horse poop!!!

scotty66(8 Hutto TX)February 12, 2013

Picked up a truck load of horse poop last week off of craigslist. Load all you want for free or for $10 the guy used his tractor. I opted for the tractor (still a great deal). The poop was about a month old from what i was told.

The day before, I had bought 2 - 55 gallon barrels ($15 each). I plan on rolling the barrels (mixing compost) every other day and turning the large pile once a week.

My question is, how long will it take for the manure to break down (I am in central TX and the weather has been high around 70 low around 40)? I'm hoping that it will be useable compost by april...

The pile... I'll call it Gomer (lol)

The two barrels... my exercise equipment (rolling them up a hill then let them roll back down the hill)

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Oh, you lucky duck. I would moisten it and let it age a bit more. Then add to garden soil. The manure I can get here is not as "sep[erated" from the pile of currently cleaned out "GOODS". Be happy and try and mix up the topsoil and the "NEW ADDITION", of "SOIL".

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:22AM
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I would think a couple more months of composting in a well managed pile (moisture and green/brown balance maintained, and a turning or two) would get you there, although it's marginal. When you're ready to use it, it needs to be earthy smelling (not poopy) and there should be no sign of the original materials (bedding and "apples").

Happy rotting!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:35AM
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scotty66(8 Hutto TX)

@toxcrusadr - argh, not what i was wanting to hear. was hoping i could speed up the process.

I believe horse manure is a mix of nitrogen and carbon already (urine, feces, straw and sawdust).

I was curious... if I add more greens (mow my yard) if that would speed up the pile?

The big pile i have covered with a tarp to keep it warmer. I have noticed the barrels have already gone from full to 3/4 full... though most of that is probably just settling.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:23PM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Greens and Browns balance is important

What was the bedding material...sawdust or straw? What is the manure mixed with or is it straight manure?

Depending on what the brown in the pile is...I think you could easily have ready compost in a few months. Uncover the big pile unless it is raining, My experience is that getting air to the pile is important. Add water if needed...pile should be damp not wet. And turn the pile every couple of days with a pitch fork. Invest in a cheapo thermometer and when the pile starts to cool it is time to turn again. You should not have to add anymore greens to your pile

good luck

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:10PM
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In a compst pile with about 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part manure that is aggressively managed you could get a finished product in 14 days. Some times with a less aggresive management system it could take 6 months.
This link may provide some information for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Compost in 14 days

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:18AM
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By the looks of your pics, youve only got enough for about an inch for each bed, I would spread it on top, add a couple of inches of water wait a week till it in and plant away. Ideally if you till it into your garden in the fall you wont have to worry about the manure beeing to "hot" as the fall and winter rains and snow will water it down. I personally amend my garden all year long as Im luckey enough to be able to space my rows 40" apart and constantly add neighbors grass clippings and horse manure (thinnly) in between the rows constantly. The manure dries looses its smell in a couple of days and along with the clippings I till between my rows a couple of times a month weeding and letting the garden do the composting.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:26AM
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Here's how to optimize the green/brown based on what you observe: If that pile is warm or hot in the center, and doesn't smell awful, that's perfect. If it's very hot and smells bad, too much nitrogen, and it needs some more browns. If it doesn't heat, it's either done, or it has too much browns and needs some fresh grass clippings or some other N source.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:42PM
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Speed of break down will be mostly dependent on what the bedding material used is. Moisture management and turning can have a good effect, but in my experience it's the bedding material. The most popular bedding materials are usually shavings, straw or other wood product. Straw is slow, shavings a little faster and pellets or sawdust can be composted in a few months without much effort on your part.

That being said, once you're ready to go I'd put it in my garden whether you think it is finished or not. I have horses, compost myself and regularly use it less than complete. If you still see a significant amount of identifiable wood product you might consider using it on the top of the soil so you don't get the wood temporarily tying up some nitrogen. I use mine that is less than complete as a mulch all the time.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Ion mower is in zone 8 like you. I am gonna GUESS they would know the ease of composting your pile more than us northerners, I'm guessing here, though.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 3:43AM
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