What's in Eartho Steer Manure Blend??

mark4321_gwJune 5, 2008

Hi, I'm curious if anyone knows what's in Earthgrow's "Steer Manure blend". It's not even clear what percent is compost, and what is manure. There's nothing online or on the package that I can find. Do they add anything else to the stuff?

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthgrow's Steer Manure Blend

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Obviously, should be titled "What's in Earthgrow's Steer Manure Blend". It's getting late!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 1:27AM
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It says a blend of steer manure and compost but no information on what that belnd is. Steer manure is what is collected from those very large feed lots where the steers are grown to slaugher size, where large quantities of grains are fed to these steers to promote faster weight gain, a place where it takes a total of about 20 pounds of energy input to produce 1 pound of animal weight gain. If I could buy it in large quantities for almost nothing, very little cash input, I would consider the possibility of purchasing some. However given the marketer I most likely would not.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 7:22AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Only way to know what is in it is to ask the manufacturer. They are obligated to tell you. Whether that particular marketer will tell you the truth or not is another question. ;)


    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 1:33PM
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Here's something--it doesn't give the percent steer manure, which was my original question, but it does have a couple other things:

It contains the plant hormones Indole3 Butyric Acid (IBA) and Naphthaleneacetic Acid (NAA). I'm not up on my plant hormones, but I do remember that they put NAA in rooting hormone (e.g. Rootone) and that it's incredibly important in plant cell biology. Any idea what it's doing here??

Personally I don't have any huge objection to these, but I'm curious why and why they neglect to tell us. Presumably they're supposed to be there for a positive reason.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hormones in Earthgro Steer Manure

    Bookmark   June 5, 2008 at 3:18PM
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If you feel comfortable applying a material laden with antibiotics to your soil this may be something you would want to use, but I think there are much less expensive products that would do the same thing.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 7:27AM
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They're not antibiotics, but hormones that the plants themselves already naturally make (although I don't have a clue what the relative amounts are). They are the active ingredients in rooting hormones, and I've never heard anyone raise a stink about others using those (perhaps those who grow organically avoid them?--I seem to remember some people use willow). Presumably they are there to help stimulate root growth, but the question is why, especially if the company is not going to promote this fact. It's too bad they treat it like a mystery substance--how much manure, the added hormones, etc.

They sell it for $1.09 per cubic foot out here (OSH), which is awfully cheap given my uses.

I just checked: it's a matter of debate among organic growers as to whether using IBA and NAA for rooting are consistent with organic growing, since they are already in the plant.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 9:33AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Mark - kimmsr is referring to the high antibiotic counts found in feed lot manures. Large doses of antibiotics are used in feed lots because of the overcrowding. If this product is feed-lot based manure, which most steer manure is, then it contains high levels of antibiotics.

Like you, I would wonder why all the plant hormones are in there? Just a guess but I wonder if Scott's isn't using lots of hormone-boosted plants in their composting process of the manure.


    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 12:35PM
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Thanks for clearing that up re the antibiotics. kimmsr--sorry for the misunderstanding.

I was also wondering whether hormones could have come naturally from the plant material the steers had eaten--these things seem reasonably stable (rooting hormone apparently is), so there might be at least some small amount coming from such sources.

I went back to the table I gave the link to and now I'm not so sure what if anything is up. They list several things under "non-plant food ingredients": Humic acid, kelp, B1, NAA, IBA, potting mix, etc. Under potting mix only there is another space that says "yes". Does that mean that's the only one of the list that's actually in the mix? I honestly can't figure it out for sure, but it's possible this whole discussion about hormones in the manure blend is irrelevant.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2008 at 1:47PM
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Over here in the islands, most items are more expensive. Home Depot is selling it for $0.92 per bag. What's so expensive about that, Kimmsr. All those things you seem to put you nose up at, are very reasonable and thats no steer manure.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 4:11AM
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Many meat producers today feed antibiotics to the animals because they have found that those antibiotics aid the animals in gaining more weight with less feed. So not only does the manure have a lot of hormones, antibiotics, stuff that is not needed but the meat you buy is also.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 7:18AM
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92 cents per bag is infinitely more expensive than free :-).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 9:19AM
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marie_of_roumania(z6 MA)

interesting article in The Guardian (UK) today about aminopyralid (an herbicide) entering the food chain.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home-grown veg ruined by toxic fertiliser

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 10:25AM
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Karchita(WA Z8)

Is there any evidence that the anitbiotics that are fed to cattle are in their manure? And even after it is composted? In significant amounts to affect soil health? I, personally, only eat organic beef because the drugs fed to cattle are present in the meat, but unless the drugs are present in the composted manure and affects the bacteria in the soil, there is nothing to worry about.

I tried the Earthgrow manure once. I put it on a few beds, and for the first time ever, I had spotted spurge (an aggressive annual weed) appear in those beds, and only those beds. I had never seen this weed anywhere on my property before and I mulch so much I have very few weeds. While I have no iron-clad evidence, I believe it came from the Earthgrow manure.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 1:20AM
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I agree, but when you live on an island, where there are few steers/cows, $.92 a bag is almost free considering the shipping costs.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 4:22AM
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There are tons of studies, from most all of the Ag Schools, that list the antibiotics found in cattle manure. It is of enough concern that both the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control have called for restrictions on the use of these antibiotics because the disease pathogens they are meant to control are developing immunities to them which means that the abtibitoics we have today will shortly be of no value. How many more extremely resistant staph infections do people need to die from before we realize what is happening.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2008 at 7:00AM
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I finally got around to writing Scotts/Miracle Grow and asking them what was in this stuff. They weren't exactly helpful. Don't they think I would have read the label if I was curious (you can even see the full label at the website)?

Scott's replied to my inquiry:

"The Steer Blend is formulated regionally using various materials that may include peanut or tree nut by-products. Unfortunately, I do not have information on the percentage of compost to manure in the product. This may be proprietary information, since it is also not included on the product label. I apologize for any inconvenience."

So apparently as far as they're willing to tell me it could consist of 99.999% composted peanut shells and 0.001% manure.

So would a person with a severe peanut allergy get a reaction to this product?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 10:53AM
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(new here...) i'd suspect no conspiracy... i'd guess that -- because it's produced on a regional basis -- there's likely not a scientific calculation of any of the materials... likely poo and straw and hay and barnyard/feedlot roots and weeds (and i've no doubt that the spurge likely came from there... seeds do travel)... however, at $1.00/lb, it's cheaper than most of the other big-box stuff and likely just as high quality (or, conversely, just as toxic) as anything else with steer manure in it (i.e.: most the amenders @ the bigbox... many of which sell for 3X as much or more)... for pure organic gardening, i'd not trust much of what the depot sells... if you wanted that, you might have to travel to a organic feedlot and scoop your own poo... however, few folks have the inclination to do such a thing (or as hardcore as that) and, again, at $1.00/lb find it a better alternative to the better branded sh!t out there (pun intended). as for the peanut mention... it's likely legally precautionary in the same way cracker packaging says: "produced in a facility that produces nuts" [sic]... but just a newbie POV...

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 12:56AM
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I am always skeptical of such products which says somthing like this :
"compost derived from cow manur..." but would not say what percent or what are NPK? one spoonful per bag???

One brand lists it NPK at 0.2/0.2/ 0.2.

Why bother with it? fertilizer values are so small that you need to apply tons of it to get results. So basically it is just compost, that you can make yourself. In some municipalities the city sells compost real cheap and its from the trees, clipping, yard waste, ... that people take to dump (not other garbage).

I think with all that gibler gobler about the cow manur blend compost, I just forget it. either make my own or buy just plain compost and use chemical fertilizer. With these fertilizers we know that there are no hormons at least.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 2:54AM
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Allot of small( 1 inch mostly) stick pieces and allot of rocks the size of an olive. No really, I had a bag of it and I'll say if you took all the rocks out it would fill up a pint glass easily and thats a conservative estimate. I of course didnt do that, but there are allot of rocks in it. I bought the whitney farms brand on my next bag and there were no rocks or big pieces of sticks.
I know you were referring to the chemical composition but I was just throwing this out.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 1:42PM
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maxipenny, even Scotts admitted it was made regionally, so there is no guarantee you had the same product. Also it probably varies by season even at the same plant. You probably got the scrapings off the gravel lot they have the facility sitting on. :-\

I don't buy bagged compost for NPK anyway - more for improving tilth.

I don't really see the distinction between 'compost' and 'composted manure', since everything decays toward a common form in composting. Not that there is no detectable difference, but if I was buying dollar a bag compost I wouldn't care too much as long as it was compost and not river silt, which I've had foisted upon me in my locale more than once.

Antibiotics, yes, they do end up in the poop. I used to have a job in a research lab determining what happens to them in the environment after that. Those studies are required by FDA in order to register a livestock drug for sale. They *assume* it's going to end up in the manure.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:47PM
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I just spread 36 bags of this on my lawn/trees/garden. 12 yards of compost/manure blend for $40. This is half as expensive as going to the landscape supply yard. Tell me you can get a better deal than that . . . .

I honestly did not think about the antibiotic thing until AFTER having spread 36 bags. I will probably not use it on my fruit trees and vegetable gardens. On my lawn? It makes it so green!! Also, will wear a dust mask next time. I need to use my head more.

There is definitely some manure is there. The wet bags smell like a feed lot so bad!!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2010 at 2:33PM
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Got 3 bags of it as it was a buck. don't want to put it back in the car to return it so I'll use it. Got some gypsum too so tomorrow its poop up the yard smell day.
I sniffed the various lots at Home depot. They had different pallets & they had different batch numbers.
I tried to find the least acrid scented ones so hope I'm not sorry

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 8:12PM
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Any doubt as whether this mix has much manure in it? Just stick your hand in between a few bags and see how hot it is. Filled with manure and it works great everywhere. For less than .90 a bag it's a pretty good buy. My dad used to go down to the farms in Nebraska and get a couple tractor scoops loaded into his pickup from the cattle and it always made all of our grass, trees and garden much better for the cost of nothing.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:05PM
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We should all be more concerned about the meat we eat!!! If there is antibiotics in the manuer, then it is in the meat also, don't you think?

Also, we should be more concerned about the veggies and fruits that we get from MEXICO, HONDURAS. Publix grocery stores are full of fruits and veggies from those areas here in Homosassa FL. Who know how these countries treat there plants????? I refuse to buy from there, buy only US grown, at least I fell it is maybe a little better.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Niamert, the bags are one cubic foot, and there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard, so you didn't buy 12 cubic yards for $40.
12 cubic yards would completely fill up a dump truck. I just bought some pure dried steer manure from Lowes for 85 cents a bag on sale. The main problem with steer manure is it has a high salt content, but for the price its the cheapest stuff you can buy bagged.
I used to buy a horse manure wood shavings compost for $8 a cubic yard plus $35 to get a ten cubic yard dumptruck load delived to my driveway, but they jacked the price up to $12 a cubic yard plus $80 delivery so I stopped buying it. It was good stuff, fully composted and double screened so there wasn't any garbage or plastic bags or soda cans or broken glass in it like a lot of the stuff that sells for even more.
But they lied when they say weed free. I have more weeds and coarse meadow grass coming up all over my property than any of my neighbors.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 2:59PM
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I suspect the term composted as used by these companies is loose. More likely, the act of stacking the manure in piles for a few days/weeks qualifies in their minds.

And, yes, there is a fair amount of salt in feedyard manure. It comes from the concentration of urine that builds up in confinement operations.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Last year, I dug up a large weed patch on the south side of my front driveway. The people we purchased our house from referred to it as a "lawn".

I spent several years building new beds in the back and renovating the grass areas. I completely neglected the front because I never saw it unless I was pulling in the driveway to go to the back.

After I got the back to where I wanted it, I opted to get rid of the majority of "grass" up front and just put in a small patch, turning the rest into garden.

The soil is heavy clay so I needed to amend the areas where I was putting my new grass in. After completely removing the grass by hand (dug it up and built a berm by the street with it!), I had a nice relatively flat surface to work with, albeit solid clay. I had several wheelbarrows full of clay that I had broken up by hand, enough to cover the new area with inches. I bought 10 bags of the Eartho Steer Manure/Compost blend, added several pounds of gypsum to further break the clay up over time, and added vermiculite at about 10%.

It turned out beautifully! I also used baby shampoo as a conditioner for the soil to help it take up water, as several recommend on this site. I seriously only had to water the new lawn 3x the entire summer, where in the back areas it was 1" every week at a minimum (didn't use the shampoo, but the soil has been conditioned). This year, I'm using compost from yard, some coffee grounds, and maybe a bag or two of the Earthgro and raking it in to about 1/4"-1/2".

Here is a before pic. Will post the after pics in a few.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Here's an after pic. Going to do the same on the other side of this driveway.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:50PM
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