Read also: What to do with all that lovely manure
Let’s face it. Manure can be a problem when you manage horses, and call me crabby, but in my mind, unless you know how to manage the stuff, you cannot call yourself a true horseman.
Outside of water and shelter, manure probably represents the biggest challenge on the place, especially of you count regulatory bodies of local government and suburban constituents, who do not appreciate manure's potential.
On the other hand, manure can also be your biggest asset. Manure success story #1: Last year, we used wind-row composting in our Pooh Lane, and spread the results on a section of my neighbor’s hay field. The hay that got the compost grew more lush and green than
Manure success story #2: A couple years ago, when the city planted dry land pasture grass over their storm drainage easement on our property, they requested we do our daily spreading over their planting. That strip of pasture is very healthy.
Manure experiment: This year, we spread the daily cleaning over the north half of our gallop track’s inner oval. Snow locked us out of the area through December and January. At the end of January I was able to get back in with the tractor and disc the area.
That same weekend, I spread about $200 of Jax equine pasture mix over the area, and began distributing aged manure from the “pile”. It took two weekends using our circa 1940’s refurbished spreader, but the seed is covered and has already received two light snows.
My scheme includes catching the heavy March snow we usually get, which is why I pushed to get this done in the cold weather. Note: If you buy and refurbish one of these old spreaders at auction, never overload it. On the very last load, I got greedy and broke the manure-moving linkage in two places. Lack of caution is going to cost us several hours in repairs.
The composted manure and bedding mixture makes lovely growing material, and according to the CSU Extension classes we’ve taken over the years, from a soil analysis perspective, it makes a perfectly balanced growing mixture. Manure success story #3: I’ve used old water tanks as giant planters for raspberries, and filled the planters from Pooh Lane piles. In spite of my neglect, the raspberries refuse to die.
Yes, manure happens, and it's good stuff! (Like the writing? Hate the ads? This blog is available on the Amazon Kindle as Hoofprints . Try it free for two weeks!)