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How small of a space for spreading manure can I get away with?

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  • How small of a space for spreading manure can I get away with?

    I am so happy to say that after owning my farm for 12 years I finally got a tractor!! A nice shiny new green one!

    What to do with the manure has always kind of been an issue. I have about 2 acres of woods that I have been dumping it in. It doesn't suck, but it's always been a temporary "fix". Have thought about going the dumpster route, or buying a dump trailer and hauling it off. Composting really wasn't an option since I did not have a tractor and I have no idea how to do it. My personal choice though would be to get a spreader and spread it. Spreading in the fields is not an option since I don't have enough to be able to close one for any length of time.

    My question is, how small of a space can I get away with using only for spreading manure for about 6 horses? The woods are going to be cleared, so I was thinking setting aside a half acre would work? Would like to have at least one acre of it to be another little pasture space. Thoughts? Opinions? Or am I just totally clueless on this one?
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  • #2
    No....a half-acre won't work. You're just going to have a half acre that slowly becomes covered in poop.

    If you can't spread it on the fields (and I'm not sure that you have enough fields for it to work anyway, even if you could close one off) I would pile it somewhere, and sell it in the spring to gardeners. Or even give it away.

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    • #3
      Now that you have a tractor you can wrangle your manure up in mounds that turn to wonderful compost in just 2 years, all by themselves, without you having to do a thing. A half-acre is certainly big enough for that.
      Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

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      • #4
        It's too complicated for me to figure out easily without much more information. It depends on the nutrient value in your manure, the amount of rainfall that you get, and the permeability of your soil.

        Can you offer the manure to a local market gardener or farmer?
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        • #5
          Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
          Now that you have a tractor you can wrangle your manure up in mounds that turn to wonderful compost in just 2 years, all by themselves, without you having to do a thing. A half-acre is certainly big enough for that.
          Any sort of large pile will work. Ideally if you did 2-3 bins, 12 foot square, and rotated them, spreading the manure from the first when the last was filled, unless you have too many horses and too much manure, would work.
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          • #6
            You should read about pelleted bedding and composting. Without doing much of anything, but putting it in a pile pelleted bedding composts and reduces to next to nothing in a couple years. Pellets compost on their own and are ready to use in 6-12 months. If you manage it a bit more and turn it regularly it's better quality and it can be ready to go in a couple months. Gardeners will beg you to let them come and take it away!

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the replies so far. I will look more into composting and see if it may be a good fit for me.

              draftdriver, I will answer your questions as best I can. My soil is sandy so very permeable. My area normal yearly rainfall is above 60 inches per year. My horses make about 3/4 wheelbarrows of manure a day. I use plain old pine sawdust(not shavings) from my local lumber mill.

              I will also certainly look around for a place that may be able to use it. I would happily invest in a dump trailer if I had a farmer or garden place or the like to take it to on a regular basis.
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              • #8
                I'd do the put it in a big pile thing and let it compost. If you can turn it with the tractor periodically, great.

                I've never had a problem with getting rid of compost. Posting an ad on Craigslist is generally sufficient. You could also look into selling/giving it to a landscape company as another way to get rid of it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                  Now that you have a tractor you can wrangle your manure up in mounds that turn to wonderful compost in just 2 years, all by themselves, without you having to do a thing. A half-acre is certainly big enough for that.
                  This is absolutely correct. I used to turn the piles a lot more than I do now. It will compost just fine in a pile if you don't do a thing to it. It just takes longer. Pam tested some after 2 years just sitting in a pile, and it tested perfect for anything. I think I had turned that pile once. If we get a poor spot that the grass needs some help, or she needs it for gardening it's very valuable and will grow anything.

                  We have seven horses and a front-end loader.
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