Managing horse manure

Knowing the amount of manure that is produced on your farm is imperative to making an informed decision of what your options may be in regard to equine manure management.

A common practice among horse owners in regard to managing manure and used bedding material (feedstock) is stockpiling . This practice is acceptable in regard to short term management. Please refer to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Manure Utilization GAAMP for more information on stockpiling guidelines. 

Manure must be managed in some way and perpetual stockpiling is not a legitimate option. Several options for managing manure exist and may include: hauling the manure off the farm where local farmers spread manure on hay fields or crops. A composting operation or nursery in your area may also be willing to accept this material. In some areas, manure may be hauled to a commercial landfill, but this option may prove be expensive. Land application is also an option, if you have adequate land base and the right equipment, you may spread manure on your own property. However, caution must be taken when land applying manure that is mixed with bedding material (feedstock). It is well known that the low nitrogen content in common wood based bedding material may reduce soil quality and pasture production potential. The carbon to nitrogen ratio of wood shavings is typically 500:1, as the carbon breaks down it depletes the nitrogen from the soil. Land application must also be performed in a manner that is environmentally acceptable and soil tests should be performed before any manure is applied.

Know the amount of manure that is produced on your farm. This will be imperative to making an informed decision of what your options may be in regard to manure management.

Manure volume (lbs.) for 1 horse per month:

▪ 1000 lbs. horse = 50 lbs. manure & urine/day

▪ 50 lbs. manure x 30 d = 1500 lbs./manure/month/horse

▪ (1 lb. manure: 0.3 lbs. wood shavings if horse is stalled)

▪ 1500 lbs. manure + 450 lbs. shavings = 1950 lbs. feed stock/horse/month

OR

Manure volume (cu. ft.) for 1 horse per month:

▪ 1000 lbs. horse = 0.8 cubic feet manure & urine/day

▪ 0.8 cubic ft. x 30 d = 24 cu. ft. manure/month/horse

▪ 2.5 cu. ft. avg. shavings per 0.8 cu. ft. of manure removed from a box stall

▪ 2.5 cu. ft. avg. shavings x 30 d = 75 cu. ft. shavings

▪ 24 cu. ft. manure + 75 cu. ft. shavings = 99 cu. ft./horse/month

Go online for more information on equine manure management or contact Tom Guthrie at the Jackson County MSU Extension office at 517-788-4292.

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