Does Horse Manure Make Safe Compost?

Do horse feeds made of products treated with herbicides and pesticides create contaminated compost that threatens the health of future gardens? Can deworming your horses then composting their manure lead to drug residue in your pile? Find out how to make the most of your horse’s manure.
Share
Favorite
Please login

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Does Horse Manure Make Safe Compost?
At 30:1, horse manure has an ideal carbon-to-nitrogen ratio for composting. Bedding within the mix will also impact the level of microbial activity. | Photo: Stephanie L. Church/The Horse

Are you begging people to come take your horse manure for free—or perhaps even paying to have it hauled away? If so, it may be hard to imagine that your stable waste could be converted into something worth $30, $200, or even $1,000 per cubic yard.

The difference depends on how you compost it, says Rhonda Sherman, a solid waste extension specialist at North Carolina State University (NCSU). It’s not just heaping manure into a big pile and waiting for Mother Nature to do her job. Sure, this works. But the compost will likely be of the give-away variety, with weed seeds, pathogens, parasites, and chemical residues potentially contaminating it.

Not all livestock dung is created equal, Sherman points out, but horses that are eating good, balanced diets should produce compost-worthy waste. She is unconcerned about horses being fed beet pulp-based feeds. Although 95% of sugar beets grown in the United States are “RoundUp Ready”—meaning genetically modified to withstand the glyphosate herbicide found in RoundUp—this chemical readily breaks down in organic matter when U.S. Composting Council guidelines are followed

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Betsy Lynch has been an equine industry professional for 30-plus years as an editor, writer, photographer, and publishing consultant. Her work appears in breed, performance, and scientific journals. Betsy owns her own business, Third Generation Communications. She is a graduate of Colorado State University, continues to keep horses, and lives near Fort Collins, Colorado.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

How do you prevent gastric ulcers in horses? Please check all that apply.
159 votes · 373 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!