Carefully-collected animal manure was once the main source of nutrients for crop production. Today, horse owners with one or more animals often don’t have enough land for crop production to use the manure their animals produce. Some municipalities require daily or weekly manure removal. Consequently, this valuable by-product is often considered waste or, at best, a disposal nuisance. In New Hampshire, all livestock manure could be used advantageously if it was accessible in a useful form. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 30,000 horses in New Hampshire. Ten thousand properties house horses, with millions of dollars being spent on feed and services. Yet all too often, potentially valuable manure from these animals ends up in the municipal land-fill and is wasted because it’s not available to gardeners, landscapers, and other plant growers in a usable condition. A solution is composting manure or composting manure with other materials, such as leaves and lawn clippings, that yield organic matter in a form similar to potting soil. Like recycling, composting removes a portion of the municipal waste stream resulting in extended landfill life-expectancy.
This publication discusses some of the issues that arise when manure is allowed to accumulate, but it also touches on opportunities for taking advantage of the nutrients contained in this resource.The authors provide recommendations for managing pastures and exercise yards, and they list best management practices for building manure storage structures and for composting manure.
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