Horse park staff: Heroes to the community
'Slip sliding away' stopped by hay

What the manure pile cooked up

Manure pile steaming - Poudre River Stables - Fort Collins - Colorado - 80521The process of a manure pile "cooking" is hard to describe, but the video clip above captures the process nicely, complete with rising steam. We use the windrow composting method, which basically involves keeping the pile moist, and in our case, pushing the pile periodically with the tractor bucket to keep introducing air. You can also insert perforated PVC sewer pipes vertically throughout the pile to introduce air.

Garden plants like flowers and vegetables love this composted mixture of soiled wood shavings and manure! You can see our "end product" in the distance, a much smaller, darker section. To ensure all seeds are killed, be sure to store your "product" under a black tarp for a few months after it reaches the end composting stage to really cook the seeds under the sun. Remember, never compost your manure near water. We also use our compost as valuable fertilizer on hay fields, as fill under horse sheds, to fill low spots in the lane, and to build above-ground planting areas in old stock tanks or as stand-alone dirt berms.

If you read Gene Logsdon's book on manure and its value, which not only educated me, but made me laugh out loud several times, you will understand the book's title, "Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind". Gene Logsdon also writes a great rural living blog, The Contrary Farmer.