Is Cow Manure Good for Potatoes?

Fertilizer is essential for a successful harvest, but is cow manure a good alternative? Find out if potatoes thrive in cow manure and what manure is best for potatoes.

Sean Stratton | Updated February 22, 2023
manure on potatoes

Throughout their life cycle, potatoes require fertilizer 4 to 5 times‌. But did you know you can use manure for potatoes as an effective and low-cost fertilizer?

In this guide, we will discuss using cow manure as fertilizer for potatoes.

Do Potatoes Like Manure?

Potatoes grow well with manure fertilizers such as compost or well-rotted animal manure. Manure improves soil quality, water retention, and adds microorganisms. Manure is suitable for various soil types, including sandy soil, soft clay, and hardpan soil.

That’s why manure should be your first choice if you want to fertilize your potatoes with a fertilizer that will not only benefit your potatoes but leave no harmful effects on nature.

cow manure in a small shovel

What Manure Is Best for Potatoes?

When discussing the right fertilizer for potatoes, you should know that a good fertilizer should contain the right NPK ratio. The ideal potato fertilizer should not contain too much Nitrogen (N); rather it should contain more Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K) than Nitrogen.

The right amount of phosphorus and potassium will help achieve healthier and larger potato tubers. But if your potato plants get too much Nitrogen, the tops can become too lush and more vulnerable to diseases.  The NPK ratio of a good potato fertilizer should be 5-10-10.

Keeping these in mind, you can select different types of manure for your potatoes. Some common manure that you can use in your garden includes:

  • Chicken manure
  • Cow manure
  • Horse manure
  • Alpaca manure
  • Sheep manure, etc.

Chicken manure contains Nitrogen, which will help your potato plant tops become lush and healthy. But don’t use raw manure because it can burn and damage the roots of your potato tubers. Sheep manure contains Nitrogen and Potassium, which are essential elements for the better growth of your potatoes.

You may consider using horse manure and alpaca manure as well. But no matter what type of manure you use on your potato plants, you should keep an eye on the overall NPK ratio of the manure.

Can You Grow Potatoes in Cow Manure?

Yes, you can grow potatoes in cow manure mixed soil. But keep in mind that using fresh cow manure can be harmful to your potato plants. It contains some potential risks. It may burn your young plants and it may contain some weed seeds, which can hamper the natural growth of your potato plants.

Additionally, if you cultivate potatoes in fresh cow manure, you may risk getting infections caused by harmful viruses and bacteria like E. coli. That’s why you should let the cow manure rest in a compost heap for sufficient time.

After the manure is properly cured, you can use it in the soil before planting the potatoes. First, you need to evenly spread the manure over the desired areas and then work the manure into the garden soil properly. After that, you can plant the potatoes in the soil.

Is Cow Manure Good for Potatoes?

Cow manure contains some essential nutrients, including Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Calcium, Potassium, and more. It enhances soil quality and helps get a better harvest. Cattle manure is comparatively cheap and a better alternative to harmful chemical fertilizers. However, using cow manure can bring better results only when it is applied following the proper directions.

You may not get a good harvest if you use fresh cow manure on your potato plants. Before you apply cattle manure to your potato bed, make sure the manure is properly cured. For that, you need to allow the manure to cure adequately over the winter.

You can let it rest in the compost heap for sufficient time as well. After the manure is properly cured, it is ready to be used on your potatoes.

Should You Put Cow Manure on Potatoes?

Like we said earlier, cattle manure contains a lot of essential nutrients, like Nitrogen, Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, etc. So, these nutrients will help your potatoes grow well.

If you use cow manure following the proper guidelines, you can enjoy a good harvest without relying on harmful chemical fertilizers. So, if you want a cheap and eco-friendly alternative to harmful fertilizers, yes, you should put cow manure on potatoes.

This video may be helpful:

Final Thoughts

If you are not only concerned about a good potato harvest but also the effects of fertilizer on the environment, you should choose organic fertilizers such as cow manure and other manure-based fertilizers.

Cow manure is cheap and effective. That’s why use cow manure on your potatoes to fulfill their nutrition needs and reduce dependencies on chemical-based fertilizers.

Written by Sean Stratton

Sean Stratton

Hi, I'm Sean, the senior editor here at Fertilizer Pick. I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and have grown fruits, vegetables, and trees since childhood. While I no longer live on a farm today, I still enjoy spending time on my garden and sharing my knowledge with friends and fellow garden enthusiasts.