In our modern ‘throw away’ society it is easy to understand why we often think of manure as nothing more than rubbish, indeed some authorities actually classify it as a waste product. However, recycling your manure back into the land is the way nature intended it to be, completing the on-going food/waste cycle. Also of course not forgetting that when piled up, manure accumulates at an alarming rate, creating a massive disposal problem (cost!) in the process.
Just like our grazing animals, the grass itself also needs food, and the most natural source of this nutrition is the manure from livestock. Modern chemical fertilisers are simply costly artificial replacements for what nature already provides in abundance, and for free. You may have noticed that where horses choose their latrine areas in your paddocks, the grass is often much greener and taller…indeed, ”where there’s muck, there’s grass!”.
Good Paddock Maintenance and Equine Care
Rule number one of any good horse paddock maintenance regime is of course the regular collection of muck from the fields, so why then would we want to spread it back there afterwards?. Like most other livestock, horses can be susceptible to internal parasites (worms), which can be transmitted via their droppings. It is important therefore to keep your paddocks regularly cleared of ‘fresh’ droppings when they’re grazing, in addition a regular preventative de-worming program will ensure your horse remains healthy.
However, as we have seen, manure is very good for the grass in the paddocks, which if left ‘un-fed’ will gradually deteriorate in sward density and quality. So how do we benefit the land without risking harm to our horses. Simply by spreading manure on those paddocks which are resting in the rotational grazing cycle. Once the spread manure has decomposed into the soil, the paddock can be safely grazed again, while the next paddock now at rest can take its turn at feeding from the spread manure. Better still, allow your manure to compost before spreading (the longer the better, but after twelve months it is generally accepted to be fully composted), which will reduce it’s overall bulk, and allow earlier re-grazing.
To summarise the key benefits to spreading your own manure are:
- Your muckheap disposal problems will become a thing of the past.
- Your grassland will reap the benefits with an enhanced sward.
- You’ll save on the costs of muck removal and alternative chemical fertilizers for your grassland.
- You’re recycling, just as nature intended, and to the benefit of our environment.