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View Full Version : Speak to me about manure management and composting



eponacelt
Dec. 9, 2009, 03:40 PM
If all goes well (and at this point, I'm not taking for granted that it will...), we'll be moving into our first farm in a few months. I'm reasonably knowledgeable about many aspects of farm upkeep, pasture maintenance, etc., but I have some questions about manure management. We'll likely have about 10 acres and 3 horses.

Tell me how you store your manure pile and what you do with it. How do you compost? Do you give it away? Do you have someone haul it away? Spread it on your own fields?

Just trying to get ideas of what to do with the poo!

QHBuddy
Dec. 9, 2009, 03:47 PM
Good suggestions and designs for bins:

http://www.whatcomcd.org/FarmAssist/SmallFarm/SmallFarm.html#CompostGuide

2DogsFarm
Dec. 9, 2009, 04:09 PM
5ac & 2h horses (until recently)
I pile manure to the side of my indoor (makes a covered walkway for me & the wheelbarrow in bad weather) in a framework of leftover fenceposts stacked in a 3-sided Lincoln Log arrangement.

I just heap it up and in Spring, when I see it steaming, I might put a pitchfork in to turn over the top compacted layer.
Or I might not.

Neighbors & friends have hauled away as much as 50% of the pile.
I spread the rest - dumpcart by dumpcart (pulled by the lawn tractor) on my flower & veggie beds and in the wildflower meadow I am trying to cultivate ("See!" I tell the neighbors "It's not just a patch of weeds!")
In Fall I dump the wheelbarrow directly from stalls onto the gardens and it composts by itself over the Winter.

On my Wishlist:
Subcompact tractor w/FEL
and/or
Newer Spreader

But until I win the lottery I trade favors to neighbors with equipment or hire a local landscape guy with the subcompact/FEL combo

Calvincrowe
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:02 PM
I use pelleted bedding which helps reduce the over all load of manure produced and piled. I have a bin made of 2 x 6s left over from fence deconstruction, it is L-shaped and about 6 feet tall. I drove metal Tposts in, in pairs and slid the 2x6s between, then wired the tops together. Low cost and used recycled materials.

I wish I had a concrete bottom to mine, but I don't. I pile fresh manure on one side, then use my tractor to mix it about 2 times a week (rain permitting). As it "finishes" or turns dark and looks soil-like instead of fresh poo like, I move it over to the next pile area in the L. In summer or very dry weather, you must water it to keep the composting process going.

QHBuddy
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:16 PM
Concrete floors are great - but to keep up with the recycled theme: we picked up some free belting from a local rock quarry. It's about 3' wide and as long as you want it. We laid it out on top of some gravel, and did about the same thing you did for the walls. It works really well in keeping us from digging into the ground every time we turn the pile or empty the bin. It doesn't allow the worms free access - but they seem to do OK.

Meredith Clark
Dec. 9, 2009, 05:40 PM
5ac & 2h horses (until recently)
I pile manure to the side of my indoor (makes a covered walkway for me & the wheelbarrow in bad weather) in a framework of leftover fenceposts stacked in a 3-sided Lincoln Log arrangement.



Totally off topic but I have 2 horses on 5acs and I LOVE the fact that you have an indoor. Right now (i just got the place) I have a field and a shed so the idea that someone has done awesome things with the same amount of space gives me hope!
My first task is getting the barn (small run-in/stall/tack room combo) and my sacrifice paddock, then I can start making a ring :)

Back on topic... My horses aren't stalled but I do clean up the run in and try to pick the fields. I'm just making a pile in the corner of the field and when it starts getting too big I'll have someone haul it away or in the spring spread it by hand or small tractor.

My friend has a large farm and she gets paid for her poop! If you have more than 10 or so horses you might contact a mushroom farm and they'll take your poo.

fivehorses
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:45 PM
ANyone know of any mushroom farms in central NH?

Seriously, this is a major issue for me. I pay to have it hauled off. I compost it, but no one wants it. I advertize on cl, and at the farm store, post office, etc.

I can load it in a pick up with my tractor, etc, but just don't seem to have any takers.
My fields can only take so much of it.

So, I pay to have a person who in turn mixes it with chicken poop and bags it and sells it.

chancy deal
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:14 PM
We have 22 acres and we make our own hay. So... we pile up the manure, stir it ever-so-often with a front end loader, and come late winter we spread the whole pile. We use it all.
We have people asking us for manure to put on their gardens.
But they usually ask us after we've already spread it & we have to send them away empty handed. We need more manure than my 4 horses can make!

2DogsFarm
Dec. 10, 2009, 06:38 AM
Totally off topic but I have 2 horses on 5acs and I LOVE the fact that you have an indoor. Right now (i just got the place) I have a field and a shed so the idea that someone has done awesome things with the same amount of space gives me hope!

{patting self on back} it DID work out well for me. And this was my first try at building a barn. Just use graph paper to plan your layout. It helped to have a great barn builder - FBI company.

Back on topic:
I tried listing my compost with Freecycle and got a couple interested emails, then they never followed up!
Haven't tried CL yet, but so far between me & the friends/neighbors the pile is manageable.
Now with just the one horse it s/b even more so.

I'll also be composting chicken poop, but it has its own pile as I'm too lazy to haul the chicken stuff to the barn pile.

Earthworms abound in my pile so turning is a nicety but apparently you don't have to. I never water my pile either - the top may dry out, but I just turn that under and take the lovely dark stuff from underneath.

S1969
Dec. 10, 2009, 08:29 PM
We have 7 acres & 3 horses. I have a manure "bunker" that is built into the hill just below my barn. It is about 5' x 7' and about 6' deep with a concrete bottom, treated lumber sides on 3 sides and easily accessible with the tractor/loader from the low side. From my barn I can drive my wheelbarrow down the hill to it and up a short ramp to dump (be careful not to fall in when it's empty!)

We usually fill it about 3-4 times/year; when it gets full we move it to another spot and flip it once. In a few months it's garden-worthy or can be used to fill low spots, spread on bare spots in the pasture, "farm roads" etc. When we poo-pick pastures, however, we usually just make piles in the corners of the fields and let it compost naturally.

SMF11
Dec. 10, 2009, 08:51 PM
I compost it, but no one wants it. I advertize on cl, and at the farm store, post office, etc.

I can load it in a pick up with my tractor, etc, but just don't seem to have any takers.
My fields can only take so much of it.

So, I pay to have a person who in turn mixes it with chicken poop and bags it and sells it.


I seriously have heard that if you charge for it, you get more takers! I'm going to be trying that this coming spring . . .

coloredhorse
Dec. 10, 2009, 09:30 PM
On our teensy-weensy farmlet, I maintain a series of small composting piles. They are turned weekly (or at least on alternating weeks); I keep them small enough that I can easily turn one by hand in 20 minutes or less. We use most of it on pastures, our small lawn area, and our many gardens. The frequent turning helps it break down very fast and get very compact.

For excess, whenever I have put a notice on the local Craigslist or freecycle, I'm beating people off with a stick. We really don't have much excess, though; with just 2, sometimes 3 horses on the property, we use most of what they produce.

KnKShowmom
Dec. 11, 2009, 10:43 AM
Have two Labs (one is supposed to be on a grain free diet) so a manure pile is out of the question - load it on a wagon and in the growing months we spread it on the new pasture.

During the winter, we have a pile in the back of the farm (dogs can't get to it) which in the spring we will give away, patch the pastures and spread the rest.

Wish Santa would bring me a manure spreader....

Fancy That
Dec. 11, 2009, 12:32 PM
Totally off topic but I have 2 horses on 5acs and I LOVE the fact that you have an indoor. Right now (i just got the place) I have a field and a shed so the idea that someone has done awesome things with the same amount of space gives me hope!
My first task is getting the barn (small run-in/stall/tack room combo) and my sacrifice paddock, then I can start making a ring :)

Back on topic... My horses aren't stalled but I do clean up the run in and try to pick the fields. I'm just making a pile in the corner of the field and when it starts getting too big I'll have someone haul it away or in the spring spread it by hand or small tractor.

My friend has a large farm and she gets paid for her poop! If you have more than 10 or so horses you might contact a mushroom farm and they'll take your poo.

I do the same thing as MC. We have 3 horses and 1 mini on only 4 acres. They are out 24/7, so there is no "bedding" or stalls to clean. We do pick up poo in the big sacrifice paddock as well as the arena-area of the pasture.

We put it in one big pile and it actually composts down very nicely on it's own. Technically, we should water it in the summer and turn it - but havent' yet.

We do "groom" the pastures to spread out anything there as well.

We just put our landscaping in, so now we can use that old manure pile to ammend the soil in the gardens!

You should have no prob w/ that much land and that few horses!

lindasp62
Dec. 11, 2009, 01:36 PM
Here's some reading about composting.
http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/farm_ranch/management/eqcompost496/

FatCatFarm
Dec. 11, 2009, 02:32 PM
Don't keep a manure pile and spread your manure. Have had my own place now going on 14 years and have never kept a manure pile. Stall refuse is great for filling in washes, replacing top soil lost to erosion and fertilizer. Clover loves to grow in it. My horses are kept up on a regular and consistent worming program and never a problem.

mkevent
Dec. 11, 2009, 02:51 PM
I currently have 5 horses(capacity for 6) on my 7.5 acre farmette. I have 4 10x10 compost boxes that I rotate. I put the fresh manure/bedding in the far right box, and when that fills, I move it to the next box, etc. By the time it gets to the last box, it is well composted since it has been turned and aerated at least 3 times.

We put an ad on CL and have no problems giving it away. If we load it on a pick up with our tractor, we charge $10 to help offset gas costs, etc. Everyone loves the compost. Maybe because we are in a more suburban area it may be easier to give it away. It's kinda funny how excited some people get about horse crap!!