COW & HORSE MANURE

by KEITH
(REDLANDS CA)

HI I WAS WONDERING A COUPLE OF DAIRY FARMS AND MORE THAN A FEW HORSE RANCHES HAVE CONTACTED ME TO DELIVER THEIR MANURE SO MY QUESTION IS WHAT ARE THE STEPS OR PROCESS I HAVE TO DO BEFORE I FEED MY WORMS AND EVERYONE ELSES THANKS FOR YOUR TIME AND HELP KEITH PHILLIPS

Comments for COW & HORSE MANURE

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Apr 15, 2012
manure
by: Keith

Just got a call from a fertilizer company wondering if I had storage room for cow manure. It's been sitting for around 6 months. I went to see them and the pile is at least 15 or 20 feet high and about 50 ft long. Can I use this to feed the worms? Don't have to take all of it but, they want me to.

Thanks Keith

Mar 17, 2012
Follow Up
by: Sierra Worm Compost

Yes, you can spread a thin layer on the surface of the worm bin, but I would check it in a few hours to see that it's not heating up again (which it could do if not property pre-composted).

Piling up the manure and letting it sit for at least 3-6 weeks pre-composts it somewhat. But to do a better job would be to turn it several times in the first 3 weeks. It's not that you are "cooking" the manure, but rather doing a slow, regulated burn.

As I said earlier, it's best to keep it tarped and damp so you don't lose the valuable nitrogen.

Mar 17, 2012
Follow Up to SWC's answer
by: Keith

ARE YOU SAYING JUST TO COMPOST THE MANURE WHEN FINISHED GO AHEAD A GIVE IT TO THE WORMS BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN COMPOSTING LOTS AND BAGGING IT FOR SALE. I THOUGHT TO FEED IT TO THE WORMS WE WEREN'T SUPPOSE TO COOK IT JUST LET IT AGE. THIS IS GOOD CAUSE WE HAVE A LOT ALREADY COMPOSTED AND A LOT MORE BEING PROCESSED.
THANKS

Mar 16, 2012
Answer to Composting Cow and Horse Manure
by: Sierra Worm Compost

Hi Keith,

The manures needs to be piled up at least in a 3x3 pile to start "cooking". If you have a front-end loader, the pile could to 5x5, but no higher or air flow will be impeded.

The base for the pile(s) should either have a layer of tamped clay or a concrete slab. A 12-18" layer of hay,straw,shredded leaves/pine needles (no they won't raise the pH once composted) or some other cellulose-type material should be spread on either base to catch any drainage. The concrete slab should have a 6" channel filled with the above material for catchment of drainage. Ideally, the concrete should have a slight slope.

You will need a long-stemmed compost thermometer which will help you determine when the pile needs to be turned. 140 deg. will kill most seeds.

The moist cow manure may have enough moisture in it to offset the dryness of the horse manure. The temperature will increase rapidly and soon reach about 110'F. At 140, you'll want to turn again as the high temp kills of beneficial microbes. After about a week, the pile should be opened to the air and any compacted material should be loosened. The pile should be turned so that material previously on the top and sides of the pile is moved to the center.

Turning weekly for about 3 weeks should be sufficient to kill all seeds and take the material to about 100 deg. which you can then spread a thin layer on the worm beds.

Keeping the piles tarped, especially during the winter, will keep heat in and rain water out. If it gets too wet, all action will stop and may go anaerobic. Just keep nice and moist. During the summer, covering keeps the pile from drying out.

Hope this helps. I haven't got all the answers, but I'll do my best to find the info if you have further questions.

Happy Worming!

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