Guidance

How to use, store or move manure, guano and digestive tract content

Find out how you can use, manure, guano and digestive tract content, including when you can export them and how to store and move them.

What manure, guano and digestive tract content are

Manure is excrement or urine from any farmed animal apart from fish. It can include litter (pieces of animal bedding).

Guano is excrement from bats or wild sea birds.

Digestive tract content is any content from the digestive tract of a mammal or ratite (ostrich, emu or rhea).

You send any of these products to a compost or biogas facility.

Processing manure, guano and digestive tract content into fertiliser

You can sell manure, guano or digestive tract content as fertiliser in the EU if you meet certain processing requirements. Find out how to process manure for sale as fertiliser in the EU.

If you don’t meet EU processing standards you can still sell your product as fertiliser if you partially process it using heat or pressure.

Partially processed manure or guano can be sold as a fertiliser in the UK, generally as a prill (dried pellets). Contact your nearest Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) field office to apply for approval to make fertiliser from partially processed manure or guano.

Digestive tract content can be processed into a prill and sold as a fertiliser made from processed ABPs. Read the guide to fertilisers made from processed ABPs to find out restrictions that apply to prills made from digestive tract content.

Get approval to store fertiliser

You need approval to store an organic fertiliser or soil improver if you receive a fertiliser made from manure, guano or digestive tract content in bulk and then repackage it for final sale. Contact your nearest APHA field office to seek approval.

When you can spread manure, guano and digestive tract content on land

If the manure, guano or digestive tract content isn’t from poultry you can do the following without restrictions under ABP regulations:

It is good practice to avoid spreading manure, guano or digestive tract content on land where farmed animals have access or to stop animals grazing on the land for 21 days (or for 2 months in the case of pigs) if it has been spread to land.

Further restrictions may be imposed during an outbreak of a notifiable disease, but these would be publicised at the time.

Requirements for spreading poultry manure on land

You can spread poultry manure on your own land or supply it for use on other farms and markets gardens if you take the following steps to avoid the spread of botulism:

  • inspect your birds regularly and remove any dead ones from the litter immediately so carcasses don’t end up in the manure
  • don’t dispose of feathers or cracked eggs in your manure (some feathers will naturally fall into the litter but don’t dump bulk quantities, eg after the slaughter of turkeys at Christmas)

If a botulism outbreak is traced to your farm the government investigation will take into account:

  • your practice for dealing with carcasses
  • the quantities of feathers and eggshells found in your manure

If you spread poultry manure on land where farmed animals graze you should stop animals grazing on the land for 21 days (or 2 months for pigs). You also need to:

  • stack the manure as far as possible from the livestock
  • fence it in until you use it

Get approval to burn poultry manure on your holding

You can burn unprocessed poultry manure at your farm or premises, rather than spreading it on land.

You must be approved as a combustion plant by the APHA before burning poultry manure, and you can only burn manure from your own farm or holding.

Complete form ABPR36 to apply for approval.

Use cattle manure to make cattle bedding

You can process some types of recycled manure solids (RMS) for use as cattle bedding, sometimes called green bedding.

Find out how to use recycled manure solids as cattle bedding.

You must also complete and keep a self-assessment and annual vet review form to show the Red Tractor assessor and your vet, who’ll review your use of RMS as bedding.

Unprocessed manure that can be sent to other EU states

You can seek permission to send the following types of unprocessed manure to other EU states:

  • unprocessed equine manure (if your farm is not subject to animal health restrictions due to glanders, vesicular stomatitis, anthrax or rabies)

  • unprocessed poultry manure (if the farm or holding where the manure was produced isn’t in an area subject to animal health restrictions due to avian influenza or Newcastle Disease)

You can’t send unprocessed poultry manure from flocks vaccinated against Newcastle disease to a region which has gained non-vaccinated status under EU law.

In some cases you may be able to send other types of unprocessed manure, including sea bird guano, to 1 of the following:

  • an approved bio gas plant
  • an approved plant specifically for the processing of manure
  • a specific piece of land, where the manure is going to be applied

In these cases the UK government would have to consult with the government of the EU state the manure is being sent to before giving you permission.

You can’t send unprocessed bat guano to other EU states.

How to seek permission to send unprocessed manure to another EU state

You should contact the APHA Specialist Service Centre in Carlisle for advice, if you want to send unprocessed manure to another EU state.

How to trade manure outside the EU

Contact the APHA Specialist Service Centre in Carlisle if you want to:

  • import processed manure from a country outside the EU
  • export processed or unprocessed manure to a country outside the EU

You can’t import unprocessed manure from countries outside the EU.

Storing manure, guano or digestive tract content

You don’t need approval to store manure, guano or digestive tract content at the:

  • farm or premises where it’s produced
  • place where it’s going to be used (as long as it’s stacked or kept in a slurry tank or tanker until used)

Digestive tract content from abattoirs is normally mixed with lairage manure (manure produced by animals at the abattoir). You don’t need approval to store the tract content at the abbatoir or the lairage manure at the place where it’s going to be used.

If you are storing manure, guano or digestive tract content anywhere other than where it was produced or where it’s going to be used, the storage site must be approved to store category 2 ABP material.

Complete form ABPR3 to get approved to store ABP material and send it to your nearest APHA field office.

Transporting manure, guano or digestive tract content

If you move digestive tract content or guano off the premises where it was produced, you must follow the requirements for transporting ABP material and keeping commercial documents with ABP material.

You must also follow the transport and commercial document requirements when handling manure except in the following cases:

  • when moving manure between farms
  • when moving manure from a farm to place where it’s going to be used

You don’t need to label manure, guano or digestive tract content as ABP material.