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The Scoop on Poop - Composting Livestock Manure

Horses, rabbits, and goats; oh my! All that manure attracting those flies! Improperly dealt with manure not only attracts  flies, it is also a major cause of storm water pollution. Runoff from manure contains high concentrations of pathogens such as bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Manure is also high in nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. In waterways, these nutrients cause algal blooms and degrade water quality, but in our compost pile, they can do wonders!

The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio in a compost pile is approximately 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen (30:1). For example, chicken manure is 7:1, cow manure is 18:1, and horse manure is 25:1. In comparison, straw is 75:1 and sawdust is 511:1. Manure is considered high in nitrogen (a "green" in compost-speak) whereas something like straw and sawdust are considered high in carbon (a "brown" in compost-speak). Mix browns and greens with some water and air and presto! You've got compost! (Well, maybe it doesn't happen that quickly...)

If manure is being used in a compost pile, it is important that a ditch or berm is placed around the pile and the pile is located at least 150 feet away from drainages, ponds and wells to prevent polluted runoff.

To learn more about composting manure, attend one of our Manure Management Compost Workshops. Whether you're in North or East County, we've got a workshop near you!  Join us for a workshop on November 4, 2017 in San Marcos or our workshop on December 9th in Lakeside.

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