If you are not using your manure and stall waste on your property, or if you have more than you can utilize, consider an alternative, off-site use for manure and stall waste. In past blogs I have covered ways to give away stall waste. Here are other green disposal options.
Most landfills will accept manure if you are able to haul it there. Research this option first, because many landfills charge a tipping fee for livestock manure and some even require a special handling fee. However landfill operators in some parts of the country such as in Florida will take horse manure and stall waste for free, using it as the “topsoil” to cover debris. In other cases, taking manure and stall waste to a landfill just to take up valuable space in our finite landfills is not a good use of a renewable resource. Consider other green options below first.
Local Topsoil or Compost Facilities
Research local topsoil or compost facilities. These places are usually permitted to accept livestock waste. Some will accept it for free; others charge a small tipping fee.
Area Nurseries, Tree Farms, Crop Farmers, and Other Agricultural Crop Producers
Check area nurseries, tree farms, crop farmers, and other agricultural crop producers including specialty crops like flowers, garlic or vineyards. These agricultural businesses can put manure and stall waste to good use. Smaller local agricultural businesses such as CSAs (community supported agriculture) might be interested in accepting horse manure to compost and use in their operations. A relationship in this kind of situation could lead to a long-term, beneficial solution.
Organic farmers might especially be interested in composted horse manure if it is free of dewormers. If you work to reduce chemical use on your property this might be an option for you.
Perhaps you can negotiate a trade with other livestock operators. The vast majority of parasites and pathogens are species-specific. This means the diseases and worms that affect horses are not going to affect sheep or cows, for instance. An effective manure management plan might be to “trade” manure with a different type of livestock operation–providing each of you has pastures you can spread it on. Often times dairies will take horse stall waste and use as bedding. Many farms do manure trades, one neighbor with beef cattle or lamas may take horse manure in trade for their ruminant manure. The advantage to that is you aren’t spreading parasites on your fields that your animals can get reinfected with.
What other useful and green off-site manure disposal options have you discovered in your area?