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dralthea
Jul. 3, 2010, 03:42 PM
Just had a complaint from my neighbor about my manure pile being too close to his house and possibly some wetlands in his backyard.. Yikes, does anyone know a dumpster company that does manure removal?? , I live a few miles south of Boston. Any idea what it will cost? I have 4 horses so will need a larger size dumpster. Thanks !

Mary in Area 1
Jul. 3, 2010, 10:11 PM
The only one I remember was Mitrano, I think. It is very expensive, one of the many reasons I moved to Vermont.

chai
Jul. 3, 2010, 10:53 PM
I teach at a barn that uses a huge dumpter removal company. I will look into it and send you a pm.

Equibrit
Jul. 4, 2010, 09:11 AM
What do your local ordnances say ?

Horse Manure Strategies: Compost It!

Turn manure into garden gold with this easy system from a top waste-management expert.

By Elaine Pascoe
What do you love about keeping your horses at home? Bet you won't answer "manure." That manure mountain can become a real headache-it draws flies, annoys your neighbors, and may even be harmful to the environment.

Here's a solution: Turn it into organic fertilizer with a simple, environmentally friendly composting system developed by an international expert. Sanitary engineer Sandra Cointreau-Levine travels around the world advising on waste disposal, but she designed this nifty setup for her own back-yard barn in Connecticut.

We'll tell you how to adapt Sandra's system to your needs. If you do, you'll see the volume of your mound of manure and used bedding shrink by up to eighty percent-and find gardening friends and neighbors banging on your door, buckets in hand, to get the twenty percent that's left. Moreover, if you manage your compost piles correctly, flies and odors won't be a problem.

WHY IT WORKS

Here's why this system functions so well: It relies on aerobic microbes (microbes that need oxygen to live) to break down manure and other wastes. These microbes can't survive in a typical manure pile, because it shuts out oxygen. Anaerobic microbes (those that live without oxygen) do eventually decompose the manure in the pile, but much more slowly and less efficiently than their aerobic cousins-so the pile grows ever larger. And the anaerobes produce a lot of unpleasant byproducts, such as smelly ammonia sulfide and methane, which is one of the gases blamed for global warming.

WHAT YOU NEED

Sandra's system uses a series of three-sided compost bins made from wooden pallets, which are perfect for the job for several reasons.
You can find them for free (try feed stores, factories, warehouses, and dump sites).
Their slatted construction allows air to circulate around each bin.
They're the right size. To generate enough heat for good decomposition, a compost pile needs to be at least 3 feet wide, 3 feet deep, and 3 feet tall. But if it's too much bigger, the material will be hard to turn, and air won't reach the center. Bins made of pallets, which are about 4 feet by 4 feet (sizes vary a little), are just right for composting manure.
You can assemble bins in any configuration and move them easily. The flexible design lets you leave some areas for curing and do active composting in others, or remove partitions so a tractor loader attachment can get in to turn a pile or remove completed compost.
WHAT GOES IN

Manure and used bedding are the main ingredients. The manure yields a rich, soil-like compost loaded with nutrients plants need. The more bedding you have in the mix, the more fibrous and mulchlike your end product will be.

Grass clippings and similar garden debris can go in, too. But add these materials in light layers, between manure-a big load of grass clippings can make the pile too wet and block oxygen, smothering the pile. Be careful about tossing weeds into the bins, too. Composting doesn't destroy all seeds, so including them may mean you'll spread weeds in your garden when you use the compost there.

Kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings (no meat!) compost well.

You can add broken eggshells to the mixture to reduce acidity. That helps the microbial decomposition; when the compost is used, it can improve soil pH. (Just be sure you won't mind seeing bits of eggshell in your garden.)

Coffee grounds and tea leaves are good additions for compost that will be used on acid-loving plants, such as evergreens and mushrooms. Consider creating a separate pile for use on these plants.

You can toss in hair left from grooming horses and pets. Hair doesn't deteriorate as quickly as the other materials, so it adds a little fluff, helping to keep air in the pile. It also gives the finished compost some fibrous content. In the garden, that helps deter erosion and may improve soil aeration.

WHAT TO DO

Dump manure into the first bin. (If the manure's mixed with some bedding, you don't need to worry about layering it with other materials.) To jump-start the process, you can add commercial compost "seed" (available from garden centers), which contains an assortment of microbes that will enjoy composting your waste. Or add a little decomposed manure and topsoil from your pasture, which will also have such microbes.

Add to the pile as you clean stalls and pick paddocks. If the pile attracts flies (Sandra never finds them around hers), cover fresh manure with a layer of working compost (either aged manure or some soil from the pasture) to deter them.

When the first bin is full, start a second bin. Add some working compost from the first bin to get things started. "This is like making yogurt," says Sandra, "where you buy culture for the first batch and from then on use a little yogurt from the last batch to start the next batch." The piles will shrink as material decomposes, so keep adding material to maintain enough mass for good composting-4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet is ideal.

Turn each pile every seven to twelve days. This step is essential for keeping the aerobic microbes alive. Using a pitchfork, dig down into the center of the pile and flip material from the lower part to the top. Or turn the whole pile into the next bin, so what was on the bottom ends up on top. Note: If you're allergic to barn dust, wear a dust mask (a disposable one from the hardware store is fine) when you clean stalls and when you turn your compost. As Sandra points out, organic material has high levels of endotoxins that can trigger allergic reactions when airborne.

Check that the material in the center of the pile is hot and steamy. If it isn't, the pile is either too small or being turned too often for heat to build up. The heat is important for decomposition and for killing fly eggs and other parasites.

Sniff when you turn the pile; if you smell ammonia, you're not turning it often enough (or it may be too big). Ammonia sulfide gas is produced anaerobically-when there's no oxygen. As long as your pile is aerobic, there'll be no unpleasant smell.

Keep the pile evenly moist. "There's a reason why there are mummies in Egypt-micro-organisms don't decompose organic matter when they have no water," Sandra says. Manure and moist bedding have just the right moisture level (fifty to sixty percent) when you put them in the pile; in many areas, with normal rainfall and temperatures you won't need to do anything. In hot, dry weather, you may need to spray the pile lightly with water to keep it from drying out. But don't soak the pile; it needs to be moist, not dripping wet. Saturating it will drown most of the aerobic microbes.

Continue to turn each pile for at least six weeks after the final application of fresh manure. The rate of decomposition will vary depending on your climate, the kind of bedding you use, and other factors. Your compost is "done" when, a week after your last turning, you find no heat or steam in the pile.

Let the finished pile stand for several months to "cure," or it will be too acidic to use on your garden. You don't need to turn it during this curing process.

Use the cured compost in your garden to improve the soil, or as a mulch around trees or between plant rows.

This article orginally appeared in the October 1999 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.

nextyear
Jul. 4, 2010, 11:07 AM
There are tons of regulations in Ma. concerning manure and composting.
Call Farm Bureau.FB is in Ashland 881-4766, When I was with FB on the Equine advisory comm. we put a booklet together to help all horse farms of every size.

Rabtfarm
Jul. 6, 2010, 07:06 AM
In regards to Equibrit's composting: I haul all our manure to a local large volume composter who then trades me his compost in exchange on a 5:1 basis. Other horse farms call this composter and he comes and loads the manure and hauls it away. Some charge to load and haul, other's may charge less if you load, etc. Everything will be dependent upon the hauling distance and the machine and labor time for loading if they have to provide it. I don't know of any composters in your immediate area, but I would check around.
With 4 horses you are generating about 12 yards of manure/shavings a month...or a pretty good sized truckload. I use a 3 yard power dump trailer and take the manure once a week along with the household trash that I am taking to the waste transfer station which is also on the way.

George

chai
Jul. 6, 2010, 11:46 AM
Rabtfarm, you are so lucky. We pay to dump our manure at an organic farm, but in this area, we feel like we are lucky to have that option.