Manure............To Spread or Not to Spread?

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robertwhite

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Let's talk manure for a minute, please.

As I have said, I am very new to the cattle scene, have just a few (4 for now) cows and have an odd (I think) question.

I clean the manure out of my barn and around the hay ring every morning. What I typically get is a large wheelbarrow full of manure. Now, mind you, my cows do not produce cow pies, they produce solid waste matter as they are well taken care of and the waste is basically fiber waste.

Problem is that by the springtime, I will have amassed a VERY large pie of manure which is way more than I need for a garden. Now I know that I can get a manure spreader, which I'm guessing will chop it up fine and spread it like a broadcast seeder of sorts. BUT.......... after this is done, can the cows be put into that particular pasture to graze? If so, can they be put out right away, or do I have to wait until a certain period of time passes to allow for further breakdown of the waste?

Will the cows even want to graze there? After all, they won't eat hay they have trampled, peed or crapped on.

Also, what about the waste in the fields that accumulates throughout the winter? (and year round for that matter) Do I just let it set there or does it need to be dragged over and broken up?

As I said, they might be dumb questions to some of you, but I really have a couple of incredible looking cattle and don't want to jeapordize the future of the herd in any way by doing something wrong.

Thanks for bearing with me.
 

Angus Cowman

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yes you can use the manure
it would be better if you could spread it in the late winter or eraly spring therefore it will have a longer time to break down and for the ground to utilize the nutrients
as for the cow poies in the pasture if you can drag them down and break them up it will better distribute the nutrients all over your ground and provide faster breakdown of the manure
 

pdfangus

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The above advice is good.

If you are cleaning up manure every day and amassing a large pile.....
are you trying to compost it?
composting is good and will kill pathogens and weed seeds.
makes a better soil amendment for both the garden and the pasture.

for information on composting
1. google....
2. your local extesnion agent (if extension still exists in your area)
3. your local soil and water conservation district.
 

Howdyjabo

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Just take your wheel barrel out to the pasture and spread it out by hand(or foot) as you collect it. No need to pile it.

I can kick a wheel barrel load around in just a minute or two.
 

rockridgecattle

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robertwhite":w9c2sin2 said:
Let's talk manure for a minute, please.

I clean the manure out of my barn and around the hay ring every morning. What I typically get is a large wheelbarrow full of manure. Now, mind you, my cows do not produce cow pies, they produce solid waste matter as they are well taken care of and the waste is basically fiber waste.
Different cow patties or waste matter have different meanings
---IF the cow shoots out like a water fall and you know not to stand too closed or get hit with the crap, it means too much protien. Alfafla hay, second cut alfafla hay, lush grass or alfalfa will do this.
This will also happen when they are under stress from being worked
---if the pile is solid and mounds when they drop their load and if the fresh patty does not need straw when you fork it, it means too much fibre and they are not getting enough protien. The basic premis is the food which is high in fibre is close to the value of straw. Might have the protien or the TDN but too much fibre will cancel out the rest
---the last patty, when they drop it, is rather liquidly but keeps it shape, but does not shoot out. It basically drops straight down with a slight arc, and the last few splotches on the patty will have a few drops which spray up. It will not mound and it will not run. It is heavy when you lift it fresh and needs straw under it to stay on the fork. This is the perfect patty signalling the cow is getting the right mix of protien and fibre.!!!
Watch out, if you stand too close when she drops this load, that single drop that bounces back could get you in the face :D
Problem is that by the springtime, I will have amassed a VERY large pie of manure which is way more than I need for a garden. Now I know that I can get a manure spreader, which I'm guessing will chop it up fine and spread it like a broadcast seeder of sorts. BUT.......... after this is done, can the cows be put into that particular pasture to graze? If so, can they be put out right away, or do I have to wait until a certain period of time passes to allow for further breakdown of the waste?
Late fall is best. Need to check with your ag extension office. Some areas like ours have times when we can spread manure and times when we can not. Once the snow is on the field, no spreading allowed..in our area
Will the cows even want to graze there? After all, they won't eat hay they have trampled, peed or crapped on.

Also, what about the waste in the fields that accumulates throughout the winter? (and year round for that matter) Do I just let it set there or does it need to be dragged over and broken up?
A set of harrows over the field or a single rack of diamond harrows behind an ATV works great
As I said, they might be dumb questions to some of you, but I really have a couple of incredible looking cattle and don't want to jeapordize the future of the herd in any way by doing something wrong.
no dumb questions, and by the way, we all treat our cattle well and we all have incredible looking cattle...and none of us producers, commercial or hobbiest want to jeopardize our herds.

Thanks for bearing with me.
 

SRBeef

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I clean up my winter "sacrifice" area around the hay feeders after putting cattle on pasture around May 1 in Wisconsin. As taught by my neighbor who has been doing this for a long time, I give the area some time to dry a bit then pile up the mixture a manure and urine soaked hay into piles. It composts over the summer and is usually spread on pastures in early fall. Over the summer it gets hot (killing pathogens as mentioned above) and breaks down in volume. It needs to be turned once or twice to get some air into the center.

The key thing is the carbon to nitrogen ratio which needs to be about 25 to 1 to compost properly. If you are just carting off the manure your pile is probably pretty high in nitrogen and will not compost properly but smell of ammonia (N). I would mix some leaves or spoiled or dropped hay in and make a pile, turn it a couple times and you will have a compost which can be spread safely on garden or pasture. I would keep the cattle off of pasture after spreading for a time to allow a couple rains to wash it into the soil and grass to grow up over the compost.

Basically compost it first before spreading. Best of luck. Jim
 

Kingfisher

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pdfangus said:
The above advice is good.

If you are cleaning up manure every day and amassing a large pile.....
are you trying to compost it?
composting is good and will kill pathogens and weed seeds.
makes a better soil amendment for both the garden and the pasture.

That is a real good point about killing the weed seeds. I suppose it depends on the weed?
 
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robertwhite

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rockridgecattle":1j295srj said:
---if the pile is solid and mounds when they drop their load and if the fresh patty does not need straw when you fork it, it means too much fibre and they are not getting enough protien. The basic premis is the food which is high in fibre is close to the value of straw. Might have the protien or the TDN but too much fibre will cancel out the rest
---the last patty, when they drop it, is rather liquidly but keeps it shape, but does not shoot out. It basically drops straight down with a slight arc, and the last few splotches on the patty will have a few drops which spray up. It will not mound and it will not run. It is heavy when you lift it fresh and needs straw under it to stay on the fork. This is the perfect patty signalling the cow is getting the right mix of protien and fibre.!!!

While I understand the above, I would beg to differ a bit. My cows droppings are quite firm with the last patty being sometimes solid, sometimes a bit loose. Where I would question is the fact that you say all solid is an indication of too much fiber and not enough protein. The hay they are on has serecia in it which has high protein, and they get grained every night with a 14% protein pellet. Each getting approx. 1/2 gallon of pellets. I would imagine, between any residual field grass they are grazing on, plus the hay, plus the grain, they are getting enough protein. I of course am not an expert, and this is just a guess. I am also getting a core sample taken in the next few days or so to tell me exactly what the protein in the hay is.

Thank you for the advice.
 
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robertwhite

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SRBeef":1cljj527 said:
I clean up my winter "sacrifice" area around the hay feeders after putting cattle on pasture around May 1 in Wisconsin. As taught by my neighbor who has been doing this for a long time, I give the area some time to dry a bit then pile up the mixture a manure and urine soaked hay into piles. It composts over the summer and is usually spread on pastures in early fall. Over the summer it gets hot (killing pathogens as mentioned above) and breaks down in volume. It needs to be turned once or twice to get some air into the center.

I am only cleaning up the majority of the solid droppings around the hay ring. All spilled/pulled out hay and urine soaked hay is going to get collected in the Spring to do just what you had suggested.

The key thing is the carbon to nitrogen ratio which needs to be about 25 to 1 to compost properly. If you are just carting off the manure your pile is probably pretty high in nitrogen and will not compost properly but smell of ammonia (N). I would mix some leaves or spoiled or dropped hay in and make a pile, turn it a couple times and you will have a compost which can be spread safely on garden or pasture. I would keep the cattle off of pasture after spreading for a time to allow a couple rains to wash it into the soil and grass to grow up over the compost.

Basically compost it first before spreading. Best of luck. Jim

The pile gets a bit of leaves and such and will be turned over, but as there is basically no urine soaked hay being thrown there, I get no ammonia smell what so ever. In reality, you could walk right past the huge pile of manure and not even realize it was there. Yes, it is winter, but another pile right next to it that has been there since the summer also has no smell and had very minor smell during the summer. I think the fact that the manure is almost totally solid waste has a big factor in this. Again, a guess, but it makes sense to me at least.

Please feel free to correct my thought process if it is wrong.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Noone on this board can tell you what protein your cows are getting, but manure is the first indicator of protein intake. The looser the manure (on a healthy animal), the higher the protein. And the thicker, more solid the manure, the less protein - unless your cattle are low on water intake.
The manure tells the story. Your description of solid & mine may be different. Rockridge explained it quite well.
 

piedmontese

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robertwhite":16t9pper said:
rockridgecattle":16t9pper said:
---if the pile is solid and mounds when they drop their load and if the fresh patty does not need straw when you fork it, it means too much fibre and they are not getting enough protien. The basic premis is the food which is high in fibre is close to the value of straw. Might have the protien or the TDN but too much fibre will cancel out the rest
---the last patty, when they drop it, is rather liquidly but keeps it shape, but does not shoot out. It basically drops straight down with a slight arc, and the last few splotches on the patty will have a few drops which spray up. It will not mound and it will not run. It is heavy when you lift it fresh and needs straw under it to stay on the fork. This is the perfect patty signalling the cow is getting the right mix of protien and fibre.!!!

While I understand the above, I would beg to differ a bit. My cows droppings are quite firm with the last patty being sometimes solid, sometimes a bit loose. Where I would question is the fact that you say all solid is an indication of too much fiber and not enough protein. The hay they are on has serecia in it which has high protein, and they get grained every night with a 14% protein pellet. Each getting approx. 1/2 gallon of pellets. I would imagine, between any residual field grass they are grazing on, plus the hay, plus the grain, they are getting enough protein. I of course am not an expert, and this is just a guess. I am also getting a core sample taken in the next few days or so to tell me exactly what the protein in the hay is.
a half gallon of 14% pellets is not much for an adult cow.a half gallon is gonna weigh around 2-3lbs.that amount is really only good for bringing them up or taming them but if your hay is good enough then u should'nt need any grain.
Thank you for the advice.
 
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robertwhite

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piedmontese":20j0thb4 said:
a half gallon of 14% pellets is not much for an adult cow.a half gallon is gonna weigh around 2-3lbs.that amount is really only good for bringing them up or taming them but if your hay is good enough then u should'nt need any grain.
Thank you for the advice.

These are young cows (9-11 months). My bull who will be 9 months the day after X-mas weighs in at around 825-875 and is going to be huge and my #1 heifer is 11 months at around the same weight. The other calves are somewhat lighter.

I really only grain them to both keep them somewhat tame them and train them to come when called in from the pasture. The training to call them in has worked out great, and you better be ready to get out of the way when they are called. :p If I let them, they would eat a 50lb bag every day. :lol2:
 

rockridgecattle

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ok cow terminology 101

Cow: an animal of the bovine family which has had one or more calves. In order to be called a cow...a calf must be born either by C section or natural birth
heifer: an animal of the bovine family which is female. She has not had a calf yet. Usually called this term once weaned and up until either slaughter or she has a calf
Steer: again bovine family, but a bull without the family jewels and called this until slaughter.
Yearling: a heifer or steer which is of one year of age, until it is closer to being finished. Once they are finished or clost to being finished, the term fats can be used up until slaughter
Calf: a heifer or bull or steer which is under a year of age. Usual reference is up to 8 months of age. After that....Steers and heifers or yearlings and even backgrounders.

What you have are either heifer and or steer weaned calves which can be classed as yearlings. You are in the process of preconditioning them or backgrounding them either for breeding or for slaughter..at this point.

Edit, if that bull is with those heifers, expect a calf in less than 9 months. Calves can be bred any time after 6 months of age. Bull calves can and have breed calves just over the 6 month mark
 
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robertwhite

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rockridgecattle":138w8pmh said:
ok cow terminology 101

Cow: an animal of the bovine family which has had one or more calves. In order to be called a cow...a calf must be born either by C section or natural birth
heifer: an animal of the bovine family which is female. She has not had a calf yet. Usually called this term once weaned and up until either slaughter or she has a calf
Steer: again bovine family, but a bull without the family jewels and called this until slaughter.
Yearling: a heifer or steer which is of one year of age, until it is closer to being finished. Once they are finished or clost to being finished, the term fats can be used up until slaughter
Calf: a heifer or bull or steer which is under a year of age. Usual reference is up to 8 months of age. After that....Steers and heifers or yearlings and even backgrounders.

What you have are either heifer and or steer weaned calves which can be classed as yearlings. You are in the process of preconditioning them or backgrounding them either for breeding or for slaughter..at this point.

Edit, if that bull is with those heifers, expect a calf in less than 9 months. Calves can be bred any time after 6 months of age. Bull calves can and have breed calves just over the 6 month mark

Yes, I know all about the correct terms, but as this thread was started with a question on manure, I figured it was not an issue. ;-)

As for the young bull in with the heifers, again, I know I am risking an early calf, but I can't separate them in a sufficient manner for the next year. The oldest (and best) heifer was about 9 months old when placed in the pasture with the bull (then 7 months), so even on the off chance he mounted right away, the heifer will be 18 months when she calves. They are both beautiful Semitole/BeefMaster crosses. A little early, but not a huge issue from all the info I have read. Guess we'll find out.
 

rockridgecattle

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Semitole/BeefMaster I assume you are talking about Simmental. All might be well with an 18month old birth but the birthweights could be high. Watch for that.
 

dun

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rockridgecattle":1e51bk32 said:
Semitole/BeefMaster I assume you are talking about Simmental. All might be well with an 18month old birth but the birthweights could be high. Watch for that.
Or even the proper spelling Simmenthal
 

rockridgecattle

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dun":6yjy8v3e said:
rockridgecattle":6yjy8v3e said:
Semitole/BeefMaster I assume you are talking about Simmental. All might be well with an 18month old birth but the birthweights could be high. Watch for that.
Or even the proper spelling Simmenthal

Sorry Dun, when i googled it to check the correct spelling in the previous post, there was no 'h'. Maybe it is a regional thing

http://www.simmental.com/
 

dun

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rockridgecattle":3tg3qud8 said:
dun":3tg3qud8 said:
rockridgecattle":3tg3qud8 said:
Semitole/BeefMaster I assume you are talking about Simmental. All might be well with an 18month old birth but the birthweights could be high. Watch for that.
Or even the proper spelling Simmenthal

Sorry Dun, when i googled it to check the correct spelling in the previous post, there was no 'h'. Maybe it is a regional thing

http://www.simmental.com/
That was the spelling that was used when they were first imported to Canada/US
 

bannedagain

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rockridgecattle":3ab754j5 said:
ok cow terminology 101

Cow: an animal of the bovine family which has had one or more calves. In order to be called a cow...a calf must be born either by C section or natural birth
heifer: an animal of the bovine family which is female. She has not had a calf yet. Usually called this term once weaned and up until either slaughter or she has a calf
Steer: again bovine family, but a bull without the family jewels and called this until slaughter.
Yearling: a heifer or steer which is of one year of age, until it is closer to being finished. Once they are finished or clost to being finished, the term fats can be used up until slaughter
Calf: a heifer or bull or steer which is under a year of age. Usual reference is up to 8 months of age. After that....Steers and heifers or yearlings and even backgrounders.

What you have are either heifer and or steer weaned calves which can be classed as yearlings. You are in the process of preconditioning them or backgrounding them either for breeding or for slaughter..at this point.

Edit, if that bull is with those heifers, expect a calf in less than 9 months. Calves can be bred any time after 6 months of age. Bull calves can and have breed calves just over the 6 month mark
And cattle are?
Fed cattle?
nonfed cattle?
 

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