Composting cattle manure and bedding, etc

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SRBeef

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I started scraping up some manure/hay/bedding from places in my sacrifice area where at least the top layer wasn't still frozen. When it was super cold this past Jan I put out a bale or two with no ring so they could make a place to lay down off of the snow which was everywhere even in the woods.

I started making a pile as a neighbor does to make compost to spread later or use in the garden etc. I think my neighbor turns his with his manure forks on his loader every so often.

While piling this wet, half frozen mix with the tractor manure fork, I was looking at it and thinking there may need to be some air in the middle of this pile...

Does anyone have any ideas on proven ways to compost this stuff without needing to turn it often? I was thinking of maybe laying some plastic drainage tile across the pile at various elevations but not sure that would do enough to be worth the hassle.

I need some advice from some folks that have done this before. Last year I just dragged the sacrifice area and was not very happy with that. Too much stuff there. Never did get much grass coming back, but maybe that is just inevitable...

Maybe I should just pick up an old manure spreader at an auction? But would like a supply of compost also. Jim
 

hillsdown

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I don't know if this helps, but we just clean our pole barn and straw pads in the late spring after cows go out to pasture and put it all in one big pile. The heat from the summer does the composting and then we spread it with a manure spreader in the late fall onto out hayfield. Makes amazing fertilizer..
 

Susie David

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The pile needs oxygen and moisture to compost and needs to be turned. The gardeners even monitor the temperature. I just turn move the piles as they are turned. The lack of oxygen and heat can allow some nasty bacteria to develop. Chicken house clean-out. Spread and disc in the steer manure in the fall. DMc
 

Bez+

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Just pile it up and let the cows walk on it - they will turn it for you.

We let that pile get quite big - the heat from it makes a nice place to lay in the winter time.

Bez+
 

Stocker Steve

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You need to get air into the compost pile.
In the old days the hired man would put a layer of straw down between each layer of manure to get air in.
Today most folks use a loader to turn it or just let it go...
 

msscamp

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SRBeef":33c56uoz said:
Does anyone have any ideas on proven ways to compost this stuff without needing to turn it often?

It will not compost without turning the pile on a regular basis. That is the way that oxygen is let in, the temperature remains stable, bugs/weed seed is killed, and decomposition of the vegetable matter is accomplished. I believe that you also need to water it every now and then, as well.

We just pile up the manure/hay during the winter, then spread it on the fields come spring. It doesn't compost, but it still makes for some pretty darned good fertilizer.
 

grannysoo

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I turn ours every two weeks with the loader. I keep two piles going. One for the older composting materials, and one that I add fresh materials to.

Last summer when turning the older pile, we had earthworms at the bottom of it that were a foot long. Scared me to death when I saw them. Thought I had snakes in the compost........
 

Roadapple

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Bez+":iyextckq said:
Just pile it up and let the cows walk on it - they will turn it for you.

We let that pile get quite big - the heat from it makes a nice place to lay in the winter time.

Bez+
Jeez Bez, don't you have a bed to lay in?
 

Bez+

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Roadapple":3ksnknnr said:
Bez+":3ksnknnr said:
Just pile it up and let the cows walk on it - they will turn it for you.

We let that pile get quite big - the heat from it makes a nice place to lay in the winter time.

Bez+
Jeez Bez, don't you have a bed to lay in?

:D

Guess I had better proof read!

"It makes a nice place for the cows to lay down in the cold winter weather as the manure pile is hot - even during the winter"

There ya' go

Bez+
 

regolith

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"It makes a nice place for the cows to lay down in the cold winter weather as the manure pile is hot - even during the winter"

hmm - just so long as the bulls don't join 'em.

Not sure how true it is; learned in college that bulls should never be housed on deep straw bedding. Tends to reduce the number of calves the following year.
 

1982vett

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Started a pile yesterday. Someone :roll: didn't latch a gate, you know, it's the one you always have to kick the hay and manure out from under so you can open it. Of course the cows had no problem getting it open.
annoyed.gif
Got about a 16 yard pile, 1/3 waste soaked hay, 1/3 topsoil, 1/3 dry cow manure from under a loafing shed.
 

bowich

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Poop Lasagna!

Start with a layer of CARBON, un-eaten hay or bedding or fallen leaves in the pasture, Then layer of NITROGEN, poo (chopped with a rake or shovel) or green clippings, then about 2 inches of crappy South Texas clay soil, then sprinkle in kitchen scraps and coffee grounds/filters. Each time I spread a layer, I wet it down. Repeat for an ideal 5ft x 5ft x 5ft pile. Oxygen can get into that sized pile without constant turning. Top it with a good layer of hay to keep the moisture in. I try to keep a 3:1 ratio of carbon and nitrogen. (Carbon is the BROWN - leaves/hay and Nitrogen is the POO.) It'll start the magic on it's own. I'll wet it every two weeks for 2 months. Then I'll turn it when I start another pile (actually move that pile and start the new one where that one was.) I have 5 piles in various stages for my landscaping to enjoy throughout the Summer.
 

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