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Hay from field fertilized with bio solids

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    Hay from field fertilized with bio solids

    My neighbor makes my round bales. He has beautiful hay that my horses love. This winter he fertilized with bio solids. Is it safe to feed my horses the hay he makes next year? If it is safe, has anyone had any issues with horses turning their noses up at the hay?

    The fields were fertilized mid-November. He normally starts cutting hay in May.

    from page seven of below link
    High-quality grass hay or grass silage can be produced with biosolids. Because biosolids supply both N and S (key nutrients in protein), biosolids application is particularly effective in increasing forage protein. Livestock managers may need to adjust grazing management or animal diets (by adding appropriate salts or other supplements) to take advantage of the high-protein forage
    There are federal rules administered by USEPA sets thresholds for trace element concentration in biosolids

    see page 12

    for local info, Page 14

    All state agencies use a site approval process that conforms with USEPA rules. Detailed information on site approval processes can be found on state agency websites.
    link to extensive research article



      If you're talking about the remnants of human septic tanks, i wouldn't want that on my property period. I'm not convinced that all the treatments they use eradicates all the potentially hazardous contaminants that remain in the solid waste.
      I wouldn't even used chicken manure on my fields even though the old time farmers here recommend it.
      There are just too many communicable bacteria remaining in human waste, IMO.
      "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


        I unknowingly bought a load of hay fertilized with this stuff and my horses refused to eat it. My neighbors also got some for their goats at the same time and the goats refused it. The neighbors did a little questioning and that's when they found out about the septic sludge (or whatever its called) being sprayed on the fields.


          Horses will sometimes refuse to eat overfertilzed hay. I always understood it to be about nitrogen levels. They also won't eat the gorgeous grass that sprouts out of fresh manure.


            ^^^^ Maybe horses are smarter than we think.
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin


              Original Poster

              Thanks, all. That's what I was afraid of. Looks like I'll be looking for a new round bale supplier next year. Ugh.


                I've always wondered if the reason they've evolved to avoid the grass around the manure piles is because of the worm larvae? IOW, the horses who avoided it were more likely to survive to reproduce?


                  Many years back (15+) I used to buy Timothy from a local farmer who grew beautiful fields. One year, he had fertilized with this - and remember this was back when it was a very brand new thing and not something you really heard about. More I believe in the experimental stage still. Anyways, I thought it was odd but what do I know? So I got my hay as usual.
                  Mare got sick. And I mean, call the vet sick. Cow patty manure, temp, vet tubed her with charcoal and I had to give those huge penicillin shots, IIRC I was giving about 3 shots a day. By the time it was over her hind quarters looked like a pincushion. Damn grateful she was so stoic about it, and even more grateful it didn't result in a bout of laminitis.

                  I cannot prove it was the hay that made her sick, but to this day it's what I believe.

                  I will not use biosolids in my yard/garden and I sure as hell don't want it on my horses hay.


                    Some years back a lawyer I knew in a neighboring county who did this. He was assured of the content of the material (all biodegradable, no plastic, metal, or other materials). When went to see what it was his field looked like he was raising plastic (used condoms, tampon applicators, bags, etc.). He was LIVID!!! Turns out he was dealing with an agent for an "aggregator" of waste, not a single, point source of waste. It took him several weeks to actually ID the source and that meant the number of defendants kept multiplying! He ultimately got it cleaned up and paid as soon as he got the State EPA to get on case.

                    I would think if the generator of the material is following the rules then it would be OK. But I'd still want to know where the waste came from. If it was a facility that was primarily serving private residences I might not be too concerned. But if it's coming from an industrial area or big city then I'd probably say "no."

                    To the OP, go look at the fields and see what you see (and smell). If you are in an area of significant rainfall your chances of a pretty clean crop would be very good. You can also "sample" the crop before bailing and see how your horses react. If they don't care then I wouldn't. If they did then I would.

                    Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


                      Originally posted by kande04 View Post
                      I've always wondered if the reason they've evolved to avoid the grass around the manure piles is because of the worm larvae? IOW, the horses who avoided it were more likely to survive to reproduce?
                      This is a good reason to avoid grass in poop piles.

                      However horses will eat straight fresh poop!

                      So I think with the beautiful green poop grass they must be reacting to a taste or nutrient profile. I've had experienced horse and hay people say horses also avoided hay over fertilized with chicken manure. And that they've gotten diarrhea from over fertilized hay. Not a scary infection as noted above just the runs. That could also be about excess sugars too.

                      So I think there must be a taste or belly reaction keeping them off this new grass. I agree that it is a very useful thing for keeping horses away from worms and also foraging in new clean areas if they have the choice.


                        I would not knowingly buy hay from bio fertilized fields. Everytime they tell you how safe it is, bad things seem to happen anyway. I believe there is a lot going on in breaking it down that they don't know yet. To me, just not worth the chance of making animals sick or killing them.

                        We fertilize using granular fertilizer products mixed according to the soil test results. No Urea in the mix because of possible problems it causes to hoofed animals.

                        I expect the bio stuff is way cheaper than granular, though the unspecified additives in the contents doesn't mean it is ACTUALLY HELPFUL to the crops grown on that field. I learned this buying compost for my garden. Compost "IS WONDERFUL" for plants, gardens is what I heard for years. So when I used it I expected wonderful benefits, many flowers. However it was not a balanced product in the minerals delivered. No numbers on the bag as to what it contained. I got almost no flowers on the perennials and shrubs, though they were green and leafy. Missed getting much in roses from dependable bushes!

                        Have since learned that Dairy Doo is about the only compost producer who lists the mineral values on their products. They will custom make and deliver compost to suit your crops various needs. They are Organic Certified for those Organic Certified farms to use their products and keep their certifications.

                        However it seems the name, Bio adds a feeling of safety to people's thinking, because it is a "natural" product. They seem more likely to buy and use BIO products without asking deeper questions!

                        This bio fertilizing still needs a lot of work done in the science area, proof of safety, standards of mixing, drying, cleaning it of micro-organisms, before I would want anything they grow on it.


                          If we are talking about sewage plant effluent just about anything could be in there including caffeine, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, prescription drugs, hormones. Every thing people piss out and everything industry dumps. It's way more hazardous potentially than any animal manure.


                            My opinion is that fertilizing with bio solids is no big deal. Assuming the solids meet the guidelines, and both the solids and the hay are from a reputable source I see no reason for concern.

                            I’ve been using the same hay provider for 6 years and they use bio solids. When I was searching for a hay source, I found the practice of using bio solids very common. It averages 15-18% protein around here. Small bales.

                            My horses love it, as well as boarders I’ve had. I’ve not heard of any issues with horses not eating it or getting sick at the large boarding facilities that feed it. As with any hay, I always let my hay cure for a minimum of 30 days before feeding.

                            There is a bunch of junk hay for sure but my experience has been that it’s related to what’s being grown and/or bad baling practices as opposed to what is used to fertilize it. Not to say there could also be really crappy bio solids too.


                              There's a hay guy up the road from me that uses human waste to fertilize his fields. My horses won't touch his hay, but that could have more to do with the fact that he cuts late and leaves it lie for way too long, so it basically looks like straw by the time it's baled up, brown and baked dry as the desert. Plenty of people swear by it, though, as he's one of the few that supplies 'tested low sugar' hay in the area. Methinks it's probably just plain low quality all around and horses are smart enough to know better.

                              I just chuckle at the folks paying premium prices for his eau de toilette hay.


                                Originally posted by Wind Horse View Post
                                My opinion is that fertilizing with bio solids is no big deal. Assuming the solids meet the guidelines, and both the solids and the hay are from a reputable source I see no reason for concern.

                                There is a bunch of junk hay for sure but my experience has been that it’s related to what’s being grown and/or bad baling practices as opposed to what is used to fertilize it. Not to say there could also be really crappy bio solids too.
                                Perhaps your area has better guidelines, established standards the Bio products have to meet, before letting them use it as fertilizer. Other areas, states or local, may lack such standards, so what the farmer gets (lawyer!) to spread is a mucky mess of unknowns.

                                Guidelines will obviously make a huge difference in the Bio product produced. They will also make the product a more reliable fertilizer source, and increase the cost.

                                As you say, junk hay can be from poor fields that are not correctly fertilized, kept reseeded, then cut at the correct time, dried and baled in a timely fashion. Poor farming practices there. Locally MANY farmers put up hay, but there is a huge difference in quality among them. Many cut hay too late, waiting for a holiday (July 4th) to have time to work. No nutrition in it. Bale up rained on hay, losing even more nutrition from the late cut stuff. And they want $6-7 a bale for it this year! They are unwilling to spend time learning good practices, doing soil testing, unwilling to invest (fertilizer, seed) in their land to produce a good crop.