Composting horse manure?

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I have always heard that cow manure is vastly better for gardening than horse manure, but I do have a neighbor with a horse. What if I composted the horse manure and allowed it to age for a year or two before use?
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A Yahoo search on <Compost "horse manure"> produced these and other results: whatcom.wsu.edu/ag/compost/horsecompost.htm www.piercecountycd.org/tip_compmanure_p.html www.ehow.com/how_5474391_compost-horse-manure.html
Based on them, three months in the summer and six months in the winter is adequate for horse manure in a compost pile.
Because horses and cows are vegetarians, their manures are preferable to that of other animals. But are manure needs to be composted for three to six months before applying to the soil.
Dick
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In article

<http://www.plantea.com/manuer.htm
How common manures measure up Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit N 1.1 .257 .70 .70 2.4 P .80 .15 .30 .30 1.4
K .50 .25 .60 .40 .60
Manure Sheep Alfalfa Fish Emulsion N .70 3 5
P .30 1 1
K .90 2 1
Sources: Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, An Illustrated Guide to Organic Gardening, by Sunset Publishing, and the Rodale Guide to Composting.
Note: Nutrient values of manures vary greatly, depending on the diet and age of the animals, and the nature and quantiy of bedding in the mix.
Chicken manure Poultry manure (chicken in particular) is the richest animal manure in N-P-K. Chicken manure is considered "hot" and must be composted before adding it to the garden. Otherwise, it will burn any plants it comes in contact with.
Dairy (cow) manure "Dairy Manure may be the single most useful soil-builder around," says Ann Lovejoy, lifetime organic gardener and writer in Seattle, Washington. "Washed dairy manure from healthy cows is just about perfect for garden use; it can be used as a topdressing and for soil improvement," she adds. Dairy manure is preferable to steer manure, which has a higher salt and weed seed content. Though cow manure has low nutrient numbers, that's what makes ist safe to use in unlimited quantities.
Horse manure Horse manure is about half as rich as chicken manure, but richer in nitrogen than cow manure. And, like chicken droppings, it's considered "hot". Horse manure often contains a lot of weed seeds, which means it's a good idea to compost it using a hot composting method.
Steer manure Steer manure is one of the old standbys, but it's not the most beloved because it often contains unwanted salts and weed seeds.
--

Billy

E Pluribus Unum
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Davej wrote:

There is not a huge difference between the two in nutrient content once you allow for the difference in water content. Fresh from the beast, cow has more water than horse, once dried out not so much. There are small differences depending on the diet of the beast and other variations. Horse and cow are NOT like chicken manure or synthetic fertilisers in that even when fresh you would have to put a lot on to sensitive plants to burn them. Used thoughtfully it isn't a problem. Once it has aged a bit you can plant straight into it, I got 100kg of pumpkins off a volunteer vine that grew where the heap was one year.
I use horse all the time and it is excellent. There is no need to compost it for ages, I have used it hot to trot so to speak on well established trees and shrubs. Normally I collect it in winter when it is easiest and leave it in a pile til spring without any attention, this will break up the pucks and reduce the smell to almost nothing. If you age it for years you will lose nutrients - but the grass downhill from the compost heap will grow very well.
You need to consider the provenance of the manure, whatever seeds the horses are eating many will survive their gut and germinate once the manure is spread. A short period of hot composting will kill the seeds or just try it on a small area and see what happens, it may or may not be a problem.
In my view whatever organic matter you can get locally and cheaply (or free) is always superior to what you may buy or truck in.
To all those who say that it is essential to compost manure before use, I ask why?
David
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This comes from CAFOs where steers are fed grains that acidify their stomachs,

Again, it comes from CAFOs where animals are routinely given anti-biotics. Washing your hands will go a long way towards cutting transmission.

A sound choice, but I hate to see perfectly good manure go to waste.

--

Billy

E Pluribus Unum
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Billy wrote:

...
i'm not sure the exact source has ever been tracked down, but if you read anything in passing wing it my way.
...

me too, but it costs me money to bring in outside manures anyways. if i can do everything i need without the expense then it's a big improvement in my costs.
songbird
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songbird wrote:

No but I am sure it's nasty

Can you give me a reference for these statements?

How would you know that?

There are some very nasty bugs around: what chance they are found in manure, what chance you catch them from it (assuming you are not eating the stuff) and will composting kill every one? Once you discount the yuck factor what is the real risk? I don't know the answer to any of those questions. I have been handling horse for years and never got poisoning. You can get some terrible bugs from supermarket lettuce, it seems to happen in the USA every other week. We live in a soup of gazillions of microbes, in our air, soil and water, and on our skin and every surface in our dwellings. Life is a lottery that we all play.
David
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The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan <(Amazon.com product link shortened) 583/ref=pd_bbs_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid06815576&sr=1-1> (Available at a library near you, as long as they remain open.)
p.82
One of the bacteria that almost certainly resides in the manure I'm standing in is particularly lethal to humans. Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is a relatively new strain of the common intestinal bacteria (no one had seen it before 1980) that thrives in feedlot cattle, 40 percent of which carry it in their gut. Ingesting as few as ten of these microbes can cause a fatal infection; they produce a toxin that destroys human kidneys.
Most of the microbes that reside in the gut of a cow and find their way into our food get killed off by the strong acids in our stomachs, since they evolved to live in the neutral pH environment of the rumen. But the rumen of a corn-fed feedlot steer is nearly as acidic as our own stomachs, and in this new, man-made environment new acid-resistant strains of E. coli, of which 0157:H7 is one, have evolvedyet another creature recruited by nature to absorb the excess biomass coming off the Farm Belt. The problem with these bugs is that they, can shake off the acid bath in our stomachsand then go on to kill us. By acidifying the rumen with corn we've broken down one of our food chain's most important barriers to infection. Yet another solution turned into a problem.
We've recently discovered that this process of acidification can be reversed, and that doing so can greatly diminish the threat from E. coli 0157:H7. Jim Russell, a USDA microbiologist on the faculty at Cornell, has found that switching a cow's diet from corn to grass or hay for a few days prior to slaughter reduces the population of E. coli 0157:H7 in the animal's gut by as much as 80 percent. But such a solution (Grass?!) is considered wildly impractical by the cattle industry and (therefore) by the USDA. Their preferred solution for dealing with bacterial contamination is irradiation-essentially, to try to sterilize the manure getting into the meat.
So much comes back to corn, this cheap feed that turns out in so many ways to be not cheap at all. While I stood in pen 63 a dump truck pulled up alongside the feed bunk and released a golden stream of feed. The black mass of cowhide moved toward the trough for lunch. The $1.60 a day I'm paying for three meals a day here is: a bargain only by the narrowest of calculations. It doesn't take into account, for example,
THE FEEDLOT: MAKING MEAT 83
the cost to the public health of, antibiotic resistance or food poisoning by E.coli 0157:H7. It doesn't take into account the cost to taxpayers of the farm subsidies that keep Poky's (feed lot) raw materials cheap. And it certainly doesn't take into account all the many environmental costs incurred by cheap corn.

--

Billy

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Very US centric Billy - Feedlot, corn diet for humans, put cattle on grass feed. No wonder David's not heard of it.
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"Twas that it were true, "From its American and West European heartland factory farming became globalised in the later years of the twentieth century and is still expanding and replacing traditional practices of stock rearing in an increasing number of countries.[15] In 1990 factory farming accounted for 30% of world meat production.[15] By 2005 this had risen to 40%.[16]" <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factory_farming#History>
I agree completely, we should eat the corn and pasture the steers. The meat will cost more, but cleaning the environment will be cheaper.
Too often the Animal Factories just want to get the most money as quickly as they can, and that means "privatizing the profits, and socializing the costs". I have heard that factory farming can be operated humanely and cleanly, but that requires someone who won't skin the milk cow.
--
Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry
Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby
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Farm1 wrote: ...

i'd treat manure from any source like i'd treat chicken from the grocery store. assume contamination and wash with non-bacterialcide loaded soap anything that came in contact with it.
on your own farm, with your own animals and controls you can do as you like and be quite safe. this however, doesn't apply to a lot of the rest of the world that is getting hit by a lot of feedlot meat and manure.
i'm doing my best to avoid the trouble by trying not to use outside manures, animals or meats. i don't get sick that often either. before i'd changed my habits i was getting sick several times a month. now it's once or twice a year (if that).
songbird
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The problem is solved if the meat is thoroughly cooked. With hamburger, that means no pinkness in the middle, unless you saw it ground.

--

Billy

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What the .........??? Getting sick one of twice a year is appalling and as for 'several times a month'!!!!!!
What on earth are you eating? Or perhaps more to the point, where are you eating?
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Farm1 wrote:

i wouldn't mind skipping those too! but if you live around people or go out in public it's very hard to avoid all bugs.

_was_, i used to eat fast-food three to five days a week, but i also was using a lot of low cost budget chicken once or twice a week. and i had a on-going food sensitivities going on which were part of the trouble. so even if the meat was well cooked and i always did right with food handling it still meant i'd get sick once in a while.
stopping fast-food solved some of the problem. not eating chicken regularly made another chunk of difference and then figuring out the remaining food sensitivities and getting my gut bacteria population "reset" took care of the most the rest of it. now it's just a once in a while thing -- usually from when we try a new place out. so far my great weaknesses i keep to "treats" once every few months now and i'm being more careful there too so they aren't causing me problems.
songbird
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Derald wrote:

yep, make sure things are washed and cooked and not cross contaminated (by using the same knife or cutting board when switching from meat to veggie preparation and washing hands in between).
however, for fresh veggies, it takes just one splash to contaminate an item and then once the bacteria are on the surface the further processing might not remove them. including washing. bacteria form colonies covered by films that prevent easy destruction. the only reason more people don't get sick is that the bacteria are mostly harmless anyways.
the trouble is that produce is often washed when harvested and then processed, the wash water gets contaminated (from animal manure or human poo if the people don't wash their hands after they poo) and then it contaminates whatever goes through that same water later.
most home growers don't wash their veggies in the same water over and over again and if they don't wash their hands after pooing they are only likely infecting a few people and not potentially thousands of people.
as the scale of production goes up the scale of safety and testing should also go up, but sadly it has not and a lot of people are sickened by it and the costs of those illnesses are passed on to all of us via high rates of insurance and health care costs, disability, etc.

another bubbly sort. did you notice?
songbird
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Derald wrote:

Now you may encounter folks who announce they rinsed their veggies in dilute bleach to kill any bacteria. Plus sa change, plus sa mem chose.
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

aside from Billy's reference here is another i'm wading through now:
_Microbiology, Principles and Explorations_ by Jacquelyn Black, 5th ed, C 2002.
-----begin quote typoes my fault----- [i sure wish Billy would delimit his quotes similarly so i could figure out where the quotes start and stop ;) ]
p. 623-624
"Enterohemorragic strains of E.coli O157:H7 have caused deadly outbreaks... It began with 2 outbreaks in 1982, traced back to undercooked hamburbers in fast-food chain restarants. Out of 732 cases, in four Western U.S. states four children died. In Japan in 1996, more than 6000 school children were afffected. In the UK it is more likely to be acquired from lamb than beef. The CDC now requires reporting all cases. Because many cases are never diagnosed statistics are uncertain, but it is estimated that 21,000 infections per year occur in the U.S, with about 250 deaths. Its prevalence in Europe, Asia, Africa. and South America is unknown, but it is commonly reported from Canada.
E.coli H... is found in a small number of healthy cattle's intestines, where it is then passed out in the manure. Meat is not the only product that can be contaminated, apples picked up from manure-laden soil underneath apple trees were pressed into a lethal apple juice...
...Only about 100 cells are needed to start an infection,..." -----endquote-----
i tried to get the current infection rates (as this reference is over 10yrs old) from the CDC the other night, but my connection is slow and it barfed before i could get the pdf to download. i'd be interested to see it sometime, i doubt it is fewer, but we'll see.

he works closely with a lot of stressed and abused horses from many places so he has new animals coming through at times. many of these animals are sick and treated with antibiotics.

no, composting will not kill every one, but it reduces the bad guys and increases the competitor bacterial population and fungi so that at least is better than getting the manure straight. but if you use a shovel to move the poo and then don't disinfect the shovel and then use that same shovel to turn a veggie patch then you've just spread the bacteria accidentally. luckily most of them are killed off in one way or another, but hit your shin with that same shovel and break the skin and...

if you eat meat in the USoA you're likely getting some exposures to many various bacteria that haven't been caught (or are caught too late) or reported. the regulations in this country are pretty weak and the processing is fast and furious.
we recieved a phone call for one meat recall (the company had our phone number and the barcode of the item). by sheer luck we had put that meat in the freezer and so Ma had to go out and buy 10lbs unfrozen to use for some immediate cooking for (counting roughly) 50 possible people. how many people used the recalled meat right away and how many infections could they have caused? hundreds or thousands as it is a meat source for many businesses.

you live in a different country and handle your own horses. this is much different than how a lot of manures and animals are treated here. there's a lot of movement of animals and it's easy for one infected animal to contaminate a transport vehicle, shute, holding area, barn, manure lagoon, stream, well, ... once that's done it's very hard to get rid of.

yes, and most of those bugs are from manures.

yes, i agree with you in general. i cannot avoid them, but i can learn about them and work with them in various ways (eating good bacteria to outcompete the bad guys, burying contaminated items deeply, mulching to prevent splashing, etc.).
the interesting thing about bacteria is that besides being so many species (estimated currently at over 5 million in some readings i've done) they transfer genes around and it's not that uncommon a thing at all. so the nasty bugs can transfer those genes to bacteria that normally aren't nasty. they suspect that is how E.coli O157:H7 got going (likely reinforced by antibiotic use on feedlots). i don't know if they've looked back further or not (for signs of it in frozen blood samples from many years ago).
songbird
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Is anyone at all still concerned about aminopyralid in manure?
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No. And I'm not concered about any other forms of goobers in manure either.
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says...

AKA Milestone (Dow)... and others in the same class of persistent herbicide.
Billy has the right of it... --Even then, if the hay season goes wrong and they have to buy hay, the manure can become contaminated.
The issue dropped off my horizon for awhile but a very quick search revealed problems still arising in the UK, USA and a whiff of concern in Oz as of 2011.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2011/jul/15/vegetabl es-disease-aminopyralid-pesticide
http://aussieorganicgardening.com/?p 78
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id 3267117384898&_fb_noscript=1
With this in mind I'm going to suggest to my wife that we should put together a pre-season advisory flyer for our community gardeners.
Gotta keep a step ahead.
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