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Evaluating Bokashi Manure Treatment in housed cattle systems

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Bokashi is the Japanese word for “well-fermented organic matter”. Bokashi Manure Treatment is becoming increasingly popular, and involves microorganisms breaking down animal bedding and dung.  It is said to have many benefits, including increased nutrient content of manure and animal welfare improvements. But there is no published work which has shown clear evidence of the benefits of Bokashi manures to UK farmers, crops, soils or the environment.

Two farmers in Scotland are running trials to evaluate the potential benefits of Bokashi manure treatment.  As well as measuring the benefits, they are keen to trial the management process, and find out how easy it is to handle and spread the bokashi-treated manure compared with other manures, and to compare their carbon footprints. 

The benefits

Bokashi Manure Treatment is said to have a number of benefits, including:

  • Improved health of housed animals;
  • Lower odours;
  • Drier bedding;
  • Reduced incidence of flies;
  • Reduced nutrient losses in the finished manure;
  • Reduced manure management costs;
  • Reduced carbon footprint associated with manure management. 

Trial design

The trials will take place on two farms over a three-year trial. 

  • Animal bedding and dung in the housing will be sprayed with a liquid mixture of microorganisms (known as Effective Microorganisms or EM®) .  This will be provided by Agriton.
  • Once the animals have been removed from the housing, the bedding and dung are taken out, mixed and covered with an impermeable membrane (usually plastic) and left for at least 6 to 8 weeks. 
  • The resulting dung can be used in the same way as dung produced by other means 
  • Manures made through the Bokashi process will be compared with those made using standard farming practice on both farms
  • Basic soil testing and evaluation will be conducted at the start of the 3 year project (before application of the Bokashi manures/control manures) and at the end of the project.

Discussions will also take place with other farmers and community farms in the Field Lab who will also be trialling the bokashi method, to draw on their experiences of using the process.

Latest updates

At Glen Fincastle, Andrew Barbour has taken some of the dung out of the shed, which has been sampled, tested and results returned. Andrew was pleased with the Bokashi and he and his wife Seonaid felt that the odours in the Bokashi-treated bedding were much less.
At Lochhill, very poor weather has caused a delay in removing dung from the housing to outdoor heaps.

May 2023

Start of trial - Sampling of existing manures

October 2023

Apply bokashi treatment to bedding

April 2024

Remove manures from housing, cover and stack

Sample bokashi and non bokashi manures

Basic soil tests for chosen fields where manures will be spread

Application of manures


July 2024

Sample and test manures after a 6-8 week treatment, prior to application

October 2024

Apply manures to fields

Spray bedding for next year's trials



Repeat 2024 process

April 2026

Basic soil tests

Final result analysis and report published

Group Coordinator

A portrait of Audrey Litterick.
Audrey Litterick

Earthcare Technical


Audrey [BSc (Hons), PhD, MBPR (FACTS, Amenity)] has over 30 years’ experience as a crop and environmental scientist. She has held senior research posts at both Aberdeen University and SAC, where she worked in sustainable and organic crop production, crop nutrition and soil management. During the past 15 years she has specialised in soil assessment, soil management and the use of composts, digestates, fertilisers and other organic materials in agriculture, horticulture, landscaping and land restoration.

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