Sound Horsekeeping Update - July 11, 2018

Howdy horsekeepers!

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Here is the latest for our manure spreader program:

  • Manure Spreader Rental - What WE Need to Know
  • Small Manure Spreader Available
  • Large Manure Spreader Openings Soon!
  • Benefits of Composting Horse Manure
  • Manure Spreader Rental Overview
  • Thanks!

Manure Spreader Rental - What WE Need to Know

When you call or email to reserve one of the spreaders there are a few more things WE need to know aside from a good day and time for you. These are things we rarely think about, but for our delivery driver it is very important:

  • Will you be home, or will you have a representative present?
  • Is there a gate? If so, will it be open, or is there a code?
  • Is there enough room to turn around a full size truck with a 16' flatbed trailer?
  • Do you have a dog? (If so, please make sure it is contained or controlled)
  • Are there slopes to be aware of - we must have level ground to unload and load.

If there is anything else specific to your property that our driver needs to be aware of to safely and efficiently deliver and pick up the manure spreader please let us know at least 24 hours before your delivery / pick up.

Small Manure Spreader Available

Though it is not used as much, we do have a smaller manure spreader for those folks with only one horse (or a couple of minis!). It holds about 1 cubic yard - approximately 1/3 of the large spreader - and can be towed behind a riding lawnmower with at least 25 hp. Since it is less used than the larger one there are many more openings for it right now. So, if it will work for you, please call me and schedule it for use and you may be able to use it as soon as next week!

Large Manure Spreader Openings Soon!

The large manure spreader is by far our more popular spreader just due to size. It holds about 3.5 cubic yards and requires a small tractor with at least 32 hp to safely pull. However, because of its size, it gets the job done! Right now it is scheduled through July, but it begins to be available again in August, with the first opening on August 8. There are also openings through September until the end in October, so if you need it, reserve now - it will go fast!

Michael at the Evergreen State Fair with our example manure bins

Michael at the Evergreen State Fair with our example manure bins

Benefits of Composting Horse Manure

People often ask me why I encourage people to compost horse manure and then spread it on their pasture instead of hauling it all away. Well, for those who have pasture soil that either can take it or needs it (info you get from a FREE soil test!), composting and spreading horse manure has many benefits, including:

Horse Health

*Reduces flies

   - A well-managed compost pile will reach temperatures high enough to kill fly eggs and larvae in manure.

*Kills parasites and pathogens

   - The high temperatures achieved through composting also kills pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa).

Convenience and Aesthetics

*Reduces odors

   - A well-managed compost pile will be free of the odors often associated with an uncomposted manure pile...and create less complaints from neighbors!

*Cuts your pile in half

   - Composting reduces bulk and has 40 to 60 percent less volume and weight than uncomposted manure. Who doesn't want that?

*Kills weed seeds

   - The high temperatures achieved through composting kills most weed seeds.

*Evens out grazing patterns

   - Horses grazing in pastures spread with composted manure (instead of fresh manure) are more likely to graze normally and are less likely to restrict grazing to areas with the thinnest application rates.

Healthy Soil

*Improve aeration and water retention

   - Adding compost to soil builds good soil structure and texture, increasing the amount of air that can infiltrate and the amount of water it can hold.

*Supply nutrients

   - When fresh manure is spread on a field, about 50 percent of the nitrogen is in highly soluble form and will be washed out by rain when it is spread on pasture. In compost, however, 95 to 97 percent of nitrogen has been converted to a much more stable form and slowly released, allowing plants to use it over a longer period of time.

*Bacteria, earthworms, and pH

   - Compost also supports essential soil bacteria; feeds earthworms and allows them to multiply; and gradually changes soil pH levels that are either too low (acidic) or too high (alkaline).

The Environment

*Protect water quality

   - Because the composting process converts nitrogen into a less soluble form, it is less likely to be washed out of manure and into ground water or surface water.

*Protect fish and shellfish

   - When rain falls on soil rich with compost, raindrops seep into it. When rain falls on packed soil rain runs off the surface, creating erosion and carrying soil particles to nearby waterways. Sediment can smother trout and salmon eggs and make water cloudy, making it more difficult for fish to find insects to eat.

*Conserve our natural resources

   - Using compost instead of chemical fertilizers can reduce our use of non-renewable resources like natural gas. Approximately 2 percent of the natural gas consumed in the United States goes into the manufacturing of nitrogen fertilizer.

So, compost that manure and spread it if you can and you will see that your equine companion is returning your love and care through soil amendment gold! :)

Manure Spreader Rental Overview

Just as a reminder, there are some things to remember about the Manure Spreader Program for 2018 and how to go about reserving it for use:

  • Call or email Michael (me!) to make a reservation. Be sure to mention any specific s about your property or the delivery.

  • The driver will contact you at least 24 hours ahead of your delivery and pick up to make sure everything is still a go.

  • You will be given basic instruction and a user's manual with every rental. Any adjustments or repairs you are not comfortable doing are as easy as calling me to arrange for them, free.

  • There is a $70 rental fee this year to cover repair and maintenance only. Delivery and pick up are still free!

If you have any questions please contact me at any time.


Thanks to everyone who has been and will be using the manure spreader this year! Your use and support are doing a lot to improve soil health and protect our natural resources, as well as making your pastures better for your horse and you. If you have any questions about the programs or your place on the list please contact me using my contact information below.

Thanks again, and happy spreading!


              Michael Hipp

Resource Planner & Equine Specialist

      Sound Horsekeeping Program

   Snohomish Conservation District

            Office: (425) 377-7019