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Spreading fresh manure

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  • Spreading fresh manure

    Hi everyone! I am a longtime reader but new to posting. I have been reading about manure/composting but thought I'd post my question on here, as most of you seem to be experts!

    At the barn where I currently board, it is overcrowded (about 20 horses, 9ish acres) and only about 4 of those acres are grass. Right now their manure disposal system is to spread the fresh, uncomposted manure daily on the grassy pastures. These pastures were not used over the winter, but since the beginning of April we have started to use them. However the BM and BO are still spreading the fresh manure every day. They have no other real plans for manure disposal and/or composting.

    Am I right to be extremely concerned about worms?

  • #2
    Horses will avoid areas where they can smell manure. I would be concerned about worm eggs only if the manure wasn't spread thinly enough for the eggs to dry out and die before the horses were turned out . It's when piles sit and the eggs in the center stay moist that the eggs survive.

    I agree with you that composting and spreading last year's pile would probably be a better option but it is a lot more work than just spreading the new manure and having done with it.


    • #3
      I'd be interested to hear others' replies and manure management. I've seen it done and not given it much thought. If its spread thinly enough I wouldn't see it as much of an issue. I mean, its just as "damaging" to have un-flung piles of manure in the pasture, right?

      Shouldn't the issue be more of a worm management issue with the horses that are boarded there? I mean, its impossible to keep their "germs" seperate, right?

      I don't have this issue because mine are my own personal horses at home, so I am unfamiliar with current boarding practices. Where I used to board they would spread the manure along the bridle paths, or have a large manure pile away from the pastures that the mushroom farm would come and get.


      • Original Poster

        I have only ever been at barns that have either manure piles that they compost or have it taken away by waste management, so this new practice sort of took me by surprise. It makes sense that it wouldn't cause a lot of problems if it were spread thinly enough, but like I said we are not talking about very many acres, and there are a lot of horses with manure to spread. Right now the way the horses graze you can tell they are avoiding certain spots, but I don't think the grass in the spots they are grazing will last very long.

        How warm does it have to be for the worm eggs to be killed?

        Our barn does have a strict rotational worming schedule, but not many boarders do FECs ever, since it is not part of the barn's policy.


        • #5
          As I understand it; it's not that they have to be a certain temp to dry out but that the air and sun, wind, etc will dry the egg itself out and then it's no longer viable. It has to stay moist, as it would inside of a pile, to hatch out.


          • Original Poster

            That makes sense. I guess it mostly concerned me because of the size of the space it's being spread over. For now though I believe it is a thin layer, and they do take a harrow to the pastures to break up the piles, too.

            Anyone else who is knowledgeable in this area please feel free to chime in!


            • #7
              I boarded at a big farm that spread the fresh stall cleaning, but then again, it was 60 acres, the horses avoided the fresh spread areas until it had dried up or washed away. All of the horses were on the same de-worming rotation schedule, it was part of the boarding agreement.

              I have my own 9 acre pasture with 3 horses, and I spread fresh stall cleaning with a Newer Spreader. I am in Florida where the sun bakes it in less than 24 hours. And I have noticed that the horses don't graze where there is fresh manure.

              I also do FEC's on my horses, and they are all very low shedders, and are de-wormed based on results and recommendations from my vet.

              I have been here 6 years and have not had an issue.
              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


              • #8
                I rotate pastures and spread directly on the pastures not being used. It gives it time to dry out and not be a problem. I stop spreading a week or so before rotating back into that pasture. No issues.

                But 20 horses' worth of manure on 4 acres of grass seems like a lot to me, honestly. I have 3 horses and 8 acres of pasture. I wouldn't want to do more than 1 horse per acre max.


                • #9
                  if you are concerned, easy enough to take a couple of fresh pooballs to your vet in a ziploc and have them do a fecal count. Probably there is no need for concern and when you've done the fecals, you won't worry any more.

                  When I spread fresh manure, the hroses won't eat at that patch for several months and the grass grows long. My pastures rest each winter, and if they've been spread in the fall, in the spring the horses are eating from those areas again.
                  "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF


                  • #10
                    My first concern

                    My first concern would be what are 20 horses doing on 9 acres??????? Is that even legal for zoning? Is 9 acres the entire farm or just the horse area?

                    I would be out of there in a heart beat but pasture is one of my higher priorities.


                    • Original Poster

                      These pastures have been rested over the winter, and they have only started using them again for the last month or so. But obviously it is only May so the manure will continue to build up and horses will graze it down for the next 6 months or so...

                      I actually just got a FEC done on my horse, and found out the results today. He is in the "low shedder" range. But this is only the beginning of grazing season. I have been and will continue to monitor him with the FECs (and as a barn we follow a rotational worming schedule anyway).

                      BTW, I am trying to get out of here, for various reasons. The overcrowding of 20 horses on 9 acres is only a very, very small part of it. So if you know of a good place on the north side of Indy, please let me know (as long as it's not a "one trainer" barn - I already have a trainer and want to continue to use her).


                      • #12
                        Our local landscaper picks it up for free from a couple of area farms and rotates it until ready to add to loom. He sells the improved loom and we get our manure taken away for free a couple of times a year.


                        • #13
                          interesting sidebar- the zoning varies from place to place in terms of how many hroses one is allowed to keep. Here on an island, in one municipality, you are only allowed 1 horse per acre and you must have at least 2 acres to keep horses at all, but 5 km away in another municipality, there is NO LIMIT to the number of horses you can keep per acre as long as the neighbours don't find it a nuisance and the horses are not in plain view of the public ( i.e. I know one barn where there are around 30 horses on 7 acres, but the fence fronting the road is 6 feet tall and solid- the rest of the fences are standard 3 bar.) And then in my area, a scant 3 km south, we are allowed only 2 horses per acre and must have at least 1 acre.
                          "The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF