So I just got a contact who will deliver for free (saving him money) as much horse manure as I desire. I want to disperse this on my budding farm as efficiently as possibke, all manual and small tractor with a tiny dump cart.
I will be composting as much as I can handle in the 18 day cycle, ala Jeff Lawton style.
Should I just keep spreading it on my fallow field all summer and not worry about composting it (I know weeds seeds will be an issue).
Will the manure have hogfuel or other bedding matter in it?
Composted horse manure is fantastic. I don't know the method you talk about, but I'm eager to look it up.
However, I can talk about the horrible experience I've had with fresh horse manure. My grandfather being of the mind that if composted road apples are the bestest thing ever, then fresh would be even better than the bestest thing ever. So lets put it in every garden uncomposted.
Here's the highlights of what it did when spread directly on the gardens/lawn/fields:
-More weed seeds
-absorbs nitrogen the first four years or so
-killed all our clover
-as much as I complain about weed seeds, it also killed/prevented a lot of our plants from growing. We found out later that it was a herbicide used in growing the hay that actually persisted after it went through the horse. Sadly it did not kill weeds.
-these horses were highly medicated, which may or may not transfer to the soil.
6 years later we are still fighting the effects. Not all horse manure is going to act this way. What bedding they use will also affect how the manure decomposes.
If I were to do it again, I would listen to traditional wisdom and compost the manure for 4 years, turning the pile once a year with the tractor. I would also consider what meds/wormers/other treatments the horses have and what their diet is - as mentioned earlier, there are now herbicides and pesticides that remain active after they pass throught the digestive track.
Don't shy away from it because of my bad experience. If it's free, there is always something you can use it for.
Please let us know how it goes - the good and the bad.
While I can't say much to the quality of the hay they eat. I did speak to the farmer and he said they don't medicate unless absolutely necessary and that's not that often. Mostly the fowl on ocassion. The quality of the hay is usually here in Northere vermont I know almost all hay fields are sprayed with liquid cow manure (now to say the cows are fed a great diet but the horse manure is atleast a step or two away from the bad stuff.
Hog fuel is sometimes used as a means of hiding "expensive to dispose of" materials. Never accept hog fuel if it contains building materials. Paint chips and nails are indicators. Several big lawsuits have been conducted over this one. Tree waste only.
And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"