"cow manure & compost" really a mulch?

I just bought about a dozen bags of "Organic Valley" cow manure & compost. When I spread it out, small wood pieces made up roughly 1/3 of the whole composition!
The wood certainly is not composted, and I certainly would not feel right about selling something marketed as a composted cow manure and compost, when it has this much foreign matter.
Does this sort of thing happen often in the industry?
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You should have purchased "composted cow manure.
Whenever you buy "compost". regardless from who, you are buying a pig in a poke... compost is a verb (something occuring), not a noun (a finished finished product)... those wood chips are composting... compost is something one does, not something that is. The fully composted portion of organic matter is called "humus". There is one and *only* one way to know from what humus was composted, that's to make your own... composting is like grinding meat, the *only* way to know what/who's in it is to grind your own.
Mulch can be any solid matter that impedes plant growth, for gardening organic matter is desirable, but mulch can be stone, plastic, rubber, roofing shigles, broken glass, anything that doesn't readily decay.
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So is there a way we can make this something occurring to a finished product. (Thinking like throwing them alone in compost bin and wait for some time to see it as a finished product)
TIA.
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By cutting product with a less expensive one, the company increases profit. Laundry soap has been playing the filler and measuring-cup-size game a long time. Often, cow manure that is packaged for retail is mixed with compost, peat or sand. 100% cow manure is no longer locally available, as it was 5 years ago.
Not good if your mix contained a large amount of wood chips, buy no more. Better yet, tell us which brand to avoid. My woodshop produces more wood chips than I can give away, sure they compost but take an extra long time.
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composted cow manure. Buying composted cow manure in small bags is not very economical but very often that's all some may need. There is no reason to cheat on composted cow manure, it's not like there is any shortage of cow shit... no shortage of bull shit either, Victoria..
Anyway, commercially composted material is not a very wise choice regardless from whom it is purchased... and composted cow manure, or any composted llivestock manure is not a very good choice because livestock, especially cows do not eat a very varied diet.
And the typical bulk topsoil/compost merchant cheats, cheats big time, they fill their product with bank run (essentially clay and sand) and wet it down just prior to delivery so it looks nice. Composted wood chips is about the very worst choice. The *only* way to get quality composted material is to compost ones own... typical kitchen scraps, being of widely varied materials, make a far better composted material than anything one can buy.
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yeah; in fact, after my last "compost" purchase i determined to actually use the stuff as mulch from now on. at which it works pretty well, given that it is composty, compared to woodchip stuff. i plan to repeat the application this year.
this after quite a few years of trying quite a few brands from various garden stores and big box home centers. at this point, i consider a brand to be of the better quality if it at least doesn't have rocks in it. seriously, how many rocks do cows poop out? i had tried laboriously screening the stuff (literally, with screen) to get out the big junk, but it's way too labor intensive.
i crank out my own compost from whatever cellulose comes to hand; mostly vacuumed up leaves from the edges/corners of the lawn, but also weeds, any left over kitchen greenery, dead houseplants, etc. my mower is a mulching mower, so the grass clippings and majority of the leaves are mowed into the lawn. i only get maybe a cubic yard of the homemade good stuff per year, so it goes where the need is greatest.
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oh yeah, and the other thing, like the guy mentioned, it's somehow always sopping wet, even though lately i've been taking care to get the bags before they've been rained on at the store. it hadn't occurred to me that they're soaked a priori to up the weight, but that makes sense. honestly, it's so damn messy, i'd be happy to pay more it it were dry. (i've tried some of the "dehydrated" stuff which comes in a thinner bag with less weight, but it's still not dry)
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the raw horse poop in bags which I get for free from some local horse studs also contains some wood chip. That comes from the horses stalls. After composting, the poop & chips are nicely broken down. Much better to poop for free in cases like you have explained.
rob
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I'm afraid that I'm going to disagree with pretty much all the previous reponses.....with the exception of perhaps brooklyn's first :-)
As stated, 'compost' describe a process, not necessarily the end result. One can compost anything with organic origins - kitchen waste, plant parts, bark and wood products (including sawdust), animal waste....even the animals themselves. In fact, a more or less finished compost product is made up of a lot of dead animals, but they are too small to see :-) There is absolutely nothing wrong with a compost product that contains visible bark or wood chips - it is just not a totally finished compost product. But then few - including any home composts - are totally 'finished'. Fully finished compost is humus, the ultimate end result of the composting process. It takes a long time to achieve this state and an awful lot of input for not very much output, which is why purchasing anything labeled as "humus" tends to be very pricey. And extremely hard to find. Virtually all commercial composts will be partially finished, as will 99% of home composts. And there's nothing wrong with that!
So there is nothing "foreign" about including wood products in something labeled as compost. There is no false advertising or anything underhanded or sneaky about including them in a composting product. The wood products, like any other organic matter, will continue to decompose and add value and nutrients to the soil. They just take longer to breakdown and lose obvious visual identification than other, faster decomposing plant material. And if you have the impression that "mulch" is a specific product, that again is more of a process than a product - a mulch is anything that is applied to the top layer of the soil to guard against erosion, insulate the soil, prevent evaporation and deter weeds. An organic mulch also adds benefit by eventually improving the soil texture and providing nutrients as it decomposes (very much like any 'compost'!). Compost itself can be used as a mulch - it is the ony mulch I use in my garden.
I'd also like to dispel the myth that somehow bagged or commercially prepared compost is by nature less 'valuable' or otherwise less suitable and more deficient compared to homemade compost. Often, it is quite a bit better, as the composting process is better controlled due to the larger scale and with higher temperatures generated, resulting in a product that has less weeds and potential pathogens - it's harder to achieve and maintain similar results in a home compost unless the person tending the compost is very diligent and attentive to turning and temperature monitoring. Most homeowners are not :-) A lot of commercial compost IS regulated and tested and even certified but not all - it is just as easy to purchase a poor quality commercial compost as it is to purchase a good one. Ideally, inspecting the product before purchase - only valid with local, bulk supplies usually - is desirable but researching bagged product or reading the labels carefully and looking for certification or testing info can be a reasonable substitute.
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