Composting Manure 101

May 05, 2021 2 min read

If you have horses on your property, you have had to do some pre-preparing to make things safe and secure for your four-legged friends. One thing that people tend to look past is manure management. Did you know that one horse produces about 50 pounds of manure per day and more than eight tons per year? With a horse, comes LOTS of manure. Manure can be quite a hassle if you do not have a good plan for it. It can also become a danger to your horse. If you have not already found a way to manage your horse’s manure, we have an answer for you – composting!

Composting is a pretty easy way to control manure around your property. Composting has many benefits associated with it: 

  1. Reduces manure pile size.
  2. Reduces flies, runoff, and odors.
  3. Heat generated by composting kills worm eggs, fly larvae, pathogens and weed seeds.
  4. Compost is an asset to your pastures, gardens, or yards.

To create your compost system, you must first find a location on your property that will work best. Choose an area with year-round easy access that is convenient for chores. If possible, pick a level, well-drained spot far from waterways or wells so any runoff does not contaminate surface or groundwater. Next, you must start to build the bins for the manure or manure piles. If you choose to do piles, the pile needs to be about three cubic feet in size to create heat. If you choose to build bins, they should be about 8’x8’x5’. This will allow you to store manure for about six months (keep in mind, this is for one horse!). You may want to create at least two piles or two bins for extra storage.

Covering with a tarp, plastic sheet, or a roof during the rainy season prevents the compost’s valuable nutrients from washing away and causing environmental problems. It also keeps compost from becoming a soggy mess in the winter and crispy-dry in the summer. You will also need to turn your compost pile so that it will get air to it. This will speed up the composting process. Composting generally takes between three to six months. The compost material will be textured and crumbly like dirt. Composting is a very easy and efficient way to manage your manure. Happy spring, good luck!



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