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Tons of benefits from manure sharing
“Horses are typically confined during the winter, so manure has been collecting,” says Jennifer Coyle-Bond a conservation planner for Clallam Conservation District.
It’s important for horse and livestock owners to know there are options for dealing with excess manure.
“Now is the best time to address manure issues,” Coyle-Bond said.
One option is the district’s Manure Share Program, created six years ago to connect horse and livestock owners and those who want to compost manure for their gardens.
“Most horse owners say they have a lot of leftover manure and it’s more than they can handle,” Coyle-Bond said.
Join the growing list
Farms and ranches offering free manure are on a list available to homeowners and gardeners.
Coyle-Bond said new suppliers are added often and more are welcome to sign up.
Some animal owners use straw, hay or bark chips for bedding, which is mixed with the manure. Others have straight manure. Most manure is free; a few places charge a small delivery or loading fee.
The share list includes:
• Address and general location of manure
• Phone number
• Type of manure: with or without bedding
• If owner can help deliver/load and how much it costs
Protecting the environment
Coyle-Bond said the district’s primary concern is keeping manure away from streams and ground water to prevent diseases and illnesses. Contaminated runoff can make water unsafe for drinking or swimming and can harm aquatic life. Waste from carnivores such as cats and dogs should not be composted but bagged, tied and thrown away.
For manure piles, the conservation district suggests:
• Pick a high, dry location at least 100 feet away from wells and surface water
• Site the pile away from home and neighbors and consider wind directions
• Choose a year-round accessible place
Manure should be composted before use.
Suggestions for storage/composting:
• At least two compost bins, one for fresh and one with ready compost
• A long-term storage bin with a concrete base and durable walls, usually of concrete
• Temporary pile covered with a tarp or canopy
All composing structures should be covered to prevent odors and spreading of harmful bacteria to animals and humans.
Sharing the benefits
About a dozen of the manure providers are near Sequim.
Deni Rauw, owner of Nodaway Farms in Sequim, has been on the manure share list about one year.
“I think it’s excellent, Rauw said.
“We have so much of it that it’s really a service for them to take it away from us.”
She has four horses but normally hosts 17-20 so the amount of waste adds up.
“Some barn owners in Seattle pay upwards of $800 a month for manure to be hauled-off,” Rauw said.
“It’s neat when people here discover us then they keep coming back.”
Linda Gooch, co-owner of Happy Valley Alpaca Farm, said repeat visitors aren’t uncommon for her either.
She said people aren’t picky and don’t mind the manure being mixed with sawdust and hay.
Alpaca manure is different from cattle manure because it’s not hot and doesn’t burn plants when put in the ground, Gooch said.
“A lot of people are doing gardens doing with it,” she said.
“(Community Organic Garden of Sequim members) have been in contact with us about taking some manure.”
Clallam Conservation District also provides advice and resources on:
• fencing to keep livestock away from streams
• technical assistance
• mud management systems
• soil tests
Contact Clallam Conservation District at 452-1915 ext. 5 or visit www.clallam.scc.wa.gov.
Reach Matthew Nash at email@example.com.