Managing Manure – Some Common Sense Strategies

For those involved in farming, even on a hobby basis dealing with manure can be an ongoing challenge. Manure tends to build up quickly. Some statistics. A horse is responsible for about 50 pounds of waste per day. A cow can produce around 92 pounds and a hog just under 10 pounds. A sheep provides 4 pounds and a hen an astonishing 1/4 pound. That’s a lot to deal with if you haven’t got a well-thought-out strategy.

But disposing of chicken poop may be simpler than many people think. In fact, manure can do your farming efforts the world of good. A proper strategy will also avoid any damage to the environment – and ensure that your neighbors are not going to go to the authorities regarding the smell. So that methods of manure composting simply makes good sense.

Possibly the simplest way to manage manure is also the most cost-effective. This is on pasture manure management. By fencing in certain parts of the farming operation – and rotating animals to different pastures the farmer can ensure that the manure is managed. It also has immense benefits for soil health. This, in trun allows for more robust plants. The root systems of these healthy plants hold the soil together, which, in turn prevents manure tainted runoff into rivers and groundwater sources. However, it should be noted that livestock manure management is extremely important. Animals should not be allowed access to natural water sources.

A second good strategy for managing manure is to engage in organic compost making process. Compost is far more nutritious than raw manure and also aids in killing off soil parasites and weed seeds. It also significantly reduces odors. Compost is also low in soluble salts – so will not ‘burn’ plants. There are numerous ways to create nutritious and pH-neutral compost. Including hot, warm, and cold, and by using rapid composter macine or even the good old-fashioned static piles. Pigs and chickens released into a composting area also help to turn over the compost.

Whatever your decision as to how you are going to be using your compost there remains the question of how to store it. Simply letting it pile up on the open ground is a solution that will create more problems than it solves. there will be the ongoing problem of run-off and the attendant pollution of groundwater and drinking water.

The best solution for storage is to build a sealed containment area so that rainwater cannot run off. The floor of the area should be lined with gravel or stone dust. It may be preferable to simply add a roof to the reinforced containment area if the manure is going to be stored for long periods of time. It needs to be noted that stockpiling does not offer the same benefits as composting and should ideally only be an interim solution before the manure is spread or is composted.

A sound strategy for poultry manure management has a variety of benefits – including harnessing the manure for the production of compost and using it to encourage more robust and healthier plant growth. It should always be one of the foundations of good farming practice.

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