View Full Version : Compost and herbicide usage

Blume Farm
Mar. 2, 2012, 06:39 PM
I have my fields sprayed every other year of so with an herbicide to help keep weeds under control. The hay I feed is local bought and I am sure he too manages his fields in a simialr fashion.

My question is if you read the "chemical insert" on most of these new generation herbicides it says the manure of horses grazing on these fields should not be used in gardens as it could impact the plants.

I have some really nice compost that has been diligently turned for over a year and looks super....but i am afraid to use it in my garden this year. What do you all do??

Maybe I should just spread it on the fields, but I would really love to use it in the vegetable and flower gardens...which was my original intention until I read that insert!!

Mar. 2, 2012, 06:57 PM
Exactly what chemical did you use?

Daydream Believer
Mar. 2, 2012, 06:57 PM
You really need to heed those warnings. Some of the newer herbicides can persist for several years and will kill your vegetables...it's some seriously nasty stuff. I won't use any herbicides on my farm so I don't worry about it.

Mar. 2, 2012, 07:05 PM

I really wouldn't use that stuff on my farm. :no: If I had one! :winkgrin:

Blume Farm
Mar. 2, 2012, 08:02 PM
I can't remember the name of the herbicide as it was applied by my Southern States so I don't have the packaging...but I looked it up last year and it was in that class of herbicides.

I totally get not wanting to use chemicals, but unfortunately in my scenario it is a necessity. Also, all our hay is local grown and I know those guys are not "organic" and use herbicides as well. Not sure what family of chemicals, but some type is used.

So according to the article posted by Xanthoria you may be feeding your horses hay/ grass that was treated anyway...unless of course you buy organic hay (not available where I live), do your own cutting, or research what your hay supplier is truly using.

Daydream Believer
Mar. 2, 2012, 09:42 PM
Thankfully my hay supplier does not spray his hay. It is beautiful timothy/orchard/clover and worth bringing in from N. York.

Mar. 3, 2012, 07:18 AM
I was wondering if you could do a germination test of your compost to see if it was safe to use yet and, lo and behold, that link included instructions:

This simple pot bioassay involves growing beans or peas, which are very sensitive to the presence of these herbicides, in the manure or compost. First, take a number of random, representative samples (small shovelfuls) from throughout the pile of manure or compost, being sure to get deep inside the pile. Mix thoroughly. If there are separate sources of manure or compost, conduct individual assays for each. Prepare 3 to 6 small (4- to 5-inch) pots with a 2:1 mix of the manure or compost and a commercial potting mix with fertilizer. Fill several control pots with only the commercial potting mix. Put saucers underneath each pot, or position the pots far enough apart so that water running out of the bottom of the pots will not reach another pot. Plant three pea or bean seeds in each pot, water, and let them grow for two to three weeks, until there are three sets of true leaves. If the peas or beans in the control pots grow normally and the ones in the pots with manure or compost do not, you can assume the manure or compost is contaminated with an herbicide which will adversely affect sensitive plants. If they all grow normally, it would be reasonable to assume that the manure or compost is fine. Keep in mind, however, that the test will be only as good as the samples you take. It would be better to err on the side of too many samples than too few (at least 20 per pile).

If concentrations are still too high and your compost is pretty much done 'cooking', you should be able to speed things up by spreading the compost out a bit and watering it/letting it get rained on for a while.