The information contained in these web pages has not been
verified for correctness. Some of the information contained herein is hearsay and may not
be correct. Use the information from these pages only at your own risk!
Manure contains high concentrations of bacteria, phosphates, and nitrates. When manure
enters surface or groundwater, its constituents can cause serious water quality problems
- Bacteria: can spread disease to other livestock and people in the watershed
- Phosphates: promote algae growth when dissolved in surface waters. As algae dies,
decomposing bacteria removes oxygen from the water - killing fish. Algae also plugs
irrigation filters and reduces scenic and recreational values for streams.
- Nitrogen: Can be detrimental to livestock and human infants through
excessive nitrate levels in well water. Ammonia forms of nitrogen remove oxygen from
water, killing fish. Nitrogen also promotes algae growth.
Benefits of Storing and Composting Manure
- Reduces parasite reinfestation in your horse or livestock (The heat generated in the
composting process kills worm eggs as well as parasites and weed seeds)
- May reduce fly populations
- May reduce odor
- Reduces volume of manure and shavings, etc. by approximately 50%
- Reduces the manure contaminated runoff to surface or groundwater
- Provides a free, easy source of compost/fertilizer - a valuable addition to pastures,
gardens, and yard
- Makes property appearance pleasing and enjoyable to look at
- No activities shall be conducted which result in the discharges of wastes into waters of
the state. Wastes include, but are not limited to, livestock manures, composts and
- No wastes shall be placed where they are likely to escape or be carried into the waters
of the state.
- Keep animal waste run-off from reaching streams, by storing it and recycling it
- Utilize your natural resources and reduce costs for chemicals.
What can be done?
- Store manure at least 150 feet from streams. under a roof or tarp
to protect it from rain. This prevents leaching of nutrients into surface
or ground waters.
- Select a storage site where run-off from surrounding area cannot
run into manure pile and pose a threat to groundwater. Optimal storage is on a
concrete slab with walls or curbs.
- Locate animal confinement and manure storage areas away from surface
- Install gutters on manure storage structures to capture and divert runoff away
from buildings. This will prevent run-off from flowing through manure areas.
- Add grass clippings and other green yard debris to the pile to reach the
proper carbon to nitrogen balance for speedy and hot composting. Green leaves are
high in nitrogen.
- Add just enough water to the new compost pile to reach the consistency of a
wrung out sponge. Horse and some other manures are not wet enough with dry
bedding to compost.
- Turn the pile to aerate it. or place a few PVC pipes with
big holes drilled in them, into the pile to add air. Avoid compacting the pile. This will
speed the compost process, reduce odors, and increase the temperature.
- Reduce parasite and fly problems by managing the compost to reach
115°F for several days and harrow the manure in the pasture.
Experiment to get a balance of air, moisture, nitrogen and fiber for hot compost.
- Clean confinement areas regularly (such as stalls and dry lots)
to properly store, utilize, or dispose of manure.
- Do not add lime or enzymes to the compost pile. They are not
- Consider hauling manure off your property. Store in a
covered trailer and deliver trailer to a nursery, crop farm, or neighbors. Properly
composted wastes may be more marketable than raw manure.
- Composted Manure is ready to spread when it has reduced in volume by
about 50% and it looks evenly textured and crumbly like soil.
- Communicating for Agriculture is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the needs of
America's farmers and ranchers. They can be contacted at: http://www.cainc.org
This page was last updated on
November 15, 2002