Closeness of storage site to water and neighbors: Manure should be stored away from places where runoff may enter streams or flooding may sweep away manure. Manure should be placed:
· more than 200 feet from surface water and private wells
· at least 500 feet from public wells
· away from property lines (this depends on your local planning and zoning commission but must be at least 50 ft or more away from property lines in some states)
· away from a residence
Size of storage: On average, a horse produces 40-50 lbs of manure/day, 7-9 tons/year! To calculate the amount of storage you will need, measure the average daily waste (manure and bedding) and multiply that amount by the number of days between planned removal for disposal or utilization. For example, for the average 1000 lb horse, you will need 12 yards of storage space. One cubic yard is equal to 27 cubic feet, so you will need 324 feet or an area roughly 9 feet long by 9 feet wide by 4 feet deep. Also remember when designing the space to consider what sort of equipment you will be maneuvering to access the manure. Options to consider:
· covered dumpster
· 3 walled structure with roof or tarp cover
· 3 bin compost system with cover
· covered or enclosed truck bed or manure spreader
· concrete pad with one or two walls
· for small facilities, trash cans with lids
Water management: gutters and diversions keep clean water from entering the barnyard or manure pile. A cover or tarp should be used to keep rainwater out of storage. Using a concrete pad on the bottom of the pile will help protect groundwater and make manure disposal easier..
Composting: will increase the value of manure, kill parasites and weed seeds, and decrease the volume of waste. Compost piles should be located away from buildings since they may spontaneously combust. Piles must be turned either on a weekly basis or based on the internal temperature of the pile. Passively aerated piles are not turned but have perforated pipes placed in the pile. Internal temperatures of compost should reach about 140º F. A minimum pile size of 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet is needed to achieve
composting temperatures. A 3 bin system can be used on smaller farms or windrows (long, free-standing piles) can be used on larger farms. Some guidelines for composting are:
· Piles should be turned when temperatures fall below 110º F or above 140º F
· Base width of the pile should be twice its height
· Moisture content should be that of a wrung out sponge (30-40% dry matter)
· Finished compost will have a soil-like texture and smell earthy
· The process can take as little as 3 months with frequent turning
Spreading: Some things to keep in mind:
· Nutrients in manure and availability to plants
· Time of year –It is ideal to spread manure in the spring so that you minimize potential losses before the crop can take it up and nutrients are supplied for the upcoming growing season. Spreading in the fall is also a good idea.
· Methods of spreading
· Manure can be spread with a tractor and spreader for ease of spreading. Other methods can be employed but may be more labor intensive. You might consider purchasing equipment with a friend or group of friends if it is cost prohibitive for your budget. Compost can be spread as ½ to 1 inch thick and then mixed well into the soil.
Disposal: There are several options for disposal:
· Rent a dumpster from a sanitation company and have it removed on a regular basis.
· Have a local farmer or landscaper remove manure or bring manure to him/her on a regular basis. A hydraulic dump trailer can make delivery easier.
· Give manure to family, friends, and neighbors for use in gardens or landscaping.
· Use manure or compost on crops and hay fields. If using uncomposted waste, remember that nitrogen depletion of the soil may occur as bedding materials are broken down.