simple for industry to estimate the deposition of manure in range areas. The rates and masses of nutrients excreted in the range area were consistent with previous observations of ranging behaviour and international research, which supports the continued use of current industry practices for managing nutrients in range areas. The findings of this research should be used to update the next edition of the industry environmental guidelines, particularly the observation of unexpectedly high manure ash and silica concentrations and their potential implications. The inferred rate of soil transport out of the range and into the shed has potential implications for range management

Project date

1 Jan 2018-31 Dec 2020
Visit website

Principal investigator

Stephen Weidemann

Project funded by


Australian Eggs

Australian Eggs is a member owned not-for-profit company providing marketing and research & development (R&D) services for the benefit of …

  • Location


  • Organisation type

    Research funding body

Logo for Australian Eggs

Focus areas


Related research projects

Search all research projects
Logo for Egg Farming Systems Welfare Science Review

Egg Farming Systems Welfare Science Review

A review of the research to date on physiological and behavioural welfare indicators of hens in caged, barn and alternate …
  • Funded by

    Australian Eggs

  • Project date

    - 1 Jul 2019

  • Research organisation

    Scolexia Pty Ltd

Logo for Best Practice Lighting Management for Australian Layers

Best Practice Lighting Management for Australian Layers

A review of lighting systems in hen housing facilities, to understand factors that can help boost flock productivity through optimising …
  • Funded by

    Australian Eggs

  • Project date

    - 1 Sep 2018

  • Research organisation

    Livestock Welfare

Have questions?

Find out how we can help you.

Find answers to our most frequently asked questions on research projects, commercial opportunities, organisations and more. 

Still have questions or have feedback on the site? Please get in touch by completing our enquiry form.