Poll Recap: Horse Manure Management Strategies

Poll Recap: Horse Manure Management Strategies

Of the 804 respondents, 344 (43%) said they compost horse manure and use it to amend soil on their property.

Photo: Michelle N. Anderson, TheHorse.com Digital Managing Editor

The average 1,000-pound horse produces nine tons of manure each year. That’s 18,000 pounds! Add used bedding on top of that and you’ve got yourself a heaping pile of stall waste and the need for a manure management solution.

So what do you do with all that horse manure? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 800 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results!

Of the 804 respondents, 344 (43%) said they compost horse manure and use it to amend soil on their property, while 221 people (27%) said they spread uncomposted horse manure on pastures. Another 145 respondents (18%) said they have manure hauled away, and 23 individuals (3%) compost and sell their horse manure. The remaining 71 respondents (9%) used other manure management strategies.

Additionally, 80 people commented on their horse manure management strategies:

Several respondents commented that they compost horse manure:  

  • “Currently we compost it and add it to our garden. Excess is spread on horse pastures.”
  • “Gardens and rose bushes thrive with the natural horse compost.”
  • “I use it to fertilize the vegetable garden and dump the rest on a far corner of the property.”
  • “I also use it in gardens at three to four years old. It adds condition to my clay soil that I have.”
  • “It's mixed with sheep muck from ewes housed for lambing and composted for two years before being spread.”
  • “Our compost is 'Black Gold.' We always compost for at least two years.”
  • “I compost my horse manure with kitchen and yard waste for use in my garden.”

Many others said they use horse manure on their property:

  • “I use it to fill holes, flower beds, etc. We have a large farm.”
  • “I spread it on soft, swampy areas on property.”
  • “We spread on land to control erosion.”
  • “I spread it on my yard and use it to fill in low spots.”
  • “I put it on erosion places.”
  • “I make big piles in spots that can't be used otherwise and leave it there.”
  • “A little bit goes on the tomato garden and the rest is dumped on the property.”
  • “I spread it in the riding ring and disc in. This softens our very hard ground and keeps the surface workable.”
  • “I also use in my flower and vegetable gardens and for potted plants. Plants love it.”
  • “We cover my Mum's garden in the fall/winter then spread it on the pastures in the spring when we seed.”
  • “I put the manure in piles along the fence boundaries (not next to posts) and let the worms process it.”
  • “I spread in the arena and disc and harrow in.”
  • “I put it on my vegetable garden.”

Some respondents said they give their horse manure away:  

  • “I give it away for free.”
  • “Local people take it for their gardens.”
  • “I give it away and or spread it on pasture.”
  • “I don’t actually sell it. I just give it to gardener friends.”
  • “I put it on Craigslist every spring for gardeners to come haul away composted manure for free.”
  • “I give it away to friends.”
  • “I post it as 'free give-away' on Craigslist for local gardeners.”

While others have it hauled away:

  • “The local trash company provides a dumpster that is emptied weekly.”
  • “I pay a landscaper to haul it away.”
  • “I also post info on a website and get some people to haul some of it away for their own gardens.”
  • “What I don't used is hauled away for someone else to use.”
  • “It goes in the dumpster that gets hauled away once a week.”
  • “I sack manure twice daily. Garbage disposal company picks up twice weekly.”

Several more respondents listed other manure management strategies:  

  • “A neighbor hauls it, then composts and sells it.”
  • “We have a deal with a local nursery, we trailer it over once a day and they compost it and use it.”
  • “We burn our manure pile several times a year. Whatever is left is spread on our crop fields.”
  • “We sell our straw manure to mushroom growers but we also compost and spread it on our fields.”
  • “Let it dry and sit in the manure spreader, then spread it.”
  • “My chickens are a big help in the composting process.”
  • “I compost, give away, and spread uncomposted.”
  • “I pile it in the pasture and let time take care of it.”
  • “Burn it then use it on garden.”
  • “Spread, but not on pasture or riding areas.”
  • “Currently just spread, but will be installing compost bins this season.”

And a few left general comments:

  • “I drag harrow my pastures frequently. Not too much manure with just two horses.”
  • “It’s too expensive to haul and no one wants it unless you deliver.”
  • “I use some but most just sits in the pile for years.”

You can find additional information on composting horse manure, methods to reduce water pollution from horse manure, alternatives to composting for small horse-property owners, how to build a horse manure composting system, and more at TheHorse.com! 

This week, we want to know: is managing your horse's weight a challenge? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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