Managing Mount Manure

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If you care for horses on your own place then at some time you probably have wondered what to do with that huge mound of manure piling up behind the barn. Did you know that one horse produces about 50 lbs. of manure per day and over eight tons per year? Add to that the 8 to 10 gallons of urine and the wheelbarrow or more of bedding and in no time at all you have a virtual manure mountain. All that stall waste takes up a whole lot of valuable space that you would probably enjoy using for far more interesting things than manure storage!

I am a big advocate of having a manure management plan for your horse place. It makes a place more chore efficient (sooo much easier to take care of and enjoy!) and it reduces fly habitat as well as the chance of your horses getting re-exposed to parasites. Environmentally speaking, runoff from soggy manure piles can cause serious water quality issues for creeks and wetlands, even drinking water. Plus, many areas of the country now have ordinances that strictly control these types of water quality issues.

There are many useful ways to manage manure and stall waste, but composting is by far my personal fav.

The heat generated in the compost process kills worm eggs, fly larva, disease pathogens and weed seeds. Composting also reduces odors as well as the sheer volume of material piled up; the composting process will decrease the size of the pile by about 50% (this takes about 2 to 6 months.) Plus, it provides us with a free, easy source of compost, an important soil amendment

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Written by:

Alayne Blickle, a lifelong equestrian and ranch riding competitor, is the creator/director of Horses for Clean Water, an award-winning, internationally acclaimed environmental education program for horse owners. Well-known for her enthusiastic, down-to-earth approach, Blickle is an educator and photojournalist who has worked with horse and livestock owners since 1990 teaching manure composting, pasture management, mud and dust control, water conservation, chemical use reduction, firewise, and wildlife enhancement. She teaches and travels North America and writes for horse publications. Blickle and her husband raise and train their mustangs and quarter horses at their eco-sensitive guest ranch, Sweet Pepper Ranch, in sunny Nampa, Idaho.

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