Return to the Soil Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

Posted by GoldenTurtle none (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 9:27

Hi,

I am building a new compost pile. These are the things which I am going to add to it:

Nitrogen Content:
Fruits, Vegetables Peels, Leftovers
Teabags
Grass Clippings

Carbon Contents:
Shredded Newspaper
Cardbroad
Dried Leaves
Hay straw

Now my question is:
Can I add fresh cow manure to it? As the cows is my farm produces at least 3-4 Kgs of manure everyday? If I add it to the pile the quantity of cow manure will be way more than all the other items I can have everyday.

Also is fresh cow manure treated as nitrogen or carbon?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 9:57

Yes you can add fresh manure to a compost pile. It is a strong N and will need lots of C.

I notice you list "hay straw" as one of your C components. There really isn't anything called hay straw. It is either hay, which would likely be an N, or straw, which would be a C.

If one has not composted fresh manure I would caution against using it in a household type compost pile. I would run a seperate pile for the manure.

Lloyd


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

The main concurn with fresh cow manure is keeping it airated. For that reason I wouldn't mix it with the other material. If the cows are on pasture,I would alow most to lay where it falls and eventualy return to the soil. If they are stalled which requires cleaning,I would want to age it before putting into a bin. I would want an area about 6'X6' on the ground where I could dump in adjoining stacks until the ground was covered about 6" to 8" deep. With a square point shovel,I would put 3/4ths of the 36 sq ft on top of one 3'x3' corner,alternating each shovel full coming from aereas of varying dryness/age in hopes of dry material creating air pockets in the new stack. The new stack will recieve the first new manure from stalls then the remaining emaginary "L" shaped bare ground will be covered similar to when we started. When the ground is once again covered,everything is stacked in the diagonal corner layering dry with fresher. Ok,I hope to have created somwhat of a visual of a stratigy for ageing and composting the manure with minium labor. Don't use a tape measure and calander in attempt to adheare to the method,use your judgment on space,timing and wherther to add moisture or cover to prevent over watering by rain. You will reach a point where the manure is reduced in bulk and is more suitable for mixing with material in your bin without creating anarobic problems. Alternate to incorprating into your bin,taking the manure to fully composted is satisfactory also.


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

Fresh cow manure is a good Nitrogen source for any compost pile, as long as there will be 3 parts vegetative waste to 1 part manure. Keep in mind that the compost piles that Sir Albert Howard learned from were made with 6 inches of vegetative waste, 2 inches of animal manure, and about 1/8 inch of soil all piled up to 4 feet high total.
The link below is for one of the best tutorials on composting I have seen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Composting Tutorial


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

On the manure, as others have said you should add some brown for an ideal balance. The microbes that do the work would like some more carbon for food than the manure alone provides. I have no idea what "vegetative waste" includes. Assuming the alternative is animal waste, it seems to me that both common greens (produce trim and grass clippings) and browns (leaves and straw) are all "vegetative waste".

For average cattle manure, the close to ideal mix with straw, using an average number for straw, would be about 2 lbs of straw for every 10 lbs of fresh cow manure, or a ratio of one part of straw to 5 parts manure by weight. The volume ratio would be about 1.3 volumes of straw for every volume of manure. That mix should also leave you pretty close to where you want to be for moisture as well. If you use a different brown source, then the relative amounts for ideal will differ. But you can vary quite a bit from ideal and still be in great shape. It's just a matter of how fast and how complete. Compost happens.


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 9:51

Ya, we've had the "vegetative waste" discussion before. Based on that advice, three parts potato peelings or fresh grass clippings to one part manure would work. I strongly recommend people do not do that! Look up (google) the proper categories from a couple of reputable sources if you don't already know. There are even calculators that will help.

Lloyd


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 10:26

and parts is parts, right Lloyd?

If you want to get really fancy (or in my case, lazy), you can download a spreadsheet to do the calculations for you, using %N, C and moisture numbers from a source like this. In this one you need to calculate the %C from the supplied %N and C:N ratio (%C = %N x C:N).


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

While computing the ideal ratio,does it matter what old Bosie had for lunch ?


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 12:07

klem - only if you're nerdier than me. In that case we would do a C-H-N analysis and adjust accordingly. I prefer the "it happens" approach. BTW, it's probably worth noting that there are several commercial producers of composted dairy cow manure that add nothing. They just pile, turn to aerate, and moisten as necessary. My guess is they have concluded that there is enough litter stuff (straw, etc.) included in the cleanup to give them what they want.


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

TX, You busted my tongue in cheek ploy. Do you suppose it's taken in account by those folks selling the "Hand crafted compost"?
Seriously though,I believe cow and horse are often over estimated in nitrogen content. About all I can offer as sintific evidence requires poking around in a fresh batch and feed conversion rate. Comparing corn consumed by chickens and thier hoofed neighbors,the kernels are easiely recconized in cow which was converted at about 6 Lbs of feed for 1 Lb weight gain. The cacklers convert 6 Lbs of feed to aprox 3.3 lbs weight gain and leaves little evidence behind. It doesn't require laboratory analysis to know the chicken packs far more N. For our purpose,it's not nessary getting into exactly what and how much supplament was included but it should be recconized that the cow patty also has a bunch of grass and other material that was minimunly changed on the trip through the cow. It is those materials that i believe can supply carbon for composting. That should be enough stiring the stuff for now.


 o
RE: Adding Fresh Cow Manure to Compost Pile

  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 15:24

klem - there surely is a wide range in composition of various manures, as well as many other common compostables. Leaves always strikes me as one of the most variable. Which takes me back to the point, compost happens.

When we get right down to it, all of that stuff will decompose just fine on it's own. When we gather, pile, turn. water, etc., what we are really doing is helping a natural process to be a bit more efficient and preservative of nutrients that we want to relocate as we desire.

BTW, here's another opportunity we missed. This comes from a group of folks just north of Austin. Get this ... $39/gal.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Soil Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here