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365 Days in Horse Country – Composting Manure

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | December 14th, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – Composting Manure


Horse manure makes great fertilizer, but you have to know how to compost it first.  Composting is the bacterial decomposition of organic matter by placing it in a pile or composting bin to speed along the process. Spread uncomposted horse manure on your vegetable garden, and you’ll kill your garden in no time.  Use composted manure in your garden and pasture, and you’ll see beautiful results.

Composting manure properly is important because you have less odor than you would with an uncomposted pile.  Flies are also kept to a minimum if the manure is properly composted.  This is because the temperatures reached in a composted manure pile do not permit the development of fly eggs and larvae.

Heed the following guidelines when composting your horse’s manure and you’ll be the envy of all the green-thumbs in your neighbourhood.

  • Make sure your manure pile is at least 3 feet 0.9 m) high to get the high temperature you need to kill flies.
  • Turn the pile weekly with a tractor or shovel to speed up decomposition and reduce odor.
  • Use a composting thermometer to check the temperature, and keep your manure pile’s temperature below 160F (71C) to avoid killing beneficial organisms.  If the temperature gets too high, reduce the size of the pile.
  • Avoid getting the pile wet.  Cover it with a tarp during rainy weather.

To learn more about how to best compost manure, contact your local agricultural college or Agriculture Canada.