What to do with all that lovely manure
March 07, 2010
The other day I wrote about our seeding project and the composted manure we used to bed and cover our precious investment in equine pasture seed. On a daily basis, you probably won’t have a lot of seeding projects waiting to go, so you have to plan for the horses’ daily output. Also, as the land use argument heats up in Larimer County, Colorado, manure moves up the list of hot topics.
Suburbanites might choose weekly removal by the trash company to the landfill as
the best choice, but this method is pretty low on the list of good solutions. It can create methane gas pockets, and runoff at the un-vegetated dump leeches raw nutrients down slopes into streets and down the food chain into waterways.
Windrow composting and spreading give soiled bedding a chance to decompose into stable compounds, which when worked into the soil (or your arena), provide great benefit. These methods assume ownership of a tractor or equivalent and at least one spreader, so there is an equipment investment and ongoing maintenance, plus all the time it takes to process the "product". (Few people realize how much work a stable really is!)
We have taken many manure management classes over the years and, there are four Colorado State University Cooperative Extension handouts we found particularly helpful. After a little work, I unearthed their links:
Horse Manure Management
Composting Horse Manure in Static Windrows
Composting Horse Manure in Dynamic Windrows
Vermicomposting Horse Manure in Windrows