Notes to broadcasters
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The following is one in a series of scripts in this package involving the characters Philip (Program Host) and Dr. Compost (Peter Composter). Philip is from the city. He has a weak stomach and is somewhat sceptical about farming techniques. Dr. Compost is from a rural background but has a university education in agriculture.
Farmers in your audience should know that their crops are only as good as the soil in which they grow. Adding composted manure to the soil is like putting money in the ‘soil bank.’ Growing and incorporating nitrogen-rich legumes is also beneficial. If the soil bank is rich, crops will be good. By using animal manure and by growing legumes, small-scale farmers can add nutrients to the soil and keep it fertile
Other suggested program ideas about improving soil fertility include:
- How cover crops can improve soil structure
- The worm’s role in every farmer’s soil fertility program.
A city radio host
Dr. Compost, Ph.D.
(Peter Composter): Agricultural specialist, about age 70, somewhat forgetful. He has a farming background but also a university education. His problem is that, sometimes, he digresses from the topic. Nevertheless, the information he provides is always interesting, useful and practical.
INTRODUCE THEME MUSIC AND FADE OUT
-Welcome to the show. Due to the overwhelming response to our previous programs, we decided to continue with our live phone-in format. Let’s get right to the first caller. Who’s on the line please?
-It’s Malex here. Let me tell you, I just love your show. I listen to it all the time.
– Nice to hear and thanks for calling, Malex. Do you have a question for Dr. Compost?
-Yes. What I have been curious about since my childhood is why animal manure is good for plants.
– Manure contains a lot of nitrogen, which is an essential nutrient for your crops. Animal urine also contains nitrogen. Plants love it. I love it!
– What? I grew up with it. I collected manure and animal urine and stored it. You see, you don’t need to chase cows with a bucket in your hand trying to catch their urine. The farmers I know keep their cows in a pen with a hard packed or cement floor. The manure and urine collect in a pit. The farmers keep this pit covered to prevent nitrogen from escaping into the air. This is something you can try.
– I can tell you some other things about manure…
But I think we should take our next call. Our next caller is Shirley. Please go ahead, Shirley.
– Dr. Compost, I’ve heard you talk before on this show about legumes for soil improvement. How will I know a legume?
– You can find legumes almost everywhere. Peas and beans are legumes. Legume plants are natural nitrogen fertilizers.
-And you say nitrogen is good plant food?
-Yes. Nitrogen is food for the plant. But the most amazing thing about legumes is that their stems and leaves contain as much nitrogen as the roots. You can use the entire legume for fertilizing.
-So, what other clues are there that a plant is a legume?
– Look at the roots. They have small round nodules, like small eggs, attached to them. To prove that it contains nitrogen, cut one egg open and see if it is red inside.
– Philip, you have a very weak stomach. Shirley, if you see any red, it is good for your plant. There are many different types of legumes. Check the roots.
-Thank you, and I appreciate you taking my call.
-All right. I understand why legume plants would be good fertilizers. And much as I’d like to hear more (laughing), unfortunately, that’s all the time we have at the moment. Thanks to Dr. Compost for being here, and I’m Philip, your program host, signing off for today.
THEME MUSIC AND FADE OUT
Adapted by Sunny Ray, Toronto, and Belinda Bruce, Vancouver, Canada, from Farm Radio Network script 15-14, Nitrogen fertilizer that doesn’t cost any money, 1989, and script 32-4, Retain nutrients in stored manure, 1994.
Reviewed by Dan Gudahl, Contracts Officer, Winrock International, Morrilton, AK, USA.