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Manure: Is too much a bad thing?  RSS feed

 
John Nelson
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Hi all,

In live in a town with a large agricultural fair and every year they do not have anything to doo with their piles of poo.  Since the only cost is to have someone transport it, I am wondering how much I should get.  I have about 2 acres of pasture (without animals yet) and there is a 50x 50 area that I want to turn into an orchard.  My property is mostly gravel fill with about an inch or two of top soil.  My though is that any organic matter will help; but my wife has some concerns.

The manure is a blend of all animals (pigs, horses, cows, etc).  I have heard that horse poo brings with it a lot of weeds and also some undigested medication and vaccinations that horses are given.  Should either of these be of concern, especially in an orchard where I will be ingesting the produce?  Are their issues with poo from other animals?

The manure pile is apparently, mostly made up of wood shavings and saw dust from the animal stalls.  I assume it is pine shavings, but am not sure.  Will adding massive amounts of decaying pine shavings make the soil less habitable for some plants or more habitable for others?

With manure, is there a risk of it bringing any disease and/or unwanted bugs?

If you have any other concerns that I have not though of please share. 

Thanks,
John
 
wayne fajkus
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Weeds is a matter of interpretaion. In my area , hay is coastal bermuda grass. Any place i add horse manure, i get bermuda grass. Not a good thing cause its hard to get rid of. Where i placed a hay bale for the cows last winter is now a 6ft circle of bermuda.  Its a pasture grass , a lawn grass, and a weed in a garden or orchard.

Im not concerned with any manures that come from grass eaters. I apply it fresh or rotted.

Im not concerned about medicines, but many are. I have nothing to back up my lack of concern.

Since it has to be transported, leave it in a pile for a month and turn it if you have the means. The heat should resolve most of your concerns.

A local company used to sell compost made from the local 4h shows. I was happy with the results
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Get all You can, compost it as a hot compost heap and it will be ready for use once it has finished the heating process.
I treat all manure heaps the same, I add greens as I put the heap together (the straw/ chips or other bedding materials are the browns)disregarding the manure content allows you to construct a hotter heap of compost.
This wonderful black gold will be mostly weed seed free and microorganism rich.

Redhawk
 
Travis Johnson
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It is possible to apply too much manure, but I doubt that in hauling it homesteader style that you would reach that point.

But grab all that you can. The problem with stuff like this is that it does not haveany value, and no one wants it, until someone else does. Get all you can, while you can as manure is black gold.
 
John Nelson
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Thank you all,

You have helped to ease some of my wife's concerns.

I have a driver with a 9 cubic yard truck willing to transport it for $40 a load.  Which is about $4.40 a yard.  My thought is that if the adding that manure to the orchard will help produce one extra piece of fruit per year, on 9 different fruit trees that the investment will pay for itself quickly.  Sound logic right?
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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yes John, very sound logic indeed.

Do be sure to compost the manure before spreading it around your trees. When spreading manures in orchards you want to leave a 6" to one foot space away from the trunk clear of amendment.
The reasons for this are; tree trunk health, the junction where trunk meets ground need to be able to breathe for bark integrity and the roots that close to the trunk are anchors not feeder roots.
When I spread composted manure in my orchard I tend to leave about 1.5 feet around the trunks clear then I spread it to about 3 feet past the "drip line" the manure goes on no more than 1 inch thick and I water it down once spread.

Since I have hogs, chickens and a donkey, I tend to always have manures composting. It is amazing how fast your heaps grow when you have a few animals.

Redhawk
 
James Whitelaw
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Should we be concerned about herbicide carryover in manure such as Clopyralid and Aminopyralid from a diverse source such as an Ag Fair? Warnings and horror stories regarding this issue abound. Conducting a simple bioessay test could easily miss contaminated manure in such a scenario of mixed sources.

Gardener Alert! Beware of Herbicide- Contaminated Compost and Manure

Herbicide Carryover in Hay, Manure, Compost, and Grass Clippings
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau James,

That is a valid point, but if you are hot composting the manures and if you add an inoculate of fungi (oyster mushroom is one of the best for removing such contaminates) I think you would be ok should there have been any of those contaminates present.
I always recommend manures be hot composted and allowed to completely finish out prior to use in gardens, orchards and vineyards.
Of course the best case is when you are using all items from your own farm (a closed system) but if you can't do that, then you want to know everything you can about what you are bringing in to make your compost from.

I have been able to find a farm that doesn't even use organic approved items, the farmer doesn't use herbicides or pesticides, and operates with minimum tilling.
We buy his wheat straw and his hay (he sells cheaper than others too) and these are the only items we bring onto our farm, everything else is ours.

Redhawk
 
chip sanft
pollinator
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I agree about getting this stuff -- you'll be doing your land a favor.

Two thoughts: I do lazy person's composting of horse manure (the "pile it and wait" method). It's pretty hot at the start because the wood chips etc. have soaked up a lot of nitrogen, plus that in the manure itself, plus the wood = nice. After that, I don't get any weeds where I use the manure that are different from what pop up elsewhere.

Persistent herbicides are a concern for me, too. I always do a simple and cheap test: Because those herbicides are intended to spare grass, they kill broad leaf plants. Answer: plant broad leaf plants in the composted pile and make sure they sprout and start leaves looking like they should. I haven't encountered a problem but better safe than very sorry.
 
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