Help! Plenty of Leaves and plenty of Horse stall manure- no heat

foodeefish(z8SC)October 11, 2012

I was given two pickup trucks full of Horse stall cleanings. I picked up the first truckload three weeks ago and overnight it went to 153 degrees on it's own just laying in the truckbed and then it cooked for a few days.

I then picked up the second truckload last week and began to mix the recipe I thought would get everything cooking.

So I built 2 very large compost bins with Concrete wire mesh each around 5 feet in diameter and 6 feet tall. I wrapped the inside of each bin with Black plastic, and put 3 times as many dogwood leaves as I did the Manure mixed with the stall hay/shavings. I made sure I wet it each time I put another layer till it was like a damp sponge and I added 4 gallons of kitchen scraps.

Between these two compost bins I have 2 pickup trucks full of Horse stall waste ( manure, urine, and the hay/straw mixture) and three times as many leaves. Obviously it's a lot more of the hay/shavings than manure in the stall mixture.

Why OH Why won't these piles get hot at all? I am runing out of land to pile all of this and I have 25 bags of oak leaves coming from another friend.

I am borrowing a shredder this week to see if I shred everything and pry that it will get hot.

What is wrong with my piles?

Do I need more greens?

Thanks

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

How wet?
Too much moisture in the mix will slow the digestion process, by excluding needed air, just as too little moisture will.
A damp sponge can be too wet. That should be a well wrung out sponge, one that is barely moist feeling.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 7:49AM
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toxcrusadr

I can't see much that's wrong with your plan, but here are two thoughts. The plastic is keeping air out of the sides of the pile, and air is an essential component for proper cooking. Did you put plastic on the bottom too? That could be trouble if there is too much water - it can't drain out.

The other thing I thought of was that the manure/bedding mix may already have about the right brown-green ratio. The wood shavings or sawdust they often use is a super-brown. The fact that your pile went to 150F suggests it *might* have been balanced OK to begin with.

Poke some holes through the pile to let air in and check the conditions, and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Lloyd

Obviously this material is not suitable for composting in your climate. The only solution is to ship it up to me. ;-)

Lloyd

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:10AM
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toxcrusadr

Since it is fall, you probably weren't planning to use this compost until spring, right? Once you make sure you don't have air or water problems, if you've overshot on the leaves, it will still get done by spring, I bet.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 11:57AM
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lonmower(zone8 Western Oregon)

Lloyd (in one fell swoop) has debunked the notion that Canadians don't have a good sense of humor.

Good one lloyd!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 1:16PM
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robertz6

Wrapping this large bin in plastic is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive. Compost piles need air and water to continue the composting process. So they need to be turned when the moisture and air are used up. Pretty hard to do that when the pile is six feet high. Even three or four feet high material can be hard to turn.

My open style mesh bins are hardware cloth, four feet in diameter and two feet high. Larger one are four feet by eight feet and two feet high. Easy to turn with a compost fork. They do not need to be four feet high because the ground under the pile can store heat. So if one makes a hot square pile 4'by4'by4', the highest core temp will not be 2' down, but maybe six or eight inches below that.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 2:58PM
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foodeefish(z8SC)

I guess I'll be pulling the plastic off tomorrow and replacing it with come old chicken wire I have. Then through the shredder, make sure it's not too wet and then shipping it off to Lyoyd/pt03.

Crazy Canadians and My Grandmother(God rest Her Soul) was from Antigonish Nova Scotia

eding it all through the leaf shreederr

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 8:05PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Many composters aim for a period of high heat. When doing manures I wonder if that high heat volitizes much of the nitrogen?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Lloyd

From what I've read, high heat can indirectly lead to a loss of N but it is because it can cause a low oxygen environment which leads to anaerobic conditions. If the pile is adequately aerated, there should be little if any loss of N even in a strong thermophilic pile. Having said that, it is unlikely that a pile will have adequate aeration throughout the entire pile so some loss of N is inevitable. Furthermore, any compost pile (hot or cold) can lose N if it goes anaerobic.

Lloyd

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:03PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

I get elephant/rhino manure free from the zoo. When they move it into their huge piles, it steams in a major way. They don't let us have it until it's done.
I bring it home and let it sit cold in a pile. The stuff I got in the spring, with no heat, no watering (except rain) and no turning has further broken down into beautiful black dirt (for absence of a better word.) The spring oak leave pile 15 ft away did break down but not throughly. Some leaves I added to part on the manure (as an experiment) did not break down that great either. Glad I didn't add more leaves.
Lloyd, I can't send you any of my prized elephant/rhino manure, but I could talk to the zoo about loaning you an elephant. Do you have a pickup?
Bob

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:52AM
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gargwarb

the notion that Canadians don't have a good sense of humor.

That's just crazy talk! ;)






...and on and on. Canadian funny is legendary top-shelf funny.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:18PM
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gargwarb

Sorry for the thread jack. I take my comedians seriously. :P

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:19PM
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toxcrusadr

>>The stuff I got in the spring, with no heat, no watering (except rain) and no turning has further broken down into beautiful black dirt (for absence of a better word.)

bugbite: the word you're looking for is humus! Or compost.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 11:52AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Humus is the residual organic matter in soil, what is left of compost after the Soil Food Web is done munching on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: About humus

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:08AM
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subk3

I find that horse manure + stall leavings is a pretty wonderful ratio all on it's own. I would suspect that adding the leaves is tipping it to far to the brown side of things.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:42PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Back when we did have chickens, rabbits, and a horse (pony actually) I used some of the leaves I collceted from town as bedding for them and found that adding the cleanings form the horse stall, chicken coop, and from under the hutches to more leaves in the compost bins do not adversly affect the process provided I paid attention to the 3 to 1 ratio and did not wet the material too much.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 7:07AM
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EatMyGarden

Is this horse stall manure or is it used horse bedding (turds included)?

Horse poop C:N is about 21:1, kinda hot.
Most bedding is straw and wood chips.
That C:N is about 350:1, give or take 25.

Luckily, the horse urine is around 1:28, but there isnt a whole lot and gets used quickly or converts to ammonia vapor. That would explain why it was steaming, then cooled down.

To get your C:N ratio to the 30:1 you want, you need to add N.

To figure out how much N you need to add, take the C value of your browns, divide that by 30 and divide the weight of your browns by that number.

Lets say you have 100 lbs of used horse bedding.
350 C:N / 30 = 11.66
100 lbs / 11.66 = 8.58 lbs of N per 100 lbs

Using urea as the N source, which is 46% N, divide 8.58 by .46, you get how much urea you need to apply to to get your proper 30:1 ratio.

8.58 / .46 = 18.65 lbs of urea per 100 lbs of used horse bedding.

I am currently doing this with several 300 lb batches of used horse bedding.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:07PM
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EatMyGarden

Also, oak leaves are notoriously hardy and take some extra energy to break down.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 9:09PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

To a 50 lb, smallish bag, you add over 9 lbs of urea?

What percentage of manure and straw is in the bedding? I'm trying to visualize bedding with a ratio of 350: 1.

Wood chips is 400:1.
Sawdust 325:1
Straw is 75:1.

Sounds like almost all wood products.

With all that urea how long does it take to break down?

Incidentally, leaves are 60:1.

Of course all those numbers can vary by type of wood, leaves, etc.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 10:55PM
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EatMyGarden

Idea is a 30:1 Carbon/Nitrogen ratio (Browns:Greens)

Determine the C:N ratio of the Browns and Greens you will be adding. There are many charts online that give the C:N ratio of commonly composted items.

Browns Greens
C1:N1 C2:N2

Divide the C by 30 for Browns and multiple N by 30 for Greens

N1 = C1/30 C2 = N2*30

Divide those 2 numbers

NUMBER = C2/N1

Multiply C by the number for Browns and divide the N by the number for Greens

High Carbon High Nitrogen
C1*NUMBER N2/NUMBER

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Example:

Wood Chips Urea
400:1 1:46

N needed to make a 30:1 ratio for Wood Chips(N1)
= 400/30
13.3

C needed to make a 30:1 ratio for Urea(C2)
= 46*30
1380

NUMBER = C2/N1
NUMBER = 1380/13.3
NUMBER = 103.8

C1*NUMBER
400/103.8 = 3.9

3.9 lbs of Wood chips to 1 lb or Urea will balance out the 400:1(Wood Chips/Browns) and 1:46(Urea/Greens) to 30:1
-or-
.26 lbs of Urea to every 1 lb of Wood chips. (1 divided by 3.9)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Using that formula, its more like 12 lbs of urea for 50 lbs. Thats about a gallon and a half of urine.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 7:20PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

Eatmygarden,
Have you tried ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate versus urea?
From OSU (see link):

"Use only ammonium nitrate fertilizer with an analysis of 34-0-0 or ammonium sulfate with an analysis of 21-0-0. Other types of fertilizers (especially urea) can be lost into the air in a manure pile and do no good. Add about 10 pounds of ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate per ton of horse manure/sawdust mix. This is about 1/3 pound (about 1/2 cup) of ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate per 1,000-pound horse per day."

Help me get from your rate (480 lbs of urea per ton) to their rate (10 lbs of ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate per ton). How many lbs of ammonium sulfate or ammonium nitrate do you recommend per ton of horse manure/sawdust mix, based on your calculations?
What is the 0-0-0 of the urea you are speaking about? Maybe that is where I am having difficulty in grasping your formula. Guess I could understand if it were like .5-0-0.
Your help is appreciated. Thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: Ohio State U. regarding horse manure/sawdust

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:37PM
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