With each horse producing on average 50 pounds of manure a day, and up to 10 tons a year, horse owners and stable managers are often faced with a recurrent waste disposal problem. Having a good manure management and recycling system in place is crucial to keeping a clean property, reducing the number of flies and potential insect-borne diseases at your stable, and minimizing the impact on the environment. Below are a few options for managing manure and organic waste at your property:
Stable manure can be used as a soil fertilizer for your garden or pasture. Using a field tractor or spreader, manure can be spread as a thin layer over the soil during dry weather conditions. It is important to ensure to keep it away from cold or damp ground, and from any water source. This can be a good solution if you have a large property and are able to rotate horses to different fields. If you are spreading the manure on your own pasture, ensure to have your horses in a separate field for a few weeks, or have them on a regular deworming program to minimize the introduction of parasites.
Compost and Recycle Organic Matter:
Composting horse manure, bedding, food scraps and garden waste is a great way to recycle organic material and minimize flies and insects’ growth on your property. When done right, the organic decay from manure composting transforms into a rich soil that can yield valuable soil fertilizer. You may choose to keep this by-product for your land, give it away to neighbours, and depending on demand in your area, you may even be able to sell it in the form of fertilizer packages.
If you chose to set up a composting or recycling area at your barn, make sure to find a strategic location: one that is easily accessible so you can dump the manure and organic waste, while keeping it clear of other buildings, stalls, or residences. Make sure that your chosen location is away from water sources to prevent contamination and pollution.
Composting is an aerobic process, which means it requires oxygen. Bacteria and fungi use oxygen to break down organic matter and require a moist environment that is rich in nutrients to do their job. Using a pitchfork, a tractor, or other equipment to mechanically turn the pile over will help air out the manure and keep the oxygen flowing. This will facilitate decomposition and will eliminate foul-smells. To keep your compost pile moist, you may want to occasionally spray the compost pile with water.
Alternatively, you may also choose to refer to an environment consulting company, such as O2Compost, which offers an aerated compost system solution and hands-on training to ensure an easy-to-operate mechanism that does not require pile turning.
Get it Hauled:
Another way to dispose of the manure at your stable is to have it hauled. Ideally, this should be arranged on a weekly basis. Horse manure can be valuable to farmers, gardeners, or even neighbours who may benefit from manure as soil fertilizer. You may contact local farms or place an ad in your area to see if there is a demand for it. In some instances, you may have to contract a manure hauler to remove the waste. If you cannot find anyone interested in collecting your stable’s manure, you can research online ‘manure collection services’ near your location to organize pick up.
Whether you own one horse or run a busy stable, making manure management system a priority is key to a clean and safe environment for you and your horses. Depending on the size of your property and the number of animals you own, you may find that some solutions are more sustainable than others. Don’t hesitate to contact your local Environmental Protection Authority for more information about recycling manure and organic waste in your area.
Additional Information & Links:
Aerated O2 Compost System: https://www.o2compost.com/
Manure Collection Services in Sydney- Full Cycle Organics: https://www.fullcycleorganics.com.au/shavings-and-manure
NSW Environment Protection Authority: https://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/
NSW Government- How to Compost on Farm: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/166476/how-to-compost-on-farm.pdf