As a horse or livestock owner, we all know that manure is something that just comes with the job. Whether you’re picking stalls daily, weekly, or even cleaning up pastures, you have to develop a plan of what you’re going to do with the manure once it is collected. After collection, the plan needs to include how you will store the manure, whether it be short or long term, and then how you will dispose of it when the time comes. A common manure management plan that many people practice is manure stockpiling.
On average, around 12 tons of manure and dirty bedding will be removed yearly from a horse’s stall, that is inside every day with the occasional turnout. If you have multiple horses, the amount of waste removed from your horse’s stall is a great deal. This is why an efficient stockpiling manure management plan is imperative to your farm.
So, how do you develop this stockpile manure management plan? First, you will need to find a location that is far enough away from your farm, so it will not be a nuisance to you, your borders, or close neighbors to store a large pile of manure. Ideally, this location will be on high enough ground, where tractors and manure spreaders can access it at any time of the year. It is also essential to keep this pile away from areas where floodwater can carry the water runoff to nearby waterways. This can easily pollute the water and cause harm to the environment.
Some reasons that you want to keep this stockpile of manure away from your farm and out of your pastures is to reduce the amount of pests, the odor, and the unappealing aesthetics of the pile. With stockpiling, the manure will get wet and be the perfect environment for flies and parasites to live in. You want to keep your horses and livestock away from these pests as much as possible. The odor and looks of a large decaying manure pile are unappealing to most, and many farm owners want to keep the “out of sight (and smell) out mind” mentality.
After you have decided where you will keep your manure stockpile, next is to determine how you will begin adding manure to the pile. An easy way to do this is to have a short term storage pile near your barn where it can be stored weekly. Each week, move the pile from short term storage to your stockpile. ABI recommends transferring your manure with a PTO spreader. This will allow you to take fewer trips to and from the pile, and once you reach your pile, your ABI spreader will be able to shred the manure and soiled bedding into the stockpile. The benefit of shredding the manure before adding it to your pile is breaking the clumps down to allow it to dry out and decompose much quicker.
Once your stockpile is grown in size and warm spring weather comes around, it is a great time to begin spreading your pile on your empty fields. Choosing a spreader with variable speed controls is extremely beneficial if your preferred manure management plan is stockpiling. This is because variable flow control allows the spreader to handle a broader range of manure. The consistency of your stockpile can change depending on manure type, bedding material, stage of decomposition, and weather. The ideal weather to spread in is a hot sunny day. This is because the sun and heat allow for the finely shredded manure to decompose much quicker, allowing the nutrients into the ground more quickly. With the extra nutrients added to your fields, whatever crop is intended to be planted there will flourish.
Without an efficient manure management plan and manure spreading equipment, it is hard for a farm to stay clean, pest-free, and even enjoyable to be around. Who wouldn’t want to be at a clean barn where you never want to leave? Make sure you have an effective plan in place so that it can lead to more time spent with your horses and livestock!