CHAL­LENGE 1

EQUUS - - Eq Tack & Gear -

MA­JOR MA­NURE PILES

If asked to name our big­gest chal­lenge in horse­keep­ing, most of us would prob­a­bly have the same an­swer: that ever-ex­pand­ing ma­nure pile. “The typ­i­cal 1,000-pound horse pro­duces al­most 40 pounds of ma­nure per day,” says Greene. “If your horse spends any time in a stall, you prob­a­bly add bed­ding, which can add an ad­di­tional 15 to 20 pounds of ma­te­rial to the equa­tion.” It’s easy to see why the ma­nure pile looms so large.

And that ma­nure pile is more than just an eye­sore. If you don’t com­post, ma­nure can har­bor par­a­sites like strongyles and round­worms. In the warm weather months, it will at­tract flies and other pests. When it rains, con­tam­i­nants from your ma­nure pile will leach into ground and sur­face wa­ters.

What you can do: Com­post it. If you’ve ever dug into the mid­dle of the ma­nure pile ei­ther with your trac­tor or a shovel, you’ll no­tice the in­te­rior is a lot like moist dirt. That’s com­post, which can be used as fer­til­izer or to amend soil in gen­eral. But if you’ve avoided com­post­ing be­cause it seems like a lot of trou­ble, take an­other look at the ba­sics. It’s eas­ier than you think.

“Cer­tain things must hap­pen for ma­nure and stall waste to go through the ac­tive com­post­ing process,” says Greene. “In the most ba­sic sense, there must be ad­e­quate aer­a­tion, mois­ture and the right tem­per­a­tures to al­low mi­crobes to con­vert static piles into fin­ished com­post.” For com­post­ing, make your ma­nure pile about twice as long at its base as it is high. That helps to keep the pile at the right tem­per­a­ture---be­tween 110 and 150 de­grees Fahren­heit. You can buy a com­post ther­mome­ter at most gar­den stores or nurs­eries. The high tem­per­a­tures kill off bad bac­te­ria and pathogens as well as break down

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